One of the best ways to understand your customer's problem, and the pain it causes, is to create an opportunity to experience it yourself. Ian South, a laser tattoo removal technician at Disappearing Ink, was willing to take a brave leap to understand his customer's pain. As a result, he has more empathy for his customers and his customers have more trust in him.
When Ian South started training as a technician, he had never had a tattoo removed and he didn’t even have any tattoos. Ian became familiar with the profession because his brother, Wes South, had been performing tattoo removal for years prior to opening his own studio, Disappearing Ink. Ian saw the meaningful impact his brother had on the lives of his customers and was inspired to join the profession.
Ian’s lack of experience as a tattoo removal customer didn’t create a technical barrier for him to learn how to operate the equipment. But, as Ian shared, there’s much more to positive customer experience than just effective tattoo removal.
“Tattoo removal is a life-changing process. There’s emotion related to the reason people receive tattoos and the reason they have them removed. It’s an emotional experience for everyone who comes here.”
The role of the technician involves supporting the customer through this transformation. While it would be challenging for Ian to recreate the entire customer experience of desiring a tattoo and then desiring to have it removed, there was something he could do to get closer to his customer experience.
Ian decided to have the Disappearing Ink logo tattooed on his forearm and then have it removed as part of a marketing video to demonstrate the removal process. While it wouldn’t mirror all aspects of his customer's experience and related emotions, it was an opportunity to feel the anxiety, excitement, and pain of both the tattoo application and removal.
“It’s important that all technicians have been on both sides of the laser. Disappearing Ink creates a sense that we’re in it together with the customer and that we’re going to get through it together.”
Ian is better able to prepare a customer who’s anxious about the pain. And his customer is more likely to trust his perspective since Ian has been through the removal process first-hand.
To the extent that it’s possible, identify an opportunity for you and your team to get on the other side of the laser. While Ian’s willingness to experience his customer's pain is exceptional, it demonstrates the power of seeing the world from their perspective.
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