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Effectively Managing Salon Complaints

hair salon complaint

When you work in the salon industry you have the opportunity to work with a lot of different clients on a daily basis. Some of them will be amazing and some of them will inevitably be unhappy from time to time.

Nobody likes to deal with an unhappy client or see negative reviews online. But these situations can provide valuable opportunities to improve your business, staff performance, and management strategies.

By learning how to successfully navigate complaints, you can turn unhappy salon clients into returning customers.

Why Salon Clients Complain

There are many reasons why a client may be disappointed with their salon experience. Some of the most common reasons for client dissatisfaction include:

  • Poor communication - Clients can feel frustrated when expectations are not set properly or if there’s confusion about services and pricing.
  • Long wait - Whether they have an appointment or not, customers don’t like to wait. Excessive wait time is one of the most frequently reported issues in a hair or beauty salon.
  • Expectations not met - When the service provided doesn’t align with how the client expected it would look, clients will understandably feel upset.
  • Poor customer service - Poor customer service is a common cause of complaints. The perception of poor service may stem from employees being rude, inattentive, or inept.

While not every issue can be prevented, being aware of these common causes of client dissatisfaction can help salon owners and staff recognize potential problems early and address them sooner.

Taking proactive steps to improve communication, manage wait times, set expectations, and prioritize customer service can go a long way to avoiding complaints down the road.

4 Strategies to Improve the Client Experience

While there’s no way to control whether a client will be 100% satisfied, implementing standards will make it far more likely that they’ll leave your salon smiling and look forward to their next appointment.

Here are four strategies that can help you improve the client experience at your salon:

  • Set clear policies and expectations - Be transparent and upfront about your services and pricing. Having clear salon policies reduces the chance of miscommunication or misunderstanding.
  • Invest in staff training - Make sure every member of your staff is properly trained in friendliness, product knowledge, salon services, and customer service under pressure.
  • Ask for feedback - Actively looking for input on how your business is doing shows that you value your customers’ opinions and want to improve. This can be as simple as a comment card or follow up text/e-mail.
  • Address issues quickly and professionally - This might be the most important one! When a salon customer complains, take the time to hear them out and offer a sincere apology. Then see if you can provide a discount, free service, or some other consideration to restore the relationship.

hair stylist providing free service after receiving a complaint from a salon customer

Unhappy clients won’t hesitate to spread the word. Taking complaints seriously is a smart way to protect your reputation!

Recovering After a Complaint

By hearing a customer out and doing your best to satisfy them, you can potentially retain their business and prevent negative word of mouth from spreading.

With genuine compassion and a little effort, you may even turn an unhappy salon customer into a new advocate for your business!

The keys to pivoting from a negative experience are to:

  • Apologize sincerely
  • Offer a remedy
  • Ask for a second chance
  • Do a proactive follow-up after their next appointment to see how it went

Small gestures can go a long way in demonstrating that you care about the customer and have a commitment to making things right.

If they give you another chance, remembering to follow-up afterwards keeps the dialogue open and may provide additional feedback that your business can act on.

When to Part Ways with an Unhappy Salon Client

In most cases, you’ll want to retain the business of a client who’s unhappy about an experience they had in your salon. But there are certain circumstances where the client will never be happy, no matter what you do or how much you go out of your way to help them.

It’s important to identify these individuals quickly and not invest too much of your time or resources trying to appease them. Signs a customer may never be satisfied include:

  • Unrealistic expectations
  • Refusal to compromise
  • Personal attacks against a staff member or the salon owner
  • Frequent complaints, even after you’ve made improvements
  • Lack of acknowledgement for your efforts to make things right
  • Rejecting offered solutions or insisting that nothing could resolve the problem
  • A consistently negative, demanding or aggressive communication style

In cases like these, it’s almost always better to turn your attention towards more positive relationships with the majority of your salon clients.

If you need cut ties professionally, always do it in a courteous manner. You don’t need to get defensive.

You can set necessary boundaries and still have empathy. Sometimes external factors or personal challenges might be influencing an unhappy customer’s behavior.

Successfully navigating or ending a difficult customer relationship is about balancing the need to provide excellent service with the need to protect your business and employees from undue stress.

Done right, listening to and learning from salon complaints can greatly improve the customer experience. Stay committed to proactively gathering feedback and continuously improving your business - and don’t forget to ask your happy salon customers to leave you a review!

Keep reading to learn how to build clientele at your salon, and some creative ways to create a memorable customer experience!

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