The Customer Is Always Right
  • Kimberly Pham
  • March 3, 2014


Last Thursday, a customer claimed that salon employees were mocking her in Vietnamese. KTRK-TV Houston’s Pooja Lodhia reported that Lisa Pham went in for a mani/pedi at LA Nails 1 in League City, Texas, where she was met with an announcement made in Vietnamese, “Hey, the fat girl wants a mani and pedi!”

The salon refutes this claim and says the worker called her a shark, not fat.

Give me a second to explain the salon’s backpedaling from the situation. Mập means fat in Vietnamese. Cá mập means shark, or what the nail tech says is Vietnamese slang for a big spender.

As much as I wish the salon truly did call Pham a big spender, it doesn’t help the fact that their client was still upset, humiliated, and nearly in tears while recalling her story to the reporter.

But my thoughts aren’t on whether or not the salon was at fault. What have they done to make up for this mishap? Have they offered her a free or discounted service? Have they apologized for the misunderstanding, whether or not they were at fault? Or do they stand by their statement and go about their day with this bad press?

I don’t think it’s worth the bad press, and any salon can easily turn this mishap into something to show off their amazing customer service.

What should you do if you are the center of bad press or accusations? Here are a few suggestions:

> Apologize for the misunderstanding (or the indisputable fault) along with your explanation. You don’t want to sound like you’re making excuses.

> Offer a discounted (or free) service for their next visit. Make sure to carry through with your offer.

> Issue a statement to the media stating you are doing everything in your power to resolve this issue.

> If a situation gets out of hand (or into mainstream media), post a statement on your social media page or in an e-mail blast letting your customers know what happened, what’s being said on the news, and how you are addressing these issues.

> And really try to make sure a similar situation will never happen again. Have a meeting with your whole salon and keep them updated with your salon policies and best practices.

In this industry where customer service is very important, the customer is always right, but be proactive in running your salon so that your clients know they are safe in your hands.

— Kim

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