How to Handle Bad Reviews
Let’s start with a quick question: what’s the first thing you do before visiting a new restaurant? Google it, of course! If you’re like me, you want to look at the menu, scroll through some pictures, and read the reviews. This is no different for the beauty industry which is why your online reputation is crucial for the success of your business! Plain and simple, reviews matter.
We all love reading the positive reviews that our clients share, but even the best salons can’t avoid a negative review. Even though the negative comments make you want to pull your hair out, you must know how to respond to them with professionalism and grace.
All Reviews Are Created Equally
Since customer reviews are so important in shaping your reputation, I am super fired up to share that my salon has a 4.7/5 rating with over 200 unique reviews! I have yet to find another salon in the U.S. who has an abundant and positive reputation on Google as we do. If you find one, please let me know! Our overwhelming amount of positive reviews adds a tremendous amount of credibility when clients are searching for a salon in the area—it is a huge selling point, and your salon can do it too!
Before we dive into some examples, I want to share my personal philosophy about handling the good, the bad, and the ugly reviews. Whether positive or negative, you must respond to all of your reviews. Yes, this will take time to become a habit, but it’s worth it! By responding to all reviews, you are showing future customers that you care about your clients, you’re responsive to their comments, and you’re willing to apologize when necessary.
Pro Tip: When responding to a client review, try to include their first name in your response. This small step adds a personal touch to your message that doesn’t go unnoticed!
Example #1: Positive Review
Review: 5/5 Demi did an amazing job cutting my short hair! She listened to what I wanted and was patient while I showed her some pictures that I liked. She also did a great job at suggesting a hair color and showing me swatches of different colors to help me make my decision. Demi even followed up with me to make sure I was still loving my look! Overall, Demi & the Be Inspired Salon team were very professional, and I had a great experience! –Meghan
Response: Awesome Meghan! Thank you so much for sharing your feedback here. We appreciate you very much and look forward to seeing you soon! XO ~Be Inspired Salon
How simple, right? This quick response shows a new client that we appreciate her feedback and her business!
Example #2: Negative Review
Review: 1/5 I called for an appointment, and I was put on hold. That is fine. I understand salons can be busy. I was on hold for 10 minutes. No one picked up the phone, I decided I would hang up and call again. I called 20 minutes later, I was put on hold again. Waited another 10-15 minutes and hung up. I am a new client, and I am searching for a new hair salon, but this will not be the one if I cannot even make an appointment.” –John Doe (Yes, he actually created an account and used the name John Doe.)
When I saw this review, I was not happy! So, I called my team to investigate what was happening in the salon that night. After reviewing the situation, I responded with the following (truthful!) message:
Response: John Doe, our apologies! We use a new VoIP (voice over IP) phone system, and it was not working properly last night. I am looking into this as we speak. As you can definitely see from our online reputation, this is NOT like us. Would you be willing to give us another chance? We can call you directly this morning if you’re comfortable emailing us your contact info? Our email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Again, we are so sorry that this happened and so irritated with this new cloud phone system. ~ Be Inspired Salon
Even though this wasn’t a fun conversation to have with a potential client, we acknowledged our error, offered a sincere apology, and suggested a way to correct the situation. Ultimately, we did our best to correct an unfortunate situation, and that is all you can do!
Example #3: Be Bold
Review: 1/5 Worst, most unprofessional salon experience I have ever had. Went in on the first day to get natural looking caramel highlights in my brown hair and left with hair the exact same color as it was before. I went in the next day for a color correction and after waiting 45 minutes past my appointment time, I was finally seated. She made my hair go from one extreme to the other. The entire bottom half of my hair was died vividly blonde with streaks of blonde going through the top. Nothing like the subtle caramel highlights I had originally asked for. I tried to make peace with the color, but couldn’t stand the way it looked. After giving the stylist two chances to properly die my hair and ending up increasingly dissatisfied results each time, I do not trust the stylist to die my hair properly. –Sally
As I do with every negative review, I researched the situation to uncover exactly what happened with this client. In this case, it seemed like we would never make the client happy. Have you had clients like that? Ultimately, it came down to trusting my team, and I knew that we were not at fault. I couldn’t allow this client to take us through the wringer, so I needed to be bold in my response.
Response: Sally, we are very disheartened to receive this review from you. Why did you tell us that you loved your hair if you were truly displeased? We did our best to work with you, so you would be absolutely thrilled with your hair color. It is unfortunate that you do not perceive it to be so. Best wishes to you. ~Be Inspired Salon.
You might be thinking “Wow! That’s bold!” But, I believe in trusting my team and cutting ties with a client when necessary. I wasn’t afraid to stand up for my team because we have an overwhelming amount of positive feedback, and that speaks volumes about our business!
I know that responding to bad reviews isn’t easy, but there will be times when you can’t avoid it. If you ever want to bounce some ideas off other industry professionals—like how to respond to a bad review—check out our private Facebook group! We will work together to empower each other and build one another!