CLIENT COMPLAINT PROCEDURE
No matter how competent the staff is at any salon, there are inevitably clients who are dissatisfied with their service for one reason or another. If not dealt with properly, one dissatisfied client could have a damaging impact on the salon. It has been said that a satisfied client tells two people, a dissatisfied client tells ten. It is therefore important that all client complaints be handled courteously and with care.
The following is a suggested procedure for any type of client complaint. It is vital that the entire staff understands the procedure and carries it out to the letter whenever a client complaint is received.
Before we discuss the procedure to handle the complaint itself, it is important to outline the information the stylists should be giving clients after the service has been completed. The stylist should let them know that if they are dissatisfied with their service for any reason, the client should contact their stylist within ten days to two weeks of the service. Rarely do clients abuse this type of policy, and it is a powerful tool in building positive customer relations and customer loyalty.
The stylist should also follow up with either a phone call or a thank-you note. This lets the client know that the stylist is interested in their satisfaction long after the service has been completed. If the client is dissatisfied, they will be more likely to return to the salon for corrective services than go to another location. Dissatisfied clients who return to the salon for corrective measures signal that quality customer service is working in the salon and that the client trusts the integrity of the salon.
1. The receptionist should be the first person to deal with the client. It is important that she acknowledge that she is indeed the person they should speak with about the situation (some clients ask immediately to speak with the manager; it’s usually a good idea to consent to the client’s wish in this case).
2. The receptionist should allow the client to tell their entire story. Interject only to agree with their perception of the situation or offer support. Use terms such as, “It sounds like you’re not happy with the end result” or “I can understand why you might feel that way.” By agreeing with the client’s perception of the situation, you diffuse their anger and let them know you want to help them rectify the problem.
3. NEVER try to convince the client that they are in the wrong. Remember, no matter how good their hair looks to you or the stylist, the client is not happy with it. There should be no debate concerning how the client feels.
4. Apologize for any inconvenience this has caused them.
5. Always offer to have the service corrected by the stylist who originally serviced the client.
6. If the client says they prefer not to do that (no matter what the reason) suggest that they come in to the salon and see the manager or the in-salon trainer for corrective services.
7. If they are unwilling to do this, ask the client to tell you how you can best satisfy their needs and follow up by whatever means necessary. (The client may suggest things like getting her next cut free, complementary conditioning treatments, or a partial or full refund.) It is important that you do your best to comply with her request. By doing so, you are more likely to retain her as a client or at the very least, lessen her disappointment and curb her desire to degrade the salon through remarks to friends and family.
8. If you are giving a refund, do so immediately. Nothing is more aggravating than to be told “the check is in the mail” and then not receive it for two weeks. Not following up properly can completely destroy any positive regard the client may have felt toward the salon.
9. Record the incident and give the report to the manager to be filed. Be sure to note any corrective action taken and the final outcome. Include the client’s name and
phone number on the report.
If handled properly, dissatisfied clients can become satisfied clients in almost every situation. It is important to uphold a “Satisfaction Guaranteed or Your Money Back” policy in all cases - your reputation in the community depends on it.
The receptionist is most likely the first person to speak with the angry client. Be sure she has the information as well as the authority to satisfy the client’s needs in whatever way necessary. She will need guidelines as to what management feels is appropriate in terms of compensation. A good rule of thumb is to accept any request the client has short of firing the stylist. This could include free service, free product, money back, or a combination of these and possibly for an extended period.
One example could be a bad perm in which the hair was damaged to the point of extreme dryness and brittleness. The salon may offer free products and haircuts to this client until her hair was back in the condition it was prior to the perm. This may seem drastic to some, but the client is likely to be happy with the arrangement and say positive rather than negative things about the salon and the situation.
Whatever measures utilized in handling customer complaints must have one main ingredient: The solution must satisfy the client, not just management.