When the salon management software doesn't work because the internet is down, or the computer using the software to book appointments crashes, what do you do?
When someone is waiting and gets upset, annoyed and starts yelling at you, what do you want to do?
While these may be things that you WANT to do, if you plan on keeping your business AND clients, the answer is none of the above.
What can you do?
Here are seven practical steps you can use the next time you find yourself in a situation with an irate client.
Step #1: Take A Deep Breath And Relax
This is ABSOLUTELY vital. While it may sound silly to take a deep breath, you’ll find that it will do wonders.
You see, when you are thrust into a high energy situation such as an argument, your heart starts racing, you start sweating and you go into fight or flight mode.
When you take a deep breath and bring yourself back down, you can start to slow down your heart rate, which in turn also helps you to relax.
If you start getting upset and start yelling, then you will only be adding fuel to the fire. Think about it.
When you argue with someone, what do they end up doing? That’s right, they argue right back.
If you keep calm and they start yelling at you, it will be hard for them to KEEP yelling at you. Just think about it yourself, how silly would you feel yelling at someone that wasn’t yelling back.
Key Point: Keep Your Cool
Step #2: Mentally Step Into Their Shoes
When all you can see is what they are doing wrong, it will be difficult to grasp their point of view.
If you can’t see why they are so upset, it will be easy for you to brush them off OR not want to help them at all.
Take a step back and put yourself in their shoes.
What are you hearing? How would you feel if you were in their position? How would you want to be treated in this situation?
If you hear things like they will be late getting back to work or late to pick up their kids, put yourself in their position.
Imagine what it would be like getting yelled at by your supervisor, or worrying that something may have happened to their children.
When you put yourself in their shoes, you can better come up with a solution for them instead of wanting to just walk away.
Key Point: See Through Their Eyes
Step #3: Listen, No REALLY Listen
Actively listen to what they are saying.
People know when you are being insincere and know when you don’t really care.
If you find yourself being dismissive with quick responses like “Mmm Hmm,” “Yes,” or “Yeah,” then they will catch on quickly that you don’t really care.
Keep your attention on them, keep eye contact and respond to what they are saying with actual responses, like confirming what you hear.
Things like, “What I hear you saying is that you’ve been waiting for 30 minutes and just want to re‐book your salon appointment?’
Key Point: ACTUALLY Listen To What They Are Saying
Step #4: Offer Solutions
One option that needs to be mentioned is that a salon needs to have a backup plan in the event their internet goes down or their computer stops working.
There needs to be A PLAN in place so the business can continue to run while these outages are happening.
So the owner need to have steps in place that their employees can follow.
Employees should know exactly what to do in such a crisis.
After all, people were operating businesses thousands of years before computers and the internet.
One thing a business does not what to do is turn away a paying client.
Once you have seen things from their point of view and listened to what their true concerns are, you can now offer up some solutions.
Think of the best win‐win scenarios possible.
Perhaps something like:
“I apologize for the long wait today, we are just really short staffed and appreciate your patience. In addition, our salon software is held up since the internet is down and we are waiting for help.
We can book you for another day and give you an additional discount for inconveniencing you. What we can also do is give you some added services free of charge, and a discount if you would like to wait until we can see you today.”
If it’s in you power or authority then do what you can. If it’s not, be sure to check
with your supervisor before you do so and start making empty promises.
Key Point: Problem Solve
Step #5: Apologize
Some people assume that apologizing means you are admitting that you did something wrong.
This is not the case. You can apologize and not say you were in the wrong.
This is especially true if they are irate through nothing that you did. You can say something such as “I am sorry you feel that way, is there anything else I can do to make this better?”
As you can see, you haven’t said you messed up, BUT you are giving them an apology.
Of course if you were at fault, then admit to it.
Key Point: Say Sorry
Step #6: Don’t Take It Personally
What you need to understand is that the person is not mad at you.
The person is mad at the situation and you just happened to be the closest human being around to yell at.
You may even find that it wasn’t anything you OR your company did.
You just may find that they were having a bad day to begin with and you just happened to be in their path.
Key Point: Remember That It Isn’t About You Personally
Step #7: Go The Extra Mile
Once you have done the steps above and found options for solutions, ask this one key line:
“Is there anything else I can do?”
People just want to be heard, they want to know that people are listening and that they care.
Once you have done the steps mentioned above and shown that you are trying your best to help them, go the extra mile and just ask if there is anything else you can do.
You’d be surprised at the reaction you will get.
You may not feel like it, but trust us when we say that going the extra mile will do wonders in keeping the peace AND keeping that client in the long run.
Key Point: Go Above And Beyond And Ask What Else You Can Do
It is never fun when you have to deal with an irate client, but the fact of the matter is that you will eventually.
Keep these seven steps in mind the next time a situation arises and you will be much better off AND you won’t leave a mess of angry clients in your wake.
Have you ever dealt with an irate client and what did you do? Let's continue the conversation in the comments below. Also, share this post on social media to spread the word on how to deal with customers.