As salon owners, the suggestion that being a people pleaser could be dangerous for business sounds ludicrous, right? The very core of what we do is to please people; to make them feel their best, so much so that they want to come back again and again. And you’d be right, to a point.

Being a people pleaser and being good at what you do are to very different things, says business expert Ashley Jonah. “Of course you need to have happy customers; if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have a business. But that’s not really being a people pleaser. A people pleaser is more of a pushover, and that can be dangerous for your business.”

Here’s a rundown of how you can avoid being a pushover within your beauty business.

Not standing by your service
If a customer complains about your service, you need to listen. “Thank them for their feedback and assure them that you’ll look into it. If the complaint is regarding something that you or your staff could have done better, then accept this and make good in it,” says Ashley. “But if the complaints are groundless, and after investigation you’re satisfied that there is no way this client would ever be satisfied, express your regret at their feedback, thank them for taking the time to converse with you over their concerns. Then wish them all the very best in a warm and genuine manner.”

Not standing by your staff
Without a doubt, there will be complaints about staff from time to time. This should never be ignored, but should also not be taken as gospel from the get-go. “Whenever there’s a complaint about a staff member, regardless of what the complaint is, never look to sort it out in front of the client,” says Ashley. “To do so does not give your staff the opportunity to speak with you or to be prepared. And a manager that doesn’t stand by their staff is not a manager that good staff want to work for.” Rather, Ashley says, tell the customer you’ll deal with it, and then really do deal with it. “Speak to your staff member. If they were at fault, phone the customer and take responsibility yourself, offering a fair compensation. If you’re satisfied that your staff weren’t at fault, you do still need to get in touch with your customer and suggest that after investigation, you’re satisfied that your staffer acted within the expectations of yours as a business owner. Thank them fir their time and emphasise that they will always be welcome to continue to use your services.”

Accepting first offers
And that covers everyone from landlords to the supplier of your wax. “Businesses expect that you will press for better prices, especially in this climate,” says Ashley. “ Ask for some time to crunch the numbers and then come back to them with a price that would fit better within your budget. You’ll be surprised how quickly suppliers will lower their prices when faced with the possibility of losing your business altogether.”

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