7. FOLLOW THROUGH: If you’ve been in business for any length of time, chances are you’ve had a less than satisfied customer. It happens to everyone, but the difference between those that suffer and those that come out smiling is how they deal with these negative experiences before it turns into negative word of mouth advertising. It’s much easier to rectify the issue before it spreads.
There are well-worn facts out there that say that negative news spreads much faster than positive, and this is more important now that we are in the social media age as bad news spreads faster in new digital conversations. Try these 10 tactics in spinning the experience from negative to positive.
1. AWARENESS: According to Stephanie Weaver, an expert in customer experience, only 1 in 26 clients will complain to you. Instead, they will sit in the chair and say things to the stylist like “I don’t know” or “Are you sure?” These are the cues you need to listen for and train your staff to listen for.
ADDRESS THE ISSUE: Once you hear (or see) a customer sound at all like she could be less than satisfied, address the issue. Even if they aren’t dissatisfied and owner/manager that pulls them aside and asks about their experience and their satisfaction level is never a bad thing. People want business owners that genuinely care, right?
3. USE DISCRETION: Discretion here is important. If you ask a customer what’s wrong, she will likely not say anything if she is in the company of others; she will wait until she leaves. Avoid this by pulling the customer to the side, away from her friends and away from the stylist. If they aren’t forthcoming with their stylist, it could be because they don’t want to be confrontational so being discrete about the conversation will help them feel comfortable.
4. KEEP POSITIVE: Say something like, “You don’t seem thrilled. How can we make you love how you look?” When you come at the issue from a positive place, you encourage a positive answer, leaving the room open for the customer to say what they think or want. Conversely, if you simply demanded, “What’s wrong?” you can expect a negative answer.
5. LISTEN: Listen intently to her answer. This may seem like common sense, but it is so important that it needs to be said. Don’t correct them, or say they are wrong – after all, they have to wear their own hair.
6. ASK FOR A SOLUTION: Ask the customer how you can fix it for her. Appearance is a very personal thing and you don’t want to be bullish about fixing a problem. For example, if the client thought their new hue was a bit too ‘brassy’ you could suggest going darker without realizing the customer wanted a sunny blonde shade. Conversely, if you let her suggest that maybe it could be lighter, you put yourself in a position to respond.
Once you have identified the appropriate solution, do everything to make it happen as quickly and painlessly as possible. No matter what you have to do, make sure that she leaves your salon with a smile, even if that means giving her a full refund and scheduling them an appointment with your competitor.
8. MAKE HER COMFORTABLE: While you are responding to the issue, do everything you can to make your dissatisfied customer comfortable. Something as simple as giving her a bottle of water can go a long way. It sends a message that her staying there so that you can fix the issue is important to you.
9. WOW HER: Don’t be afraid to go over the top. The fact is that most people expect poor customer service. When you exceed their expectations, you create an advocate. They will tell others what happened because good customer service leaves people saying, “Wow!”
10. FOLLOW UP: After they leave the salon, follow up with them to see how they feel about their look (and their experience) after they’ve left and are back in their personal space and routine. They may be more comfortable opening up once they are away from the salon and open up about their feelings, both giving you insight into improving your operations and customer service and giving you the opportunity to bond with this client and demonstrate that you really care.