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Delivering high-quality experiences under pressure



“We’re human. We make mistakes. But our mistakes, they don’t go away. They stay forever,” said Nahuel Hilal, owner and founder of Miami’s Iris Tattoo. Nahuel understands the high stakes for customers when it comes to getting a tattoo and has perfected an experience that matches the heightened moment. 

The customer experience is arguably the most critical element of running a business. When it’s done well, it tends to lead to very positive reviews. The featured business this week, Iris Tattoo, has over 160 reviews and a perfect 5-star rating. Our Yelp reviewer Diandra L. is a returning customer and has left each time more impressed than before. 

Her unique experience with the shop started before she even sat down for her tattoo. As the nerves were hitting, Diandra received a personalized welcome box to prepare her for her session. Including stress balls to help with pressure, games to distract from the anxiety, snacks, aftercare cream, and more, the kit showed that Nahuel and his team had thought of it all. And from a self-described “customer service freak,” we expected nothing less. While the welcome boxes already set the bar high, Nahual and his team even give returning customers a different mix of items—something that immediately signals that they value their customers past a single transaction. 

As a business owner, think about how you can elevate the personal touch points you have with your customers that will leave them feeling special and wanting to return. Nahuel also stresses the importance of ensuring your employees have everything they need to do their job well. For tattoo artists, their work takes “time, energy, and actual emotion,” making it difficult and stressful for them to deal with the other nuances that come outside of physically tattooing their customers. Nahuel realized this and took on the customer relationship and management part of the business to take the pressure off artists and help “build a bridge between them and the client.” Rather than having the artists deal directly with clients as they often do at other tattoo places, Nahuel was able to create a much more effective method for everyone. 

While it’s important to focus on the customer experience, it’s also essential to provide the foundation for your employees to succeed. In the end, the two elements flow into each other to establish a successful business. “I always say to my teams that they have to remember: For you, it’s another day in the office. For them, it’s a landmark in their life,” Nahuel said. 

Here are additional key learnings from this episode:

  • Ensure that what customers see is what they actually get. Consistency in customer service and experience is crucial. Nahuel understands that consistency online and in the shop matters: “We try to make sure that everything you see on social media or in Yelp reviews is not smoke and mirrors. It is the actual experience.” 
  • Divide and conquer. When designing the operational structure of your business, it’s important to know that not everyone has to do everything. Of course, when you’re just starting out, this may not always be possible. But as you expand, consider how you are dividing and conquering to most efficiently staff your business. At Iris Tattoo, in addition to their artists, Nahuel has about 10 people working behind-the-scenes on bookings as well as answering emails and social media messages. 
  • Create a sustainable model. This is about economic and operational sustainability. At the beginning, Iris Tattoo had a six-month waiting list. This proved frustrating for both clients and artists. Nahuel then implemented a new system where they open the books on the first of each month for the following month. This ensured a business model where customers don’t have to wait for extended periods and artists don’t get burned out. Although it can be tempting to line up all income opportunities, it may not always be sustainable for your business. 
  • Build a happy environment. Your employees and customers will feel it. 

Interviews by Emily Washcovick; photos from users on Yelp


These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Nahuel and Diandra, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.

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The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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