Online reviews are a double-edged sword. While they're great for building a positive reputation and gaining new hairstylist clients, they're also subject to the whims of your clientele base. One bad review, as they say, has the power to change everything. Let's take a look at some tips for handling negative reviews online.
1. Take a deep breath.
The online world is full of negativity. As a hairstylist who cares about your work, it can be easy to take poor reviews or nasty comments as a personal attack. Before you do anything, it's always a good idea to take a step back and gather your thoughts. Think back on the encounter you had with the client. Ask yourself if their review is justified in any way. Could you have done something better? Regardless of the answers, this time limits the issue of rash responses that could further besmirch your online reputation.
2. Accept the feedback.
Let's face it. No hairstylist or salon is perfect. People have bad days and make honest mistakes. There's no reason to hide this or try to convince yourself otherwise. This blindness will only lead to a false sense of confidence. Your clients see a different side of the process than you. Even if their comments could have been nicer, try to find constructive criticism within the remarks. Consider this a good learning opportunity and make an effort to do better in the future.
3. Respond in a sympathetic manner.
No matter how inaccurate or defaming an online review might be, you can never respond in a defensive or angry manner. Other users will naturally side with the customer because that's their vantage point as well. Hairstylists and salons should always respond to comments in a sympathetic manner. Apologize for the bad experience even if you feel it wasn't your fault. This can be disarming to the original author of the comment and very telling of your company overall.
4. Encourage the client to contact you.
Whether the negative review is accurate or not, you'll want to get to the bottom of it. Instead of prolonging the diatribe on a review forum, it's much more productive to encourage the client to contact you directly. This also shows other customers that you're attentive to their needs and are willing to hear critical feedback about your work. Most of the time, you won't hear back from the original posters of the negative reviews, but that's okay! You've already done the right thing. The ball is now in their court if they want to reach out and have their problems solved.
5. Hire a reputation management company.
Prominent hairstylists or salons with a strong online stylist presence and large clientele base might want to consider investing in a reputation management advisor. These professionals specialize in a niche area of marketing known as online reputation management. Whenever a negative review attached to your personal name or your salon's name shows up online, it's a mark on your online reputation. Reputation management companies use a series of complex strategies to ensure that your reputation remains positive and accurate no matter the amount of disinformation online.