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Tips & Tricks | How to Deal with a Client Complaint

Written by Industry Input on August 5th, 2015.      0 comments

We all want happy clients - all the time. Nothing pleases us more than to get great feedback from our clients. We want them to leave happy, and we want them to come back!

However, it is impossible to please everyone ALL the time. They say generally and in most businesses, "one dollar out of every four is spent correcting mistakes".

It is important to recognize that criticism from your clients are more valuable than praise. We should make it easy for clients to give us feedback - even negative feedback. If clients don't feel they can approach you with their complaints, they will just walk away and never come back. And they will make sure to tell everybody willing to listing about their complaint!

If you are not aware of your client's complaints, you run the risk of doing the exact same thing again in the future, to someone else. We learn more from criticism and complaints than we do from praise. So even though it is hard to hear negative feedback; welcome it - because that is how you grow! 
Everything that comes to you, is a gift for your growth.

I asked some Industry experts how they deal with a client complaint. They were generous enough to share their ideas, thoughts and tips with us:
Owner of Esetic Beauty Therapy, Orewa
“For myself, my first rule of thumb when dealing with complaints is don’t be defensive!  Listen carefully to your clients’ complaint, if necessary ask questions to clarify her concerns.  Be empathetic and respectful.  If she has a genuine cause to complain, ask her permission to resolve the situation, to ensure both parties agree on the best outcome.  Most importantly, don’t take complaints as a personal attack, think of it as  a chance to grow and influence harmony in your salon”.
Christina Boyd
Beauty Therapist, Waiheke Island

"When dealing with a client complaint it is most important to make her feel heard first and foremost. Your clients are the most important aspect of your business and as soon as possible you want to rectify any concerns. Offer another treatment or to fix the problem; your client needs to feel important. With regards to the therapist concerned, once you have dealt with the client and she is happy,  it's important to support your therapist and establish how that treatment went for her and what she thought happened; and what went wrong. Offer her support to empower her to do better. Don't leave these issues unaddressed."

stella pic(copy)
Mobile Beauty Therapist
"My first instinct is to make the client happy so I want her/him to be specific in where things went wrong for them, and offer a way to correct it as soon as possible - the sooner the better.  I never lay blame on the client.

A complaints usually comes down to lack of communication, so I want them to feel heard, especially if they are unhappy because of their experience."
Advice from Beauty Experts SpaBeauty
SoSpa Manager, Sofitel Viaduct Auckland
"Listen! If the client is complaining directly to you it is so important to listen carefully to them - genuine concern and an empathetic reaction goes a long way when dealing with complaints. Often the way the complaint is handled can resolve the situation immediately. If the complaint comes to you after the incident, it is important to investigate exactly what happened and get as much background information as possible before going back to the client to resolve the situation.

I will always do what I can to ensure the client comes back and ensure they have a positive experience on that visit so everyone is happy!"

Owner of The Essentials Massage & Natural Beauty, Coopers Beach

"First and foremost I thank the client for taking the time and making the effort to complain. You often learn the most from the clients who complain so appreciate them! Try to depersonalise what they are saying and see where they may be coming from. 
If the error is on the clinics side then acknowledge this and do whatever you can - do not pass the buck onto anyone else.
Don't blame your staff or stockists.


Clients don't need reasons or excuses; they just want to know someone is taking responsibility. Don’t go into too much detail as to who’s fault it is, concentrate more on what you can do to rectify it so everyone is happy. If you end up making some changes as to how you do things due to their complaint notify them of this next time you see them. This further enforces that you have heard what they have said and have taken it seriously. In the end be fair and try to think how you would like to be treated in the same situation."

Chuan Spa therapist, Langham Hotel Auckland

 "I think the key is to avoid a complaint. I believe through experience and awareness you develop an "instinct" of picking up difficult customers/clients. I try to avoid creating a problem by giving them a very warm and welcoming initial introduction - always SMILE like you are so happy to see them!
And pay attention to the tone of your voice as well.
Don't be frightened of them if they seem confrontational, at the end of the day,
you are the professional. Keep calm and establish what is the cause of their complaint is. Use the experience to learn from and try to recover from the situation.  Some clients can be just simply challenging. But there is a difference between 'needy clients' and 'difficult clients'.

Catherine chu(copy)

Sometime it's also culture related. Don't make it personal. When you face a challenging situation and client, ask your supervisor or manager to help. Don't let the situation get out of hands, ask for help.
I also find doing the "power pose" really helps. If you have time watch the TED clip by Amy Cuddy, really really really good for anyone and everyone."

Owner of Chrysalis Clinics, Whangaparaoa & Browns Bay

"All complaints should be handed over to the senior staff member on shift. They are trained to deal with different issues that may arise and our protocol on resolving the situation. 

• Listen
• Repeat customers concern
• Sympathize with client, ensure you understand the situation or frustration
• Solve or rectify the issue if possible
• Learn and share with team 


I am a true believer that it is better to give away a treatment than have an unhappy customer, regardless of the situation. We will always look at how we can rebuild great relationships."






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