We live in a digital age, which means that when a disgruntled customer leaves a negative review of your salon online, it’s there forever.

Given that potential customers tend to pore over reviews before deciding whether to give your salon a try, negative reviews can be pretty damning. But there is a way to deal with them. And it’s probably the last thing you feel like doing: be nice.

While it’s obviously important to ensure your customers have zero reason to leave negative reviews, sometimes things do go wrong. And when those things result in a negative review, it’s imperative that you act swiftly.

According to a recent survey by Harvard Business Review, when businesses responded to reviews, their total reviews began to grow, give that customers realised their voices were being heard. “We found that when [businesses] started responding, they received 12 per cent more reviews and their ratings increased, on average, by 0.12 stars,” said David Poserpio, author of the study.

Set aside time to reply to reviews, both good and bad. However, with the negative ones, don’t try to defend your position. “Apologise for not meeting their expectations. Ask what could have been improved, or how you can make things better,” says David. “Never blame the customer.” A lot of time time, a disgruntled customer simply wants to make a point, however, by responding, you’re not only appeasing their need too be heard, you’re publicly committing to improving, and that carries a lot of weight to not only the customer writing the review, but the many others reading it. Invite the customer back to the salon and, once you’re sure they’re happy with their service, invite them to provide a more positive review, ideally on the original post thread, as others will see that a resolution was found.

For more news and updates, subscribe to our weekly newsletter.