Ninety-nine percent of the time, your salon services will be a success! Whip off the cape, hugs and air kisses, and she’s happily on her way. But once in a while, you’ll receive a call, email or text letting you know that she doesn’t love her hair. She wants you to fix it. Or worse, she wants her money back. Your heart sinks. Now what?
Remember, even though people tend to have strong feelings about their hair―and you certainly take pride in your work―nothing will get solved if things get emotional. Try to tap into your rational side to resolve the situation. Don’t take anything personally.
If you avoid the unhappy client, hoping the problem will go away, it won’t. In fact, it may just get worse. And be mindful of how you respond by doing it with love and respect. Never allow yourself to get angry or defensive.
Stop Talking and Listen
Nine times out of ten, an unhappy client just wants to be heard. Plus, active listening will give you the information you need about what went wrong, and what needs to happen to satisfy her.
If it appears that the problem is your fault, acknowledge it, and ask what you can do to make it right. Even if you don’t think it’s your fault, make it clear that you’re willing to do what you can to resolve the issue. Generally, the best strategy is a redo. Ask the client to give you the chance to fix her hair to the best of your ability.
Give A Refund
Refunds are usually a last resort. However, if it’s clear the client simply cannot be satisfied, refund her money (or a portion) immediately and cheerfully. Thank her for being a client and let her know you’re committed to improving your service. Ask for feedback and then listen. She may have something valuable to say that will help you improve.
Establish A Policy
Create a refund policy and be sure it’s stated clearly in several places, like on your website and in your salon. For example, you may want to limit refunds to the first seven days after the service.
Learn From Each Piece of Feedback
And most importantly, learn what you can. Every type of feedback can be useful, even if it’s negative. Take it as insight into your work, communication skills and even your marketing. For example, say your menu lists “Lunchtime Highlights.” In your mind, this means a few highlights placed around the face for a quick pop of brightness, but your client might think it means a full head of highlights done during her lunch hour. It’s the kind of invaluable insight that helps you find out that you need to clarify the service description in your marketing materials.
Conduct A Thorough Consultation
Finally, the best way to handle requests for redos or refunds is to prevent them entirely. And the best way to do that is to conduct a thorough consultation to make sure you and your client are on the same page before you start the service. Use pictures and swatches, be clear on exactly what you believe you will be able to achieve during her appointment, and cover what post-service maintenance will entail. In short, do everything possible to ensure your expectations are completely aligned to eliminate the possibility of disappointment down the road. It’s like the old saying, prevention is better than the cure.
Photo Credit: Getty Images