How do you react to negative feedback?


Reader to Reader: How do you react to negative feedback about your business on social sites like Yelp and Facebook? Do you respond publicly or privately?


I always respond directly and publicly for our other guests to see that we handle issues honestly and quickly. I always smile when our clients respond by liking my response or suggesting tips for the complainant. I also track our feedback on Yelp, Groupon, etc., and personally call the guest once I have narrowed it down to who it may be. Our spa also offers courtesy calls a week after each service to follow up on guest experiences. — Amy Melene, VIDA Wellness, Winter Park, Fla.

I feel an unanswered public complaint looks like it has been ignored. Keep it professional and to the point. If I wish to offer compensation, however, that should be done privately. Amy Murphy, Castle Nails, Ruston/Arcadia, La.

Clients can only send private messages on my Facebook page, but I reply to each and every one and sign my name at the end. I had a bad situation in the past where another salon pretended to be a customer and published a fake complaint on the page, so I prefer more discretion. — Paula Brondi, Señorita Nail Boutique, Presidente Prudente, Brazil

In my salon the customer is always right. Since I am the owner, I respond apologizing for whatever she/he felt went wrong and always follow up with our service guarantee. If someone is not happy, we have them come back in and we do the service over for them. If they are still unsatisfied then we return their money. I don’t respond on any sites. I call the client personally to offer our guarantee. If they come back and are satisfied I ask them to remove their negative posting. — Darnel Akana Garcia, Rockstar Beauty Lounge, Thornton, Colo.

It really depends upon the circumstance and the feedback. Generally, I will respond privately. But it also depends upon the situation. If it is a personal issue (a matter of personality conflict) I will generally just ignore the comment/post. If it is regarding a salon policy someone is unhappy with, I may reply publicly. I am not of the opinion that we, as business/salon owners, must hide out with regards to responding to feedback whether it be negative or positive. However we choose to respond, publicly or privately, it should always be done in a professional manner and always addressing the issue and leaving out the fluff of human emotion. — Melodie Hand, Tickled Pink Salon, Clayton, N.C.

I always appreciate it when the owner posts a response to a negative review and addresses the concerns. I always try to treat others how I would like to be treated. However, I have yet to learn how to satisfy every single person I do business with (perhaps because it’s impossible). In efforts to be transparent I would respond to the comments, address the concerns or critique, and offer for the reviewer to contact me so we can discuss how to better the situation. I have found that often just acknowledging that you made a mistake goes a long way to pacify an upset client. That being said, if the criticism is mean-spirited or unwarranted I will simply reply that I am sorry they did not enjoy their experience and I wish them the best. Luckily I have found most of my reviews are positive and have been highly effective in helping new clients find me. — Rachel Jones, Ravisante, San Mateo, Calif.

Illustration by Yuiko Sugino

Next question: Do you work flexible hours to accommodate holiday customers, or do you take time off?

[Answers will be printed in the January 2014 issue.] Share your opinion on the topic by e-mailing your response by October 15 to [email protected] Please include your name, salon, city, and state with your response.

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