Preventing Hairdressing Complaints
Meet all legal requirements
There is a lot of legislation in place to protect consumers so it can be helpful to be aware of your client’s rights.
The Consumer Rights Act of 2015 states that goods and services must match the written or oral description given by the salon. Check that your advertising is accurate and be truthful when discussing services and products with a client.
Products must be of satisfactory quality and fit for purpose so carry out regular checks to ensure that products are good enough to use and immediately remove any that are found to be unsafe. Make sure that all products and containers are stored, handled, used and disposed of in accordance with salon policy, manufacturer’s guidelines and any local bye-laws.
Services must be carried out with reasonable care and skill, at a reasonable price and within a reasonable amount of time. Clients have the right to reject or request the repair or replacement of faulty goods or services within 30 days of supply. This must be done at no cost to the client, within a reasonable time, without causing significant inconvenience.
When did you last review your website? Are your prices out-of-date or has it been “under construction” for several months because everyone's too busy to update it?
Your website is like your shop-front and needs to be kept fresh. Since a lot of people use the internet to check opening times and the services you offer, make sure that all this information is easy to access.
Clients also use your website to rate you or give feedback so provide a “Contact us” option so that they can get in touch. If you know what problems your clients are experiencing you will be able to make amends and prevent the same mistakes from happening again.
Follow policies and procedures
Policies and procedures often come about from past experiences and are shaped over time. Chances are that if something can go wrong, it probably has done in the past and someone has had the sense to create a process for everyone to follow to ensure that the same thing doesn’t happen again.
Familiarise yourself with your salon’s procedures, attend any training that your salon provides, and, if you think that something is wrong, raise your concerns with your manager.
Minimise risk of injury
Never use damaged tools on a client as this could cause injury. Ensure that all tools are fit for purpose by servicing them regularly. Have electrical equipment tested, oil your cutting tools, replace damaged clipper blades and have scissors professionally sharpened. Avoid the risk of cross infection or infestation by sterilising all tools and equipment between clients. Carry all tools in a safe manner and handle electrical equipment with care.
If you are using harmful chemicals make sure that you and your client wear personal protective equipment and never use a product that is inappropriate for your client as this could cause them harm.
Test your products
Have you ever used your own products? If you are going to use a product on a client it is important that you understand how it works so that you can give a full explanation of its benefits and how it should be used.
Keep up-to-date with products and services offered by your salon to ensure that you provide accurate information and advice that meets your client’s needs. Giving incorrect information can lead to problems and complaints. If you are not sure about something, say so and assure the client that you will make every attempt to get the correct information or advice for them.
Your salon’s opening times may have been adequate when it first opened but do they still suit your clients? Ask them. You might find that they would prefer for you to open later and close later some days or perhaps they would like you to be open more during the run up to Christmas when there are a lot of parties to attend. Be prepared to work extra hours during busy periods and consider working flexi-time.
Always acknowledge a client when they walk into your salon, even if you are busy with another customer. Welcome them with a smile as this will help them relax into their surroundings and advise them that you will be with them shortly. When talking with a client use positive, open body language and maintain eye contact to show that you are listening actively.
Never allow the phone to ring while a prospective client imagines you are all sitting around chatting and have a rule that the phone must be answered within 3 rings.
Not only is it a legal requirement to treat people fairly, courteously and respectfully, it is also the ethical way to behave. Be professional at all times, even if you are stressed. Avoid swearing or using slang and keep your tone clear. Don’t speak too loudly or giggle as this can come across as being rude.
Be concise and avoid waffling but give enough information to be clear about the product or service in which a client is interested. If a client is being offensive, remain calm and do not respond negatively. If they are causing you distress, seek help from your manager.
Keep your promises
If you say you are going to call a client back, make sure that you do. Leaving a client waiting to hear from you will only give them the impression that you don’t care and will escalate any existing problem.
Follow-up any query that you have referred to someone else to ensure that it has been dealt with satisfactorily.
Learn from your mistakes
A complaint is a learning opportunity and you are fortunate when a customer takes the time to help improve your salon. Set up a process to log all complaints so that it is easy to spot recurring problems. Share your experiences with your colleagues and talk about what can be done to prevent the same thing happening again.
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