September 15, 2021

How to deal with a complaint about your salon

How to deal with a complaint about your salon?

There’s nothing worse than a bad review for a salon owner. You pour your heart and soul into creating the ideal business, and then someone comes along and decimates all of your hard work without a second thought.

Bad reviews are sadly all too common in the salon industry. Customers who feel they have been wronged in any way are not afraid to enact their revenge. They might feel a need to “warn” others about your salon. 

Attempts to damage your business might feel like a personal attack, but it’s important not to take it this way. Here’s how to handle a complaint about your salon.

Step one: take a breath

You might be very angry when you first see the review. Perhaps you remember the customer, and they were rude to your staff? Resist the temptation to respond immediately. Take a breather, step away from the laptop/tablet/phone and calm down.

Escalating the complaint by responding in anger is only going to ruffle feathers even more. Instead, we’re going to rise above and pettiness and respond in a rational way.

Step two: check it’s genuine

It’s not uncommon for rivals to spam their competitors with fake reviews. Sometimes the fake reviews don’t even have an obvious source. If the review is fake, you can usually ask the review platform to take it down.

But, how do you spot a fake review? 

  • Are they complaining about a service you don’t offer?
  • Is the account linked to a lot of negative reviews?
  • Check the wording – does it make sense?
  • Does the reviewer’s name match any appointments?

If the review looks suspicious, you can request that it is removed. But if you remember the customer and know that it’s genuine, there are other steps you can take.

Step three: formulate your response

You should always respond to bad reviews. If you know that you did everything you could to correct a situation while the customer was in the store and they have still complained, it’s time to tell your side of the story.

Imagine this scenario. A customer arrives late for an appointment and has to wait for the next available stylist. They are rude throughout the appointment and demand free treatments. At the end of the appointment, they insist that you haven’t done what they asked for, despite the style perfectly matching the photo they provided. You offer to correct the style for free, and they refuse. The next day, they have posted an awful review about you.

Your response could look something like this. 

“We’re sorry to see that you weren’t happy with your recent visit. As you arrived late to your appointment, your usual stylist wasn’t available. We were able to place you with another stylist, which is why you had a short wait. 

We’re very sorry to hear you weren’t happy with the finished result, but we did offer to make additional changes to the cut once you raised your concerns. We would be happy to honour this if you’d like to revisit the salon at your convenience.”

Any potential customer looking at your reviews will see your response, so they can see that the bad review was probably unwarranted. If you’re able to correct the problem by responding to the review, there is a chance the individual will also change their rating.

Step four: take the issue offline

Starting an argument in the comments section on Facebook is never a good look for your business. If the individual responds to your posts with negativity, always ask them to DM you to take the issue offline.

This is far better than escalating the situation and allowing it to get nasty. Remember that you also have your staff to protect. If you keep the conversation online, there is always the risk the complaints could get more personal. By taking it offline, you protect individuals from any potential embarrassment.

Step five: learn from the complaint

Although annoying, it’s possible that there is a lesson to be learned from the content of the review. Once you’ve had time to calm down and reflect on the content, ask yourself if there is any truth to it?

Could your reception staff be more helpful on the phone? Could you have a better system for dealing with last-minute staff changes? Could your pricing be a little clearer?

If you get a bad review, always look for the truth in it. It’s hard to admit when we’re in the wrong, but your salon will be stronger and better in the long term if you can learn from your bad reviews.

Step six: drown out the bad reviews with good ones

A bad review should be the biggest source of motivation. Every time you get a bad review, make a promise to balance this with ten good reviews. Or 20 good reviews. Or 50 good reviews. You know that the vast majority of customers are happy with your services, so try to balance the bad with the good.

You won’t get good reviews without asking, so always make sure you mention this to clients before they leave. This is an excellent way to drive up your average rating and drown out the negative reviews.

You could also Salon Iris to send an automated review reminder to your customers. They might forget to leave a review on their way home, but a quick follow-up message could prompt them to leave a quick 5-star review.

Step seven: don’t take it personally

When someone says something bad about your business, it’s hard not to take it to heart. Try to find some detachment between yourself and your business so that you don’t take setbacks quite so harshly.

A single bad review shouldn’t make an impression on your mood, but if you’re starting to notice a pattern, it’s time to take action. This could be a sign that you need to take drastic action in your business to turn things around. Use it as a learning opportunity to grow and develop your business.

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