When Bad Reviews Happen

If you are perfect and have never, ever nor will ever get a review that is less than perfect – skip this entire article.  However, if you may at some point meet with someone that is less than satisfied with your services read on.

So, you had an appointment, did your very best and the client says they’re happy with the results.  You leave, completely satisfied with your work get home and then read the review. To your utter surprise – they weren’t happy.  It could have been an eyelash fell off, they didn’t like the lip color (even though they told you they did), or just hated everything.  Maybe the real issue was something bad happened during the appointment that had NOTHING to do with you or your talent – but it infected everything around it – including the good review you thought you would get.  It sucks – but here is what you can do to turn it around.

Don’t play the Blame Game.  I have worked in customer service for a very long time and what I learned is that the client doesn’t care WHO’s fault it is – they are looking for an answer or some type of reconciliation.  If you are your only employee – that is a bit simpler. You really can’t blame someone else if you poked their eye with the mascara wand. BUT – using lack of sleep or the fact that your significant other just dumped you – doesn’t make the client feel better if you mess up.  You won’t get repeat business if you always have an “excuse”. If you run a company and have several artists – everything that each artist does – reflects the COMPANY. The COMPANY is responsible ultimately if they employee artists (even as contracted workers) for the results – even the bad ones.  If you receive a call – apologize – on the behalf of the company. Do not go into how “Sally is going to get fired because she has done this one other time”. That is NOT professional, and it doesn’t solve the issue. Deal with those things in private with the person but if you hired them – guess what – it’s on you.

Learn from it – it is easy to pass off one or two bad reviews as just “par for the course” however if you have that attitude you are missing a great opportunity to improve every part of your business.  Even if a person gives you 4 out of 5 starts – find out what would have give you 5 stars! If they client didn’t understand when you would be there or how long, it will take to do whatever it is you are doing – put a process in place to ensure the next client does know.  Many of my business processes have come from a “less than perfect review” or just a bad experience.

You must be the voice of reason.  I have had a bride’s mother that left my company a devastatingly bad review.  The funny thing is the actual bride loved us and has referred more business to us since!  This mom was having a horrible day on the day of the wedding. Nothing was going right for her and there was constant arguing and other issues with other vendors and miscommunications.  We did her hair and makeup and asked if she liked it and if we needed to fix anything. She said she liked it and was happy and since she didn’t tell us what she wanted in the first place – we did what WE thought looked good.  So, the review – one star out of 5. I could have gone on the defensive – but what would that have done? NOTHING. Instead I apologized she didn’t like the style and that I wished she had told us before we left so we could have fixed it (instead of her “sneaking into the bathroom and fixing it herself”).  I also changed my process to telling people in the beginning that we need to know what THEY want, if not we will do our best, but we need honest feedback as to if they like it or not. I let them know it won’t hurt our feelings! As a matter of fact – I tell them my feelings are left at home because it is their hair and their face!  Will this prevent another person from giving us a bad review – maybe not but I acknowledged the problem and put steps in place to help prevent it. I have booked business from how I responded to this bad review! (here is a link to many of our reviews – go to the bottom for the “bad ones” and how we respond.)

Ultimately, we all want the perfect review, but that just isn’t reality.  How you react and what you do with both your GOOD and BAD reviews will define your business and your future in the business.  Use every piece of feedback to improve and it will show. Basically – toughen up, take action, and keep smiling. If it was your mistake – acknowledge it!  NEVER EVER BLAME SOMEONE ELSE IF IT WAS YOUR FAULT.  If you misrepresented something you can do or completely just messed up and did your best to fix it to no avail – admit it.  Then offer something back to them. A refund of partial or all their cost, a “re-do”, or just a heartfelt apology. Use your best judgement to do the right thing because it will affect the rest of your business.

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