How do you deal with salon complaints?

No matter who you are, and no matter what you do, you will not make every client happy.

So from a manager’s perspective how should you handle salon complaints?

Even when they are not happy, most clients don’t want to complain.

They don’t want to make a scene.

They don’t want to get into a confrontation.

They just want to leave and never come back.

And once they’ve left, more often than not, the first thing they will do is go on social media or other review sites and leave a scathing review.

In any service orientated business whether it’s a restaurant, a hotel, or a hairdressers, for most people it takes ‘a lot’ to make them complain while they’re still in the salon.

And I totally understand that, as both a consumer and as a business owner. Because when I am not happy, I also usually just want to leave and not come back.

Because the very act of complaining takes some emotional energy that often compounds the situation and makes you feel even worse.

But from the service providers perspective, and from the viewpoint of the manager or owner of the business, if you don’t complain they miss the opportunity to understand what went wrong and then address the situation in whatever way is necessary to make sure that it never happens again.

Salon managers should see every complaint as an opportunity to improve.

I know there are some fraudsters out there. And I know there are some people that are terminally unhappy and regardless of what you do they will complain about everything.

But they are in the minority and so we shouldn’t base our approach to dealing with unhappy clients on them.

The reality is that we see and experience our own businesses from a very different perspective to how our clients do.

We don’t experience the service through their eyes, and we don’t experience the consultation and communication through their eyes.

And when someone is brave enough to complain, and make no doubt about it, complaining takes courage, then we need to see it as an opportunity to improve.

We need to objectively look at what went wrong. Because in the client’s eyes something went wrong.

We need to understand what the problem is and why it happened and then look for ways to prevent it happening again.

But the problem is that often when someone complains, their experience goes from bad to worse as the service provider or manager goes into what I call ‘justification mode’. Where they try and turn the blame around, make excuses or totally deny that the problem exists.

Sometimes the complaint is about the experience the client is having. Other times it’s about the quality of work.

No one likes their work being criticised, and unfortunately in a salon situation it is often made worse by the fact that our colleagues and other clients are witnessing the complaint.

But regardless of whether it’s because of poor work standards or poor communication, there is a problem. And as a salon manager you need to do whatever it takes to remedy the situation as quickly and efficiently as you can without making the client feel in the wrong.

And that is where the breakdown often is. People feel they have to be right.

I am sure you have heard the expression “the customer is always right”. I think it’s a terrible expression because quite blatantly the customer or client isn’t always right.

But here’s the thing, “It’s not about being right, it’s about making the client happy”.

And so as a manager, when dealing with the complaint what do you need to do is to either remedy the problem or at the very least to ensure that the client feels heard and that their complaint is appreciated and taken seriously.



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