Reputation is extremely important when trying to run a successful salon. The whole beauty industry is built on loyalty and customer satisfaction, and so it is up to you to retain your salon’s positive reputation. Keeping standards high and ensuring successful outcomes for your clients should be the cornerstone of your business, keeping your clients coming back for more and more – and hopefully spreading the word so you gain even more satisfied customers.

Unfortunately, despite your best efforts, not every client will leave your salon satisfied – as is the case in every service industry. As much as you may want these clients to just disappear, good business practice means that salon owners should keep their cool and try to rectify the situation. Often, handling the situation calmly and realistically turns the bad review around – and if not, at least you have done your best and acted in a calm, rational manner.

Below are five quick tips for handling difficult customers.

Don’t respond to aggression

Whether it’s your fault or not, an aggressive customer isn’t ready to listen. It’s very important not to respond with high emotions, but instead try to understand why she is frustrated. Once the client has calmed down, take the opportunity to apologise and offer a solution.

Make sure they feel that they’re taken seriously

Call the client by their name, if possible. This often makes people feel like they are actually being heard and could help to calm the situation. It is also important to maintain eye contact and to avoid the obvious facial expressions such as smiling or rolling your eyes.

Be discreet

Being discreet is crucial when dealing with difficult customers. It is important to remember other customers could be listening and watching. If possible, try to move the discussion to a quiet part of the salon where the conversation will not be overheard.

Explain the options

Once you’ve heard what the client has to say, you will need to inform them of what you can and cannot do. Give them the options and let them choose. If the client does not find any of the options acceptable, ask the client how they think the problem should be rectified. If what the client requests cannot be done, you need to be honest and tell them.

Online complaints

Unfortunately, it’s common for a client to walk out of the door of your salon smiling and then leave a bad review on your Facebook business page just moments later. The best way to deal with this is to respond immediately, apologising that they have had a negative experience and ask for contact details so you can resolve the situation offline. People will read your response to the negative review, so ensure you outline that this is not a normal occurrence and you are happy to rectify the problem.