In the beauty industry, a happy customer is the best advertisement for your business. Think about it- word of mouth is such a powerful thing! They leave the salon with a great big smile on their face and are happy to share the news of their latest treatment, and where they got it, with everyone they meet. And an unhappy customer will do exactly the same, with detrimental effects…Never good!
So it is natural that we want to please our customers, and go the extra mile to exceed their expectations. Many of us are natural people pleasers! But what happens when you are faced with a difficult customer? One who criticizes everything you are doing? Or one who demands a refund three weeks after the service has taken place? Sadly, we all come across these people once in a while, and it is important to know your business regulations so that you can confidently tell the customer that they are wrong.
It does happen. It was Mr Selfridge who told us that the customer is always right, when he opened his first store in London back in 1909. But things have moved on since then, and customers are more aware that they have rights, although they are often misguided by what these rights are.
Richard Branson has a more realistic approach to business. He said “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of your customers.” Happy employees, and supportive management, will easily deal with complaints, in a fair but firm way that lets the clients know they are not in charge, but hopefully minimize any negativity towards the business. But if clients are allowed to walk all over the staff, those employees will eventually get fed up and look for work elsewhere. Without your staff, your business cannot function. But without difficult customers, your employees will be happy and this will radiate out to your clients.
A pull your hair out moment- difficult customers can make the environment uncomfortable for your happy customers. The salon should be a relaxing and positive environment so that everyone enjoys spending time there. But nagging, complaining customers will always leave a negative vibe, even when it is clear that they are being unreasonable. Giving these demanding clients more attention will shift the focus away from those who are enjoying their experience, and then you will have two unhappy customers instead of one.
Sadly, some people will never be happy, even if you can give them everything that they demand and go above and beyond. And others push their luck to see how much they can get for their money. It is unfair to the other customers and it is unfair to the business. A clear company policy will help staff and customers know where to draw the line between providing excellent customer service, and pandering to clients that don’t appreciate the efforts being made for them.
The customer is always right… Unless they are wrong. Train your staff up to recognize a difficult customer and help them understand how best to deal with it.