8 ways to deal with difficult clients
No matter how good your hair and beauty business, with so many clients on your books it’s inevitable you’ll have a few customer complaints. So what’s the best way to ensure even the most difficult customers leave your salon happy?
1. Stay calm
Maybe you’re running behind on appointments or your client doesn’t like their haircut. Whatever the situation, if they are angry (and loud with it!) make sure you avoid getting angry yourself.
Staying calm, cool and collected is the only professional way to deal with a particularly tricky customer. Especially if you work in a public space such as a salon or barbershop: raise your voice and you’ve instantly escalated the situation.
If you have a private area in your salon, ask your customer if they’d prefer to continue the conversation there, away from other clients.
No matter what the customer complaint, they’ll want to be taken seriously. One of the most important things you can do is listen. Let the customer talk without interruption. It might be this on its own is enough to calm your client down.
3. Offer solutions
An unhappy client wants to be heard… and then wants a solution to their complaint. You can instantly diffuse the situation by offering them choices.
For example, if they are cross you’re running late do they want to rebook for another time? Or would they prefer to carry on waiting and you’ll give them a 10% discount off their bill as a way of apology?
By giving your client reasonable options, you are showing you want to solve the problem.
If your client has a valid complaint, then the best thing you can do is apologise. By saying sorry - and accepting responsibility for the situation - you’ll instantly calm them down.
However, if you don’t feel you’re at fault, you can still apologise without accepting any blame. Empathise with your client and say, “I’m really sorry you feel that way”.
“An unhappy client wants to be heard… and then wants a solution to their complaint”
5. Always do a full consultation
One way to prevent customer complaints in the first place is by doing a full consultation before any appointment.
Talk to your client about the look they want and how achievable that is. If it’s a beauty client, talk them through the steps of the treatment, the tools you will use and any pain or discomfort they will feel.
Remember to ask your client about any treatments they’ve had recently from other hair and beauty professionals and if they have any known allergies or conditions such as sensitive skin.
With all bases covered in advance, your client is less likely to have any grounds for complaint.
6. Offer another appointment
If a client is unhappy with their haircut or beauty treatment, rather than give them a refund, offer them another appointment or a gift card for your salon or mobile business. This is a way of turning the most difficult of customers into a loyal one.
7. Have a complaints procedure
Working in the service industry it’s inevitable you’ll have some customer complaints, no matter how professional you are.
It’s a good idea to have a complaints procedure that all staff should follow, including what to do when a customer complains and who they need to involve if they can’t solve it themselves.
Have this in writing and make it part of your staff handbook. You can also use any customer complaints as scenarios in your staff training. This will ensure your team knows exactly what to do and say should a client complain.
8. Follow up
As a hair and beauty professional, the last thing you want is for a client to leave your salon unhappy. But if this happens, make sure you follow up afterwards.
Give the client a call after a day or two to check if they are happy with the steps you took to solve their complaint.
By keeping in touch, you’re showing you care and want to make sure the same situation doesn’t happen again.