In a perfect world you would never have an unhappy client. But like it or not, some day you'll have a tough customer who needs to be handled with diplomacy and tact. These 10 steps will help you through and teach you something in the process.
1 SEPARATE THE ANGRY CLIENT FROM THE IRRITANT.
“Take a deep breath and approach the client. Try to move her to another location away from the person who upset her,” advises Mary Metscaviz, the owner of Awesome Nails in Grayslake, Ill.
2 STAY CALM
Don’t make the situation worse by getting defensive. Instead allow your genuine concern and attentive manner to assuage the customer.
3 LET THE CLIENT VENT
“Often we just need to express our anger,” says Metscaviz. “The client may not really want anything except for someone to listen to and acknowledge her feelings. After venting, we are more willing to hear what the other person has to say.”
4 ACKNOWLEDGE THE CLIENT’S ANGER
Listen closely and reassure the customer that you want to make things right. Repeat the complaint back to her so she knows you’re getting it.
5 OFFER AN APOLOGY
(regardless of who is really at fault) and thank the client for bringing the problem to your attention.
6 COME TO A JOINT RESOLUTION
“Ask the client how she would like to see the problem resolved. If her suggestion is reasonable, then do it,” says Metscaviz
7 WHEN POSSIBLE, FIX THE PROBLEM IMMEDIATELY
If the problem can’t be fixed, explain why and offer some alternatives or give the client a refund. A service discount or free retail item go a long way to soothing an angry customer.
8 LET THE OWNER STEP IN
If a particular tech is responsible for the client’s dissatisfaction, the salon owner can step in and unruffled feathers. If the client’s nails are the problem, she may want to redo the service herself or set the client up with a different technician.
9 FOLLOW UP WITH A PHONE CALL OR NOTE
After you have done your best to appease the client, check back with her. “I make a follow-up phone call to see if we helped to rectify the situation and to ask the client if there’s anything else we could have done,” says Carrie Kohuch of About U Salon & Spa in South Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada.
10 KNOW WHEN TO SHOW THEM THE DOOR
You can’t please everyone. “If the client is just a difficult person and we are never able to please her no matter what we do, we simply tell her that she’ll have to find a new salon,” says Kohuch.
Originally published in NAILS Magazine, November, 2006.
KEYWORDS: customer service, business, talking to clients, customer relations, dissatisfied customer, problem resolution, unhappy customer