Even the best salons and stylists get negative online reviews from time to time. Maybe you had a bad day, or maybe the guest’s expectations simply couldn’t be met. Whatever the reason, the most important thing is to deal with online reviews quickly and appropriately. “Managing your digital reputation is about taking control of the online conversations people are having about your business,” says Chris Brennan, founder of Phorest salon software. “Today, people expect great service and when they get it, they don’t necessarily go out and tell everyone, but when they get bad service, they definitely will voice it.”
Here’s how to proceed if someone posts a negative review on your Yelp, Google, Instagram, etc.
1. Stay Alert. With bad reviews, time is of the essence. So it’s important to monitor your reviews regularly. Doing so will prevent a negative review from going too long or escalating without a response.
2. Breathe Before You Respond. Respond quickly, but not too quickly. Think through the visit in question, review what you believe happened, and try to keep an open mind. Formulate a calm, rational, and positive response rather than lashing out in anger or frustration. But don’t wait too long—Yelp recommends responding within 24 hours.
3. Respond Calmly. Thank the reviewer for posting. Don’t be defensive or make excuses. Try to clarify the situation, if possible, and assure the reviewer you care about his or her concerns.
4. Take the Conversation Offline. This is probably the most important step. You don’t want the rest of your communication to play out publicly. Say something like, “I would love to discuss this with you further. Can I message you directly?” Or, “Would you send me your email so we can resolve this?”
5. Have a Plan to Resolve the Issue. Hopefully you have policies in place that pertain to customer satisfaction. And remember that many people simply want to be heard. But if redoing the service or refunding the purchase will better resolve the situation, it might be worth doing so to maintain good will and good word of mouth.
Criticism is never pleasant, and with social media and review sites, the opportunities for customers to vent have multiplied. That’s why staying on top of complaints and resolving them as quickly as possible are essential. And remember, diffusing the issue may not only solve the situation at hand, it could also convert your customer to a loyal client in the long run.
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