How to deal with complaints by Hayley Gibson Forbes -
FG_AUTHORS: Who Can Cut It?
Working in the hair and beauty profession means there isn’t anything quite as satisfying as watching a client leave the salon delighted with their new look.
However, even salons with the highest standards will still experience an unhappy customer from time to time, and dealing with these clients needs to be carried out in a compassionate and professional manner.
S J Forbes salon group Co-Director, and all round business expert, Hayley Gibson Forbes, offers advice on how to effectively deal with unhappy customers and ensuring your staff follows the same procedure.
Listen and Don’t Interrupt
It’s important when a client complains to listen to the problem and what they have to say, without interruptions. Often when people complain they have worked themselves up to do so, so make sure they can vent their anger or annoyance without being cut off mid sentence.
Constructive criticism is all part of running a business, so listening is essential; the complainant may have a case and it could potentially be something you can work on in the future, to benefit your business.
Understanding Is Key
After a complaint has been made, it’s important to show empathy and then clarify what the problem is with the customer. Showing that you are being understanding will also help to calm the client down.
Working with customers all day means you will already have great communications skills, so make sure you show this by being empathetic, yet authoritative. You understand the problem and you are in a position where you would like to rectify it.
Hold Your Hands Up
If the problem has been caused by you, or a member of staff, then the best thing to do is hold your hands up and take the blame. Even if you believe it’s not your fault, you still have an unhappy customer on your hands.
There is no need for aggression in these situations and you shouldn’t take any either. Unfortunately most complaints, in a salon, will take place in a public space, in front of other customers, so be aware of the people around you and don’t try to win the battle, as you will end up loosing the war – and the customers.
If a client starts to act disrespectfully, or their anger is increasing, calmly explain that you want to try and rectify the situation. If the anger – or on the rare occasion abuse – persists, you are perfectly within your right to terminate the conversation. You can only solve the problem with some co-operation from them.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Customers who complain often do so because they want to continue doing business with you, with some changes. So once a problem has been raised, tell the customer calmly that you personally want to solve it and lay out how you plan to do so.
Ask them to return to the business, and when they do, make sure you or a senior member of staff takes care of them. This will help relieve any anxiety they may have when they return and assures them that the problem is unlikely to be repeated.
Learn From It
When a customer has been dissatisfied with their experience, the best thing you can do for your business is to stop it happening again. Ensuring staff have an in-depth and thorough consultation with their client, at the beginning of an appointment, before any hair colour has been applied or any locks have been cut, will guarantee that everyone is on the same page.
It is much easier to retain clients than it is to recruit new ones, so make it a high priority within your team that if a problem has arisen, everyone knows how to minimise the risk of it happening again.