Hair Salon BUSINESS: Dealing with Bad Reviews

A few weeks ago, I was helping a client clean up her brand’s online reputation on Yelp!. The salon had run a misguided Groupon, which put it in a position of overcrowding and over-commitment, resulting in some very upset clients. Even worse? It had left all those upset client reviews on its Yelp account as no one was sure how to respond.  So how can you manage online reviews?

Step 1 – Be Aware
You can’t fix what you don’t know, so the first step to keeping a clean reputation on review sites is to be aware of any reviews and have a system, such as Shout Lounge*, to notify you when new reviews come in.  This keeps you agile so you can move quickly to intervene before others chip in (worst case).

Keep in mind you can actually edit/remove some reviews in some cases.  These must be slanderous in nature or violate the terms and conditions of the review site, but it’s good to know your options.Step 2 – Acknowledge and Empathize
Typically all an upset client wants when she complains is to be acknowledged.  It doesn’t necessarily mean admitting wrong, but always acknowledge the way she (or he) feelsz.   Be empathetic and reinforce that that is not what your company stands for.  

Rules of Thumb:
    •    Never assign blame elsewhere
    •    Be professional and polite
    •    Demonstrate that you’ve taken note of her feedback

Remember, when responding in public the people you really want to read your post are those considering your business – the future client.  You want to give everyone the warm and fuzzies after they read your response.

Step 3 – Repair
When responding, extend the olive branch with an offer to bring the complainant back in at no cost.  She may take it, She may not, but it certainly will dampen the intensity of the situation and it says a lot about you and your company that you offered.  

In my client’s case, this was easy as we contacted each reviewer on Yelp and thanked them for their feedback, acknowledged their main points of contention, stated what had been done to fix the situation and offered them a chance to come back at no cost – 20% responded within 24 hours acknowledging that it wasn’t really that bad and that they couldn’t wait to come back.

* The Shout Lounge is an app that provides content and analytics to drive a salon’s online marketing, including monitoring online activity. For more information about The Shout Lounge, please visit  -Valorie Revis

Valorie Reavis is part of Linkup Marketing, an online and social media marketing agency focusing on search engine marketing, salon email marketing programs and social media marketing for salons and spas. If you have any queries for the Linkup team email  find them on or follow them on Twitter @linkupmarketing

Related:  Joico Partnership Will Power Online Business Building for Salons | Facebook Shakes Up Business PagesTop 5 Questions about Facebook  | Facebook Identity Crisis  | Continuing the Conversation  | Get Started with Email Marketing  |  Reaching Consumers Using Local Search Engines  |  Strategic Positioning of Keywords for Salons and Spas  |  Online Marketing Tips for Salons & Spas  |  Give Your Salon Website a Soul Taking Charge of Your Timeline Design


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