Posts tagged retention
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 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!

Five Ways to Increase Client Retention

In the salon industry, the struggle is real when it comes to client retention. In fact, the likelihood of a new guest returning to your salon after her first visit is less than 30%! If that number makes your cringe, don’t close your eyes—keep reading! We are sharing 5 Ways to Nurture Relationships to Increase Client Retention featuring industry expert, Tena Pettis!

1. Sales Calls

Yes, you did read that correctly. Each of Tena’s Stylists at Capture Salon makes sales calls every week! While this seems scary to a lot of Stylists, Tena assures you that it really works. In less than one year, Tena’s Stylists went from 17% booked to over 50%. Most software allows you to generate a report of clients who have not visited you in the last 6 months—these are the people who you want to call and get back in your chair! A simple phone call—or voicemail—will remind the client that you are thinking about them and have time to serve them!

2. Events

Hosting events is a great strategy to be a proactive business owner rather than a reactive one. Many clients are just looking for a fun night out, so why not provide one in your salon! Not only does this build exposure, but it reminds your current clients about the awesome services that you provide. By inviting clients into your space, you are nurturing a bond that will last long after the event ends! Tena suggests having a planning meeting before every quarter to decide when to host events and run promos.

3. Referral Program

Tena stresses that her salon really wanted to make their Referral Program stand apart from their competitors’. Tena’s team created a unique referral card that granted the new client $20 off and the client who gifted the card $10 off. To make the program feel extra special, they only allowed each stylist to give a set of 10 referral cards to 10 of their clients. By limiting the number of referral cards, the Stylist made their top 10 clients feel extra special, and the client saw more value in handing them out!

4. Email

Email marketing is not dead. Have we mentioned that Tena is also the founder of Tena.cious, a social media and graphic design firm. Take it from the expert—you still need to send your clients emails! People check email every day, all day. In your emails, you can send updates about events, product promotions, and even highlight your Stylists. If you are new to the email game, Tena suggests starting with two emails a month and eventually bumping that to once a week. Do not be scared to send emails; your clients wouldn’t have provided their email address if they didn’t want to hear from you!

5. Mail

Good old fashioned, snail mail. At Capture Salon, all Stylists send handwritten cards to new clients about one week after their visit. This is a great opportunity to thank the client for visiting and invite them back for their next service! In addition to new clients, Capture sends spontaneous cards to returning clients. Sending branded cards is a great way to be in front of the client again, and it shows that you are thinking about them. You can even slip in event cards and information about promos.

Which one of these strategies are you going to try first? Tena remind us that the only free strategy is sales calls! Remember, if you want to be successful, you have to be willing to do what others cannot do or will not do. After all, the key to substantial success lies Beyond the Technique!

What other strategies do you have to nurture client relationships? Comment below or share with us on social media! To hear even more of Tena’s tips, listen to her on Beyond the Technique podcast Episode 51.