How to E.A.R.N. Client Trust Back After a Bad Review
Even though you try to make every client experience a positive one, something can still go wrong resulting in a negative Salon Suite client review. How you respond to a bad review can make or break your chances of neutralizing the fall out and earning back the client’s trust.
Lay out a process for how you will handle dissatisfied clients and how you will respond to a bad review now, so that you can quickly go into action to protect your Salon Suite’s reputation and avoid losing clients.
Be Glad - Not Sad - That a Client Left a Bad Review
You don’t have to be glad that something went wrong, but you should be grateful when a Salon Suite client leaves you a bad review for two reasons.
1. The chance to make things right.
96 percent of dissatisfied customers don’t voice complaints; only 4 percent of unhappy clients will speak up when something goes wrong. Of the 96 who say nothing, nine out of ten – 91% - will leave and never come back. When something goes wrong in the client experience, most clients will move on and never give you a second chance. (Statistics Source: “Understanding Customers” by Ruby Newell-Legner)
2. The chance to make things better.
Sometimes one unhappy Salon Suite client is an anomaly. Other times, that one unhappy Salon Suite client that speaks up may be speaking for other clients (the 96 percent who will never tell you what went wrong). When you get a bad review, you have an opportunity to review and change the way you do business, so that what went wrong won’t happen again.
E.A.R.N. Back Salon Suite Client Trust – and Business – After a Bad Review
Your first instinct might be to defend yourself and that’s only natural, because getting a bad review or client complaint makes you feel bad. However, this is the moment when you need to remember that your client “felt bad” first. They felt so unhappy about whatever they perceived wasn’t right – about their experience, results, cost, or whatever they complained about – that they felt the need to tell someone how bad they felt.
When you empathize instead of defend yourself – or even go straight to fixing the problem – you’re doing something very important that will often diffuse any anger the client might be feeling, by simply saying, “I know how you feel.”
Empathy is one of the most important skills a Salon Suite business owner can have, and it is simply “the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.” Regardless of whether the client’s perception is fully or even partially accurate, their feelings are real.
Your response starts here: “You feel like (reflect the problem they expressed back to them),”
A – Apologize
Apologizing without making an excuse or disclaimer may be one of the most difficult tasks a business owner has to do, especially if the criticism leveled against their company wasn’t true, or wasn’t completely accurate. Nevertheless, expressing regret for something that has gone wrong is another important aspect of earning back a Salon Suite client’s business after a bad review.
Your response continues: “You feel like (reflect the problem they expressed back to them), and I apologize. I am so sorry you had that experience with my Salon Suite.”
R – Remedy
Here’s where gratitude comes in. A client had a bad experience but instead of just walking away, they have given you a chance to make things right. Thank them for the opportunity and either extend a solution, such as a free appointment to make corrections, a refund, product replacement or whatever would be most appropriate.
Your response concludes: “You feel like (reflect the problem they expressed back to them), and I am so sorry you had that experience with my Salon Suite. Thank you for bringing it to my attention, now what can I do to make things right?”
If a client’s bad review revealed something sub-par in your business’ operations or client experience, again, thank them for bringing it to your attention and respond with how you plan to change things going forward.
Your response concludes: “You feel like (reflect the problem they expressed back to them), and I am so sorry you had that experience with my Salon Suite. Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I want you to know that as a result, I have changed (the specific aspect of the client experience) so that it won’t happen to you or any of my other clients ever again.”
N – Nurture
A bad client review doesn’t have to be the end of the relationship. Once you have had an opportunity to remedy what went wrong, you can continue to nurture the relationship in ways that might bring a client back or ensure that they don’t leave. Examples include emailing them with a special offer to return, fast-tracking their loyalty rewards, automatically enrolling them in any membership or VIP client programs you offer, and so on.
Often it’s not the problem itself but how you respond that determines whether a bad review will result in lost Salon Suite clients. Practice and create some scripts that you can quickly apply when a client entrusts you with criticism and gives you a chance to make things right.