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Delivering High-Quality Experiences Under Pressure

Some industries have higher stakes than others. As someone who deals with the pressure of such a high stakes business - in addition to all of the other elements that go into running a successful operation - Nahuel Hilal, owner of Iris Tattoo, has plenty of insights to share.

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Behind the Review host and Yelp’s Small Business Expert, Emily Washcovick, shares a look at this week’s episode of the podcast.

Iris Tattoo

“We’re human. We make mistakes. But our mistakes, they don't go away. They stay there forever.” Some industries have higher stakes than others. As someone who deals with the pressure of such a high stakes business in addition to all of the other elements that go into running a successful operation, Nahuel Hilal, owner and founder of Miami’s Iris Tattoo, has plenty of insights to share.

We talk a lot about the importance of customer experience on Behind the Review—one, because it’s probably the most critical element of running a business, and two, when it’s done well, it tends to lead to very positive reviews. This week is no exception, and when it comes to getting a tattoo—something that will be with you forever—the experience has to match the heightened moment. Our Yelp reviewer, Diandra L., has visited Iris multiple times, each time leaving more impressed than the time before.

Her experience with the shop started before she even sat down for her tattoo. Ahead of her appointment, she received a gift box to prepare her for her session. With games to actively distract from the pain, a stress ball to help with anxiety, Nahuel and his team had thought of it all. He is, after all, a self-described “customer service freak.” And while the welcome box may already seem above and beyond, Nahuel and his team make sure returning customers are getting a different mix of items—something that immediately demonstrates that you are more than just a transaction.

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. In that same vein, Nahuel also stresses the importance of acknowledging what your employees need from you. For tattoo artists, their work takes “time, energy and actual emotion,” so it can be hard for them to deal with other things outside of their high-pressure job of creating and executing tattoos. Nahuel realized this and wanted to “take the pressure off the artists and help build a bridge between them and the client.” By taking on the customer relationship and management part of the business—rather than having the artists deal directly with the clients as they often do—Nahuel was able to create a much more effective solution for everyone.

While it’s important to focus on your customers, it’s also essential to give your employees what they need to succeed. In the end, it will work out better for everyone.

Here are some other key learnings from this week’s episode of Behind the Review:

  • It’s important that what you see is what you actually get. Consistency in customer service and experience is critical. Nahuel understands that consistency doesn’t just matter in his shop—it’s also how it translates online: “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.”
  • Know your role. Not everyone has to do everything, and it’s important to think about that when designing the operational structure of your business. Of course, when you’re just starting out, it’s not always possible, but as you expand, think of how you are dividing and conquering to most effectively and efficiently staff your business.
  • Practice sustainability. While we often think of environmental practices when we think of sustainability, but there is another definition that is critical: operational and economic sustainability. For Nahuel, he achieves this by booking clients only six weeks in advance. This ensures a business model where customers don’t have to wait months on end and their artists don’t get burned out by never having the opportunity to take a break. It can be tempting to get blindsided by the opportunity to line up income, but that’s not always sustainable for your particular business. Think about practicing sustainability in your operational model to ensure the longevity of your staff.

Nahuel’s wisdom was inspiring, full of advice anyone in any business can use moving forward. Listen to the episode below to hear directly from Nahuel and Diandra, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.

Emily Washcovick

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As Yelp’s Senior Field Marketing Manager and Small Business Expert, Emily is responsible for building a thriving network of local business owners, operators and marketers through education and networking events (now, exclusively virtual). She hosts events and webinars to provide business owners with resources that help them succeed and grow in the world of online reviews. Emily’s expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management and all things digital marketing. Her knowledge encompasses countless industries and through thought leadership and speaking engagements, she’s able to share insights that business owners of all kinds can leverage for the future of their business.


Emily is also host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media that features conversations with business owners and reviewers about their experiences—whether positive or negative —giving listeners behind-the-scenes insights and real life learnings.