5 Tips for Handling Bad Salon Reviews

5 Tips for Handling Bad Salon Reviews

Criticism for any business can be challenging to navigate. Both social media and review sites provide unlimited opportunities for customers to voice any frustrations. However, any slipup in handling bad salon reviews can have a devastating ripple effect. On the flip side, a salon or spa customer who feels heard and acknowledged can be converted into a raving fan. It’s all the in the approach. Follow these tips to mend customer relationships, repair the damage and start on the road to recovery.

The First Responder

Making an adequate response is a matter of planning and strategy. It’s essential to prepare for negative reviews, customer complaints, and social media jabs in advance, as these could not only damage the reputation of your business but can cut into sales.

Arguably all salon employees should be staying abreast of customer sentiment, but it’s important to designate a first responder to address any negative reviews or complaints as they arise, with a backup readily available as needed. Develop a plan within your salon for notifying this person of an issue, as well as a strategy for how that person can step in, investigate, act, and follow up. Be sure to provide training to all persons who may find themselves acting as a spokesperson for your business.

Is a Response Necessary?

Although every customer is essential, not every complaint warrants a response. However, a balance is critical. Although a dedicated marketing or social media person will typically respond to all negative posts, it’s very different if you or your staff are handling things between clients, as there just is not enough time left in the day to chase down everything. It’s virtually impossible to please everyone and, provided there are plenty of positive posts, a few negative reviews are unlikely to damage your business’ reputation. Trust your intuition about which ones require immediate attention.

However, an angry customer who feels neglected is like a ticking time bomb, especially with social media being so accessible. In this case, make it a special point to reach out and followup as soon as possible. Otherwise, the consequences could be devastating. Just be sure to monitor your salon’s social media and inbox for email, so you or your team do not miss anything.

Timing is Everything

Bad news travels like wildfire, and it’s important to get ahead of it. Before responding to a negative review, take a few moments to investigate the reviewer’s complaint. Explore the policies of the review platform where the claim was left (Yelp, CitySearch, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc.) to see what action can be taken, however, don’t wait too long to take that action.

Respond Where You’ll Be Heard

It’s best to leave a response directly at the source. For example, if the poor review was posted on social media, the best way to respond would be a direct reply or private message, or even via email if needed. If a direct reply or email is not a possibility for whatever reason, post an open response on your salon or spa’s social media page, blog or website. This also shows accountability to other current and potential customers.

How To (and Not To) Respond

The importance of keeping your response positive cannot be understated. At all costs, you must take the high road and avoid making comments that could be considered as offensive. At the same time, do yourself a favor and disregard any jabs cast by the person who made the complaint. Don’t take too much of what is said personally, as they are merely upset and are lashing out. Focus instead on the qualities of your salon and express your genuine desire to make amends. Re-doing the service, offering a complimentary service or product or a refund, if needed, are ways to help turn the unhappy client into a loyal one.

The Heart of the Complaint

More or less, customers who complain just want their voice to be heard and to know that their issue will be remedied as quickly as possible. They are usually just frustrated and have found an outlet. As long as you or your team make a genuine attempt to apologize for any errors (actual or perceived) and offer a solution based on the needs of that client, most complaints or bad blood will dissipate quickly.

Just keep in mind that turning a bad experience around can sometimes be more valuable and produce a more loyal customer than just making somebody happy right out of the gate. Even with the worst reviews or complaints, make the most of the opportunity!


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