The dos and don’ts of salon reviews: how to get them, react to them and learn from them!
If you were to list things beauty business owners love, positive online reviews would be very high up (somewhere between receiving an unexpected cup of coffee from a client and getting a generous tip). Why do online reviews matter so much?
Nowadays, good opinions online are the backbone of a salon’s credibility. Back in the day, people chose which beauty business to go to based on word of mouth recommendations – now, the Internet plays the role of our digital grapevine. If there are no tracks of your salon online, then it doesn’t exist. If it doesn’t have any reviews, then there’s something suspicious going on. And if the reviews are far from gleaming? Then I’m sorry, you’re out of the game.
But salon reviews are more than just a scorer for good publicity and popularity. Both positive and negative are valuable feedback you should treat seriously if you want your business to develop. Do you want your salon to get more (beneficial!) feedback and also to learn how to react to it in order to boost both your marketing and overall performance? Then keep reading!
How to encourage clients to leave reviews?
Let’s begin with (seemingly) the most difficult part – how to get customers to leave reviews? Salon services reviews are something many potential customers also root for, so it’s not only the salon owner and employees who rejoice when clients leave them. But how can you encourage people to be more willing to share their experiences on the Internet?
Do: Start mentioning it early on.
Don’t: Make the conversation awkward
It’s a fact that the more we repeat a piece of information, the better we remember it. This is why getting the client familiar with the idea of leaving a review while the service is still ongoing is a very effective trick. However, you (and your employees!) need to make it a part of the conversation flow – if the client starts complimenting you on the treatment, you answer with warm “thank you” and mention that it would mean a lot to you if they were to share their experience online. Don’t interrupt the conversation with an out of the blue request – rather, wait for a good moment and make it natural.
Do: Explain to the client why their review is so important.
Don’t: Suggest it has to be a positive one
We tend to forget that clients are people – and although sometimes they can act very entitled, most of them are happy to support a business they like. They are probably unaware of how much online reviews matter. Being honest about it is the best way to go. Have your receptionist explain it or do it yourself during or right after the treatment. However, make sure to not push the client to only write positive things – mind your wording! Focus on the “need for constructive feedback” and make sure the customer feels comfortable and assured they can be honest. There’s nothing worse than feeling emotionally manipulated to lie!
Do: Send a reminder!
Don’t: Get angry at the client for forgetting to write a review
In most cases, clients don’t leave a review because they simply forget that they wanted to. Again, your clients are people – they do not spend the rest of their day contemplating their great experience. Yes, they may feel pampered, relaxed and beautiful, but life keeps happening around them. The best way to resolve this issue is to simply send them a “thank you” message with a polite reminder – preferably with a link leading directly to your booking page and/or Google My Business account. The worst you can do is get offended – as mentioned earlier, in most cases, clients simply forget. And if they don’t – they usually have a good reason for staying silent, which is something for you to reflect on, not to get angry at.
Tip: Using Versum, you can enable automated review requests that your clients will receive on their phones on the evening of the day their treatment took place.
How to respond to both positive and negative reviews?
Bad business reviews can be extremely hurtful, especially in the service industry. You want your hair or beauty salon reviews to be fantastic, and there’s nothing wrong with that – however, negative reviews, if genuine, are just as credible and important. In the race for the best opinion ratio, you cannot lose your cool – it’s all about how to take compliments and properly handle complaints!
Do: Delete fake and offensive reviews.
Don’t: Delete every single negative review you get
Fake reviews happen. Sometimes people give them to businesses they don’t like for some reason out of spite – it may be your competition playing dirty, your ex-employee being bitter or someone from your private life trying to hurt you by attacking your salon. If you are 100% sure that the review you received is fake, delete it or report to be deleted. There’s no point in entering a discussion with an internet troll. You should also delete reviews that are offensive towards anyone, let it be you, your employees or other clients. Anything that contains a slur, threat or personal attack is out of the question.
However, deleting honest critique is a completely different topic. Clients should express their true opinions and just because you don’t agree with them doesn’t mean you should silence them. It’s a shameworthy business practice that sooner or later will catch up to you. A good response to getting a negative review is to calm down before you react and then accept the review for what it is, even if after a long reflection you still don’t agree with its content.
Do: Reply to the comments.
Don’t: Get defensive
It’s in good taste to thank your clients for their reviews. It’s not only a sign of respect and gratitude, but also a great way to publicly display that you are communicative and professional. Responding to positive reviews is fairly easy – you thank the customer for their comment, say that you are happy they found your services up to their taste and indicate that you are looking forward to their next visit. If there is something more personal to refer to, you can do so politely (eg. mention how much you loved working with them due to their patience, creativity, etc). Keep the tone warm yet professional – remember that your exchange will be visible to everyone.
Responding to negative reviews is a little more tricky – for example, it’s easy to get carried away and get very defensive. You need to keep in mind that reviews are, by nature, entirely subjective – objectively, your services may be perfect, but clients are in the right to not be satisfied with them anyway. If you allow for reviews, you allow both praise and criticism. Unless the bad review is fake or straight-up offensive (as mentioned above), you should thank the client for their opinion, say you are sorry they are not satisfied and offer a way of resolving the issue. For example, if according to your salon policies they are entitled to a free redo or recompensation, remind them about it and ask to contact you. If the complaint is rather vague, you can still offer them a small additional treatment (eg. head massage) as an add-up to their next visit – it’s a nice gesture that won’t bring you loss, but shows that you treat your clients very seriously. The worst you can do is to get aggressive and try to prove the customer wrong at all costs. If the client accuses you of something serious, you can refer to facts and procedures, but do so calmly and in a professional manner.
Tip: Visit our article on how to respond to a bad review online for examples and step-by-step guides!
Do: Analyse why have you received a negative review.
Don’t: Ask your friends for a “positive reviews bombing”
Nobody likes getting a negative review, especially if you are truly putting sweat, tears and blood into your craft. However, although positive reviews are nicer, negative ones may teach you more about your own salon! Although you need to take everything you read with a grain of salt, a critique may help you to pinpoint the areas of your business that need improvement. Don’t brush them off too quickly, blaming everything on someone’s jealousy, bitterness or bad attitude! Do a genuine, in-depth analysis of your and your employees behaviour, expertise and business approach. The client is not always in the right – but sometimes their critique is truly a reality check for you.
Finally, never, ever ask your friends, employees or buddies from forums and Facebook groups to raid your page with five-start opinions to balance a negative review you received! It’s a shameful practice – you hate negative reviews from people who never even visited your salon, why should fake positive ones be any better? One of the signs of being a bad hairdresser, beautician or make-up artist is the need to fake opinions on yourself. Finally – did you know that the practice of writing fake reviews (also called ‘astroturfing’) is illegal in the United Kingdom? It’s considered unfair commercial practice and in the worst-case scenario, you can get punished for it.
Encouraging clients to write reviews and then managing them is not an easy task. Fortunately, if you are using Versum, you can count on well-thought-through functionalities that will make the situation much more convenient. Only people who actually visited you are allowed to leave a review on your booking page – and you can rest assured knowing that each of them gets a reminder at the right time! Try Versum today and see how much it will improve your salon’s performance.