How many times have you tried a new recipe, lipstick, workout class, or restaurant because a friend recommended it? We’ve all tried something new because someone we trust told us to try it. In the marketing world, we call that referral marketing, and it’s powerful!
When customers have a great experience with a brand – or say your salon – they tell their friends and family about it. And, guess what? They do the same thing if they’ve had a bad experience. In fact, customers are more likely to leave a bad review than a good one. What a bummer, right?
Now, sometimes people are going to be spiteful and leave a bad review, even if their account of the interaction might not be accurate. This happens. It’s a part of running a business. But you shouldn’t ignore it, you should always address it. But before we dive into collecting and addressing client testimonials, I want to briefly touch on why they are so important to your salon business.
- Your salon’s reputation is at stake. Client testimonials help build a good reputation for your salon. They strengthen your brand and make your salon seem more professional, trustworthy, and reliable.
- It helps with your SEO and findability. We live in a digital world, which means client reviews no longer get passed around only at book club. They now live online, which means Google and other search engines search for that information. The more reviews you have, the easier it is for your salon to be found when someone is searching for a hair salon. And once they’ve found your salon online, having a majority of positive reviews helps them turn into salon clients.
How to Get More Positive Salon Reviews
Okay, so we know client reviews matter. So, how do we encourage happy clients to leave positive reviews? First, and most importantly, give your client a wonderful experience at your salon. After all, a review isn’t worth it if it’s not authentic. But let’s say you’ve perfected your customer experience, and now you just need help getting more reviews. Here are a few things to try.
- Ask clients to leave a review. Yes, sometimes all you have to do is simply ask! If you know they are happy with their service, kindly ask them to leave a Google review or post about it on your salon’s social pages.
- Make it easy to leave a review. Send a follow-up email after their appointment asking them to leave a review. Link to your Google business page and your social pages. Heck, you can even have comment/review cards and a box when they check out if they prefer to write a physical review.
- Give them an incentive to leave a review. You could set up a program for client reviews. Every time a client leaves a positive review, they could get entered into a drawing to win a free salon service or product.
- Start a referral program. This is slightly different, but has the same goal. Create a referral program for your clients. Every time they refer a new salon client, they can earn points, once they have enough points, they get a free salon service or product.
How to Deal with the Negative Salon Reviews
There’s no avoiding it. You will get some bad reviews. That’s okay. When you get a bad review, the first thing you should ask yourself is this, “Is this what really happened, and how can we learn from it so it doesn’t happen again?” Bad reviews are a good opportunity to identify ways you can improve your salon business.
After you’ve figured out what happened, it’s always a good idea to address the bad review. Now, I HIGHLY recommend never responding to a bad review when you are in a bad mood. Responding out of anger is never a good idea. Take some time to craft a polite response that addresses the client’s concerns. And if you (or one of your stylists) is in the wrong, make it right. Offer a complimentary service for their next visit or perhaps free product. If you really did provide a bad experience, make it right. A good authentic review can go a long way, but a bad authentic review can seriously do damage.
You should still respond, even if the client is leaving an over exaggerated, spiteful review. Stay calm. Stay polite. But always respond. Why? Other people read reviews, and if they see that your salon always addresses their clients’ concerns, it can go a long way to improving your brand’s reputation. On that note, you should respond to positive reviews as well. Let your clients know how much you appreciate them!