The Opportunity to Become a Hero
“If you please a customer, they will think well of you, but if you please a formerly disappointed customer, they will become your best source of advertising,” shares John DiJulius in his best- selling book, “Secret Service”. A customer complaint is a chance for your salon to become a hero. As owner of the award-winning, John Robert’s Hair Studio & Spas in Ohio, John shares tips on how to anticipate problems, create procedures for addressing them and how to train staff on turning difficult situation into something good. Share your philosophy on providing the customer service on your website and social media pages. Commit to your clients that can expect satisfaction in their salon experience.
In an excerpt from “Secret Service”, John explains, “It’s not that the best salons don’t have crises or problems; what sets them apart is that they have systems in place to handle the problem immediately. Below are four steps to creating your complaint management system.
• Accept that you will have challenges and create protocols to address them.
Different types of problems will arise on a regular basis. Develop protocols that address them immediately. At John Roberts Salons, we train managers and team members to observe faces in the salon during the day. Many situations can be avoided if we catch them early enough. We look for traces of disappointment such as frustration because a stylist is running late, or when a client’s expectations aren’t being met while they are in the chair. In these cases, we acknowledge that client time is valuable, apologize for the delay and offer an explanation so the client feels respected and informed. Stylists are trained to observe how clients react to services, so that they can make adjustments in the finishing process so they are happy.
• Empower your team to take care of the client.
We encourage our entire team to take care of guest challenges as they see fit, without fear of getting in trouble with management. By having standard protocols in place, team members can make decisions on what is acceptable and powerful enough to resolve a problem. For example: a client arrives for a 4 p.m. appointment with a specific team member, and we show no record of the appointment. Rather than telling her we don’t have her appointment, we find alternative solutions and explain the options. In this case, the team member is still working with another client, and we can fit you in within 30 minutes and offer them a beverage, snacks and a free add on conditioning treatment with their service. If the person can’t wait and wants to reschedule, then offer a percentage discount on the service. You decide what options are best for recurring problems in your salon.
• Role play guest challenges your clients may have.
Role playing is the best training for worst cast situations. At John Robert’s, we have a role playing exercise during staff meetings called, “The Irrational Client.” One employee plays the part of the employee and stands in front of the room. Everyone else is given a card describing the irrational client. The employee practices using our standard procedures for addressing problems and also suggests new ways of dealing with situations. They continue to respond to the complaints thrown at them by staff until all cards have been read. We applaud their effort and then discuss how we should and would handle the situations. We come to agreement on setting the protocols, as a group. This not only strengthens staff’s problem solving skills, but also encourages team building and great working relationships between employees.
• Err on the side of being too aggressive handling customer challenges.
We encourage our staff to take the side of the customer. Think about the situation from their perspective. Show that you recognize their inconvenience and immediately offer what you will do to make it right.