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How To Talk About Mistakes

Kelly Cison | July 10, 2011 | 10:19 AM
Hesitant to broach sensitive subjects with your clients? Never feel tongue-tied again! Use expert tips from our comprehensive guide to talk to clients with professional confidence.

How To Talk About Mistakes
How To Talk About Mistakes

No one likes to talk about it-but it happens! Whether it's a cut gone awry, an all-wrong texture treatment or a minor spa snafu, our experts agree the best way to handle a mistake is to just own up to it. "The last thing we want to do is tell a client it looks good when it clearly doesn't," says Graffeo of Indra Salon & City Spa. "Guests tend to appreciate our honesty and it makes them more open to working with us in the future."

After you acknowledge your mistake, apologize to the client and do your best to make her feel comfortable while you attempt to fix whatever went wrong, says Dodge. If it's a serious issue, or you're uncertain of how to address the situation, bring in your manager.

Ask the client, "How can we make this better?" Most salons will offer service re-do's free of charge with the same stylist; Caruh also lets the client opt for a more senior provider the second time around, if she prefers. At the re-do, the consultation is more important than ever as the stylist makes a conscious effort to catch whatever it was that was miscommunicated or overlooked the first time. The close communication is successful, adds Dodge. "When we humble ourselves and really listen, these clients feel so cared for that they become our most loyal."

No place has more potential for mistakes or accidents than a spa, acknowledges Folawn. "Waxing is the classic," she reports. "Someone will take too much hair off or drip wax on the client's clothes. Once the wax pot tipped over and got all over the bed and all over the client!" In many cases, there aren't any easy fixes. "If it's that too much hair has been taken off, you just have to wait for it to grow back," she says. "For a surface burn, if the client wants to see her doctor, we'll let her know we will pick up the tab for that." The client will not be charged-and they'll get a gift certificate to come back again for the same service, which they can choose to redeem with a different spa tech or even give to a friend.

Of course, always being conscious of your client's desires and expectations and of your own surroundings will help you work more effectively and safely. But mistakes can't be avoided entirely…they happen to the best of us. And that's how you grow, declares Dodge. "We believe there are no mistakes, only opportunities to make it right and build a lifetime of trust with a client." Now, that's a lesson worth learning.

How To Talk About Mistakes


Also in the same series:

...Updating Their Style
...Referrals
...Breaking Up
...Other Services You Offer
...Cheating
...Prebooking
...Mistakes


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