By Stan Bialecki, Guest Monday Morning Wake-Up Contributor
Has this ever happened in your salon or spa?
A client states that she’s not happy with her service or experience at your salon/spa. The service provider tells the client, “I gave you what you asked for … live with it for a few days … see if you like it.”
At checkout, a guest care team member completely dismisses the client’s concerns.
They think they handled the situation well.
…until the bad online review pops up twenty minutes after the client leaves your business.
Poorly addressing client situations happens far too often in our industry. It’s one of the reasons why the industry’s average first-time client retention rate continues to hover around a disconcerting thirty percent.
Our industry has a long-standing history of not dealing well with client situations. One major reason is the commission compensation model, because when a client returns to get a service fixed or redone, no one gets paid.
The company and the service provider are working for free. In some cases, the service provider is penalized with a “product charge” for redoing the service. These “who’s going to take the financial hit on redo’s” practices can often be a breeding ground for client situations.
What is a client situation?
It is when a client is not 100% happy with a service, product, or the experience your business has provided to them.
The cost of client situations is massive to salons/spas and med spas. Client situations affect all the critical numbers in a business. Client situations also have long reaching impact on public relations and the perception of your company in the marketplace.
Show me a business with a track record of client situations and I can guarantee is has dismal client retention, low productivity, poor profitability and a less then desirable online review rating.
Here are six No-Compromise Leadership insights to dealing with Client Situations:
- Take responsibility: Taking responsibility for all client situations defines the depth of your culture and your brand. No matter how small or big, own each and every one. Every client situation is an opportunity for your salon/spa to demonstrate its commitment to client satisfaction and professionalism. Yes, there will be the occasional complaining client looking to get something for nothing … but the rest of the situations are opportunities to make things right. Turning an unhappy situation into a happy one can net you a client for life.
- Create a No-Fault Client Situation Policy: When a client returns to have a service redone, exchange a product or express their concerns … no one gets in trouble. Too often owners and co-workers play the finger-pointing blame game that solves nothing. It doesn’t take long for a disgruntled client to see that no one wants to willingly step up and address the problem.
• When you or any of your staff members toss a client situation around like a hot potato … the client is, in effect, the hot potato.
• A No-Fault policy allows the client’s needs to be addressed without hesitation.
• The process of determining what caused the client situation begins after the situation is resolved to the client’s satisfaction.
- Use client situations as valuable learning experiences in your business. Determine what went wrong and how does the team keep this from happening again.
• Did a system or procedure break down?
• Was a consultation rushed and the client’s needs misunderstood?
• Was the cause a lack of preparation or training?
• How could the situation have been handled differently?
- Create a written Client Situation System that tracks client situations as they are occurring, communicates them to the team and initiates corrective action.
• Simple solution: Using your point of sale software, create a service defined as a “Client Situation” with a price of zero dollars.
• When a client is not happy for any reason, a “Client Situation” service is rung through for that client.
• The details of the client situation can be entered in the client formula/notes section in the client’s record.
• You can now run reports and track client situations in real time, just like you would for hair or spa services.
• Many point of sale software systems allow for email/text alerts to specific individuals when certain services are sold. Set up a “Client Situation” alert each time one is sold.
- Skill certify your entire team on the Client Situation System: Make sure that owners, managers, service providers and guest care are fully trained on your Client Situation System.
• Everyone needs to understand why the system was created, how it will be implemented … and how it will ultimately create the best customer service experiences your salon/spa consistently strives to deliver.
- Create corrective action plans to address Client Situations: Determine the root cause of the client situation. What needs to be done to correct the situation? Which team members will be involved? Most importantly … communicate the specific actions that will be taken with the client.
Here’s my challenge to you: Start dealing with all your client situations today. Develop a written system on how to handle all client situations and train your entire team. Then monitor and address all client situations that occur.
Own them before the situations own you. Let me know how you do. Email me at [email protected].
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