Dealing with ridicule after your salon’s reopening

Barber

There’s absolutely no room for derogatory and ridiculing behaviour in the world of hair and beauty. A salon is a space where people from all walks of life ought to be treated with the same amount of respect. But what happens when it’s not your clients being brought down, but you, your team, or your business altogether? Although you’ve probably encountered such clients prior to COVID-19, a new wave of them has emerged after your reopening – customers who go out of their way to verbally attack you regarding your safety regulations or price increases. Do you give in to their demands, or bite back? Here are some approaches you’ve got to try in order to come out on top!

A peaceful resolution

You’ve dealt with difficult clients in the past, and you always opt for peaceful resolutions – after all, getting into heated arguments with them can earn you a negative online review, which you really don’t need after just reopening your salon. However, as previously mentioned, you may be experiencing an increase in clients who scoff at your latest salon protocols or sneer at your price increases. Internally, you’re probably screaming your head off, but you’re well aware that you need to restrain yourself from strangling such clients.

Clients who laugh off your safety protocols

Salons operating in the UK are required to follow a series of safety protocols enforced by the government, in order to reduce possible COVID-19 outbreaks. With that being said, some businesses take it a step further to ensure their clients and staff protection by introducing their own set of safety measures. Salons that do so show that they care for everyone’s well being – so there’s no reason for clients to be upset about this, right? Well, no.

Your customers are required to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing in most businesses they go to, so having to abide by additional rules in your salon might be infuriating. Just requiring clients to wear gloves and/or having to measure their temperatures on top of following government-issued regulations can really bring out the worst in people. Clients might remark that you’re overdoing it with the regulations, that the customer experience is poor, or that you’re giving in to the “COVID-19 scare”. Here are a few examples of how to properly respond to these remarks, in order to prevent further verbal conflict:

  • Explain your reasoning, but don’t apologise: what were you planning on apologising for? That you care for everyone’s safety? Explain to your clients why you chose to introduce additional regulations – many salons take this route because they have a large number of at-risk clients.
  • Introduce new booking schemes: have clients book their visits during your “PPE-free” days – more on that later.
  • Wish clients goodbye: if a client continues to scoff at the reasoning behind the introduction of your protocols and refuses to book during your “PPE-free” days, simply ask that they come back at a later date.

Sadly, your salon protocols might be pushing clients away, as they not only want to get hair or beauty treatments done, but also want to relax and get pampered. To prevent customer loss, you may want to consider introducing “PPE-free” days for clients who want a break from having to follow too many regulations. Note that you should only do this if you’ve introduced additional regulations for ensuring the safety of your at-risk clientele, and not personal safety reasons. In the UK, by law, salon clients are not required to wear PPE in the form of gloves (as of August 8th, facial coverings are required). If you require that they do, and are receiving negative feedback, consider lifting your regulations for certain days. That way, customers who want to experience the nostalgia of being able to visit their favourite salon without having to abide by additional rules can enjoy themselves.

Tip: keep everyone updated on your “PPE-free” days and other news by sending reopening messages to clients.

Price raise critics

Salons always get criticised whenever they raise their prices – it’s a natural reaction from customers, no matter the social situation. However, hair and beauty businesses are getting a lot of hate for doing so after they’ve reopened. Although salon clients see their opinions of this as justifiable, they rarely put themselves in the shoes of the salon owner. If you’ve increased your prices after reopening, chances are you’ve done so due to having to invest in loads of cleaning and disinfecting products, having to restock your shelves of products (which also went up in price), or you’ve suffered significant financial losses which may endanger your business. When confronted by clients who are not in favour of your price hike, consider taking this approach:

  • Explain the situation: obviously, you want to avoid sharing tear-jerking stories about going out of business – your clients might have it just as bad, if not worse. Be professional and explain that you and your team are dedicated to continue offering the same quality treatments as prior to COVID-19, however, your expenses have also increased.
  • Recommend alternatives: if a client refuses to pay your new price for a treatment, recommend that they get an alternative service that costs less.
  • Hire them as brand ambassadors: customers who invite their friends and family to your salon should be rewarded, right? Why not introduce this kind of option – clients that bring you new customers should be given an attractive discount or even a free treatment.

When hiring clients to work for you as brand ambassadors, you need to come up with a tempting offer. If they complain about your prices, ask them “what would you be willing to pay for this treatment?” – this question often baffles customers and makes it easier to get them involved in promoting your business. If this approach speaks to you, consider introducing a loyalty program – Versum salon software has an easy to understand and fully-functional Loyalty Program option, designed to reward clients, track their purchases and recommendations to your salon. For every new client they introduce to your business, every purchase they make and review they leave on your salon, they will be granted a number of points which they can use to pick up prizes that you offer. Remember that discount we mentioned earlier? Why not offer an award in the form of a -30% discount on any treatment? With this solution, not only will you reduce price-raise critics, you’ll also gain more customers who are willing to promote your brand! Sign up with Versum today and test out the Loyalty Program – no credit card required and free live support forever.

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