#10Things To Respond To Unhappy Clients


As we welcome guests during this (hopefully) busy holiday season, our focus is on building our business and increasing retail sales. For this to happen, we want (and need) happy customers. This month we are discussing the #10Things to do when responding to an unhappy guest.

1 Confirm your commitment. “We want our guests to be happy.” “I’m sure we can work this out. “We are committed to finding a positive outcome.” Make a statement to your guest right away and set the tone that the situation will be resolved.

2 Listen with intent. Look at the guest, nod your head and be compassionate. If you are responding to a written or over-the-phone complaint, acknowledge their complaint so they feel “virtually” heard.

3 Avoid conflict. It may feel personal, but it’s not. You never know where someone is coming from, and arguing with them will not help. For example, “I understand you are upset” will go farther than “That is not what I heard happened.”

4 Open body language. Arms should be by your side (not crossed), eyes soft (especially with a mask on) and try not to have the reception desk between you and the guest. Create a positive energy circle.

5 Create a neutral space. Ask the guest to talk off to the side, away from the other customers standing in line or waiting. People will argue less and be less combative if they are in a quiet space.

6 Resolve in 24 hours. The longer you wait to resolve a guest complaint, the more people will learn about it. Resolving it quickly stops the guest from spreading their complaint.

7 Apologize when appropriate. If you or your team made a mistake, say so. I like to tell clients, “We can do better” or “I’m sorry this happened.”

8 Protect your team. Inappropriate touching, disrespectful comments or verbal abuse by guests is not allowed. These clients should be calmly asked to leave. The booking software should be flagged that they are not allowed to reserve another appointment. It is not necessary to explain why, you can simply say, “I’m unable to schedule you an appointment.”

9 Ask for a solution. Find out what the client wants. “What can I do for you?” We assume everyone wants a discount, and sometimes they just want to know it won’t happen again. Offer an add-on to their next treatment.

10 Follow up with team/customer. As a result of this complaint, does the spa staff need training? Did you offer your client a future treatment? If they had a reaction, did you check-in to see how their skin is doing? Tip: If the customer is injured, inform your insurance company right away.

Si Author D Crossett 3008

Founder and owner of the San Francisco Institute of Esthetics and Cosmetology since 2002, Deedee Crossett is an industry pioneer for raising the bar of undergraduate education for cosmetologists and estheticians. She can be reached at www.facebook.com/deedee.crossett and Twitter @DeedeeCrossett #10things.

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