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How to Deal with Genuine Customer Complaints

Even in the best run salons and spas accidents happen, treatments go wrong. Do you have your team trained and the systems in place to effectively deal with that dreaded genuine complaint?
Do you want a client who has a genuine complaint to become a long-term lifetime client, or the ruination of your business and your career? Every salon has to deal with situations in which things go wrong from a client’s point of view. How you handle it shows the importance you give to good salon customer service and appreciation. How you respond to it is the difference between having your reputation damaged or retaining that client for life, adding to the bottom line of your business. Complaints must be handled courteously, sympathetically and swiftly. Make sure that your beauty salon has an established procedure for dealing with client complaints and that it is known to all your staff: receptionists, therapists, juniors, part-timers… Basically, everybody who is in contact with your precious clients. Include it in your salon customer service policy.
Tactics to Deal with Customer Complaint
  • Empathy: Understand that before you contact the complaining client, you can’t ‘win’. Complaints are really just degrees of losing. Put yourself in the client’s shoes, so that you can get a better understanding of their perspective. Reassure them that you care, understand and are listening to them, by allowing them to explain their situation.
  • Respect: Staying calm sends a message that you have respect for them, and it can be difficult to do this when an angry client is yelling at you. Remember their anger is not about you, they are upset about their situation and are taking it out on you.
  • Apologise: Offering an apology, regardless of how you feel or what you can do about the situation, will alleviate some of the stress the client is feeling.
  • Take responsibility: If the mistake has been made by a member of your staff, take full responsibility and assist the client so that their problem is solved.
  • Settlement: The hard part is the settlement of the complaint and you will have to do some work here. Since you are going to lose something, the degree of loss is up to you. Most likely you will end up giving away product, treatments, full refunds or whatever it takes. Try to agree on an equitable solution, where hopefully you will still retain that client for life, and most importantly, saving your salon’s reputation.
The choice is yours: either you equip your staff with the right beauty salon customer service policy and procedures necessary to handle upset clients - arriving at positive solutions with satisfied clients who are happy to return because of the way their problem was handled. Or you wait for the dreaded claim against your salon to arrive in the post...  
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