How to deal with colour complaints

With expectations sky high, it’s an unfortunate reality that sometimes clients will complain about their new hair colour. Here’s how to turn wrongs into rights, and deal with criticism graciously…

No matter how hard you try, sometimes a client will come along who you just can’t please – it’s a fact of salon life. These issues are even more present now, thanks to clients seeing extreme and often unattainable colour changes on Instagram, which raises their expectations and can leave them feeling discontented. However, learning to deal with these situations in the right way can help you avoid bad publicity and even strengthen your relationship with that client.

Hazel Holmes, owner of Bijou Salon, believes that when taking on complaints, it’s important to be patient. “I always allow a good 12 to 24 hours before getting back to a client if they have contacted by email, as this gives us a chance to fact find within the salon as to what happened,” she explains. “It is very important that I, as a salon owner, have a clear picture of what went on.” It’s worth training staff to read the signals that someone might not be happy before they leave the salon, as Hazel explains. “Sometimes you can tell at the end of a service if a client isn’t 100 per cent happy with their hair, so I encourage my staff to ask what can be improved there and then if the client isn’t clearly loving their new look.”

And telling clients that small changes can be made there and then will give them reassurance, explains Adele Clarke, owner of Spectrum Hair Company. “Saying ‘any small alterations within the first week are complimentary should you need them to make your style more manageable’, goes a long way to make a person feel looked after,” she explains. Ensuring clients know exactly what they’re signed up for can help avoid misunderstandings in the first place – consultation is key. “Colours that require more than one visit to achieve are best protected by written consultation records,” says Adele. “Then there is no way a salon can be accused of misleading a client.”

Sometimes the immediacy of social media means that clients voice their negativity before they’ve properly thought it over. “We find clients mostly complain by calling in and asking to speak to the manager, but occasionally we have had clients post bad reviews on Facebook,” says Jo Hardart, owner of Elements in Hampstead, “When dealing with such situations I always try and put myself in the client’s shoes and always apologise for the situation, but not the service, until I know all the details. Sometimes I need to investigate the complaint further so I always explain that. If necessary, we refund the client and offer to resolve the complaint”

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