Clients are the reason spas are in business. Everything that we create, design, implement and do is for our clients/guests. When we open a business, initially it is for ourselves, but the success of business lies with our clients. Our ultimate goal is to provide a quality service(s), with great technicians in a soothing and beautiful environment. However, what happens when all that we have provided falls short? Our clients are unhappy and never to return. They tell 10 other people why they didn’t like their experience, and the damage is done.
There are a number of reasons why clients do not return, however we need to deal with the initial task at hand of “How to Handle Client Conflicts”.
Unhappy clients fall into the following areas, to name just a few:
- Incorrectly booked appointment times
- No confirmation calls
- No-show technicians
- Double booked appointments
- Service expectations not met
- Noisy and unclean environment
- Rude staff
- Late client and they can not be accommodated
As business owners, managers and desk staff, we have all encountered the above mentioned issues and there are many more where these came from. The key is not the issue but how it is handled.
Client Conflict Breakdown in 4 Steps
Step 1: Timing: Every client conflict needs to be taken care of when the client is in-house. Not after they have left or a week later. Timing is everything, the sooner you resolve the “issue” the better the result. As soon as you know or hear of a problem, ask the client to come with you away from the desk to a quiet and non-threatening area. Other clients should not be in earshot of your client when they are talking.
Step 2: Listen: Listen very closely to what the client is telling you. Do not let your emotions get in the way of hearing what they have to say. Be fully present and attentive, making full eye contact and nodding your head as you listen to their story. When they are done: REPEAT what they have told you, making sure that what you have heard is what they intended on saying. Get all the facts and details.
For example: ” Ok, I want to make sure that I have heard you correctly. You stated that your aesthetician did not do extraction in your facial, and that was what you were expecting. Is that correct?”
Step 3: Thank the Client. Thank the client for bringing whatever the problem is to your attention. Tell them you appreciate their business and you want to make “it right.”. Now, there are situations where the client is wrong and there are house rules. If that is the case, you need to be clear and deliberate in your conversation.
For example: “Mrs. Smith, we are very sorry that you had car trouble and came late to your appointment. You know we really appreciate you as a client. However, our schedule is fully booked and there are no immediate openings. Would it be possible for you to come another day? Let me tell you what is available.”
Step 4: Resolution: It’s time to solve the problem and offer solutions. A best practice is to create a “Conflict Resolution Chart” that gives various scenarios and approved actions /solutions. Your desk staff should be empowered to take care of client conflicts as well as technicians when applicable.
|Client is late for appointment||Explain spa policy and offer other appointment times.|
|Client returns half used bottle of moisturizer after return window||Listen to client’s issue. Offer client a replacement product of equal or lesser value.|
|Client shows up at the wrong time for appointment||Check to make sure that appointment was confirmed. If not, try to accommodate client. If client can’t be fit in, offer a discount on scheduled service.|
These are just a few conflict/solution ideas. Create your own list and review it with all desk staff and management. You can never predict all issues that might arise, but knowing how to handle them by listening, thanking and resolving is the first part. Having clearly defined parameters for dealing with clients will keep your clients and staff happy.
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