How to Respond to Negative Reviews of Your Salon

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Responding to negative feedback correctly can be good PR for your hair or beauty salon. What's more, how the customer feels they are treated makes up 70% of the buying experience – and more and more customers these days will want to see social proof of your quality (in the form of online reviews) before they book an appointment with you. This makes figuring out how to respond to negative reviews very important indeed. Here's how you do it:

How to respond to negative reviews

1) Stay calm


A negative review of your company can feel like an attack on you personally. An instant and natural bad review response for most people is to get defensive and even angry.

Unfortunately, nothing looks worse than a company replying in anger to poor feedback. That's why you need to calm down – possibly step away from the computer for a bit and have a think about it – before responding.

One negative review doesn't mean the end of the world for your online reputation. But responding in a defensive, angry or unhelpful way just might.

2) Get the facts


Before you respond, get the story straight in your own head:

Gather information about the incident in question: Make notes of anything you remember about the interaction – dates and times and so on Ask other members of your team what happened if they handled it

3) Always respond


If your response to a negative review is not to respond, other people reading that review will assume that you know about the situation and don't care.

Again, the bad review itself isn't necessarily a problem for everyone. Your poor handling of it definitely will be.

That's why you must always, always respond to negative reviews. In many cases, a person who has honestly had a sub-par experience with you will only want to feel like their voice has been heard.

These people should have a clear complaint which it's relatively straightforward to address. Do so. You might be surprised how many of your competitors won't be keeping an eye on their reviews. So when you reach out to resolve a problem, you instantly stand out.

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4) Consider what your reviewer wants


Okay, you've kept calm, got the facts together and you're doing the sensible thing in deciding to respond to a bad review. The next stage is to consider what type of reviewer you have on your hands.

They tend to fall into one of several camps, including:

First-time reviewers – should always be replied to generously. They will no doubt mention that they have never reviewed anything before – a surprising number of people haven't!

Regular complainers – these people complain all the time and will often have a laundry list of issues. If you respond, they will likely add further complaints to the list! They review everything they buy or use and will almost always be disappointed. They can be incredibly tough to handle. Make sure to address all the points they make and stay calm. This way, even if you fail to convince them, at least others will see how well you tried.

Word misers – this type of reviewer wastes no words. They will leave an entire 1-star review with no more than ten words of description and often far less. Don't be tempted to do the same with your reply. Every review response you make should be polite and show how much you care. Ask for more information.

Malicious fakers – most companies will face fake reviews at one time or another. Again, you really do need to keep calm. But this is one of the few times when pointing out the inconsistencies or outright lies in their review (they never actually had an appointment with you, for instance) and angling toward persuading them to take it down is actually a good idea.

5) Take action to resolve any problem


One of the top bad responses to negative reviews is to automatically assume that once you've dealt with the review, you've dealt with the problem.

As well as giving you the opportunity to make yourself look good by replying in a calm and understanding way, negative reviews can actually be good for another reason:

The best ones help you improve your business. Invite your reviewer to speak on the phone or visit you again in person and see if there is something that genuinely went wrong that you can fix for every other customer.

What the best responses to negative reviews have in common

The best responses to bad reviews give you an opportunity to:

  • Be understanding
  • Be genuine
  • Be human

Make no mistake, people will be judging your response to bad reviews. But they don't expect you to be perfect every single time.

The best responses to bad reviews clearly put themselves in the customer's shoes, they feel honest and open and show they will try their best to put the problem right.

Is responding to negative reviews something you find challenging?

Local Fame handles the online reputation management of all sizes of hair and beauty salons in the UK and overseas.

Contact us for a quick chat, free and informally, at any time.

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