Q&A

A new client is unhappy about her service and is screaming at me! How do I handle that?

Q.

I had a call from a new client who was unhappy with her service. She complained that her manicure and pedicure took forever, that the price was too high, and that the polish was coming off.

A.

For this month’s On the Couch, we turn to Bonnie Canavino, nail department and spa manager at Maxine in Chicago. Canavino oversees 11 nail technicians, four massage therapists, and six estheticians and is also responsible for ordering product, scheduling, handling client complaints, and developing new services.

One Tough Customer

I had a call from a new client who was unhappy with her service. She complained that her manicure and pedicure took forever, that the price was too high, and that the polish was coming off. I had a hard time getting the whole story from her because she was screaming through the entire conversation. She asked for her money back and I’m not sure what to do. I’m confident the nail tech did a good job, despite the fact that she’s new and does work slowly. Should I refund the entire amount or just for the polish job? Plus, in general, how do you handle a screaming client? I don’t want to have to talk to her again.

Dear Shouted Down: First, I would listen quietly, and then I would assure her that if she would trust me and give me the opportunity, I would make her next visit the perfect experience. I would give her a full refund and a gift certificate for a return service at her convenience. I would also ask her to call and ask for me so I could book her personally. I would end by saying, “This is important to me and showing you that we care is important.”

As for the new nail technician I have a helpful suggestion. Clients like to get pampered but time is important. For the first three months I have a new nail technician booked 45 minutes for a manicure; it’s the polishing that makes them nervous and they need the time. They need to be allowed the extra time to breathe and not feel rushed. Have your reception team tell the clients how long each service is booked. This will allow the client to make the choice of time that’s perfect for her.

Have all new nail technicians polish until they are blue in the face for the first three weeks. Have them bring in family and friends and practice, practice, practice.

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