Social media and online marketing can do wonders for salons – in no other time could we showcase the fabulous work we do to so many people, quite so easily!

However, we have all heard about the ugly side of social media. So, what should you do if some takes to your Facebook page or Google Reviews to voice some negative comments about your salon or barbershop? And how do you make sure you get the most from your positive comments?

In this article, we hope to equip you with some top tips to protect you from falling foul to online complaints…

Related: Creating a Successful Facebook Page for your Salon

What should I do if I get a bad review online?

According to a recent survey*, 86% of consumers read reviews for local businesses. What’s more, 89% of consumers read business’ responses to reviews.

This means that the importance of showing off your customer service skills online could really make your business shine – even when you have received some negative feedback.

Here is what you should do to make sure you handle the situation as well as possible…

Keep an eye out

Firstly, you need to make sure you are aware of any bad reviews as soon as possible. If someone makes a complaint about their service and they don’t get a response, your chances of them returning are very slim. They also will probably be more likely to tell their friends!

Who left the review?

Next, figure out where this review has come from. Do you remember their appointment? Did the client voice their concern at the time?

Getting as much information on what went wrong can not only help you respond to the review, but can help you improve your service in future. Perhaps something as simple as improving your hair colour consultations?

Think about your response

It’s never a good idea to hammer out a response and fire it off without thinking it through!

Remember, whatever you post online can be seen by anyone – meaning both existing and future clients! It’s important that you respond professionally and helpfully. This means:

  • Don’t take criticism personally – and don’t make personal comments in return
  • Accept that the reviewer might have legitimate concerns
  • Offer to find a resolution for your client –  maybe invite them back in for a follow-up appointment
  • Remain polite – even if the reviewer is coming across as rude

Getting a negative review needn’t be the end of the world. What is most important is that you deal with it professionally – thank them for sharing their thoughts and let them know you will take their concerns on board.

If needed, take it offline

So, say you have left a well thought-out and professional response to a review. BUT, they come back with an even angrier response. What should you do?

It is also never a good idea for your business to get caught in a public argument online. If you want to discuss it further, ask them to give you a private message or even a phone call. Otherwise, it may be best to leave it alone.

Related: How to Deal With Difficult Clients

What if I get a fake review?

Unfortunately, fake reviews do happen.

If you have double-checked your database and spoke to all of your stylists and are sure that this client doesn’t exist, it may be that somebody has made a fake review.

If this is the case, you could still respond. Tell them you take feedback seriously – but can’t find details of their appointment. Invite them to phone or email you to resolve it personally – if they don’t you will know it wasn’t legitimate, and you still show off your glowing customer service.

If the fake review is really bad, you can also try and get it removed. On Google Reviews, choose the option to flag the comment as inappropriate. It may be that the reviewer is a repeat offender, and will swiftly be removed.

How about positive reviews?

Let’s not end on a negative!

If you provide service you are proud of, you are sure to get way more positive reviews than negative reviews! Make sure you reply to all of your positive feedback personally. Thank them for their kind words and let them know how welcome they are to come back.

Your best line of defence of negative reviews is to outweigh them with the glowing feedback you are likely to receive from your many happy clients.

Try and encourage your clients to leave feedback online – if they are happy to, you could even ask them if you can post a picture of their new hair or nails on your salon Facebook page. This makes it more likely that they will comment when they see it.

Related: How to Get More Meaningful Feedback From Your Salon Clients

Make sure your clients follow your social profiles, too. This makes it easier for them to tag themselves at your location and let all their friends know how pleased they are with their visit to your salon.

At the end of the day, you should focus on impressing your clients and encouraging them to engage positively with your salon online. If the odd bad comment comes along, the best thing to do is learn from it and move on!

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Find more salon management advice and salon marketing tips on the Salons Direct Blog!

How to Run a Successful Salon Business in a Small Town | How to Effectively Hand Over the Reign of Your Salon Business

*https://www.brightlocal.com/research/local-consumer-review-survey/