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How to Respond to Bad Nail Salon Reviews

Bad online reviews can cost you business and harm your reputation, but learning how to respond can save the day.

Online reviews can make or break nail salons. Customers often post reviews, and many include photos of their freshly done nails to back up their words.

Good (and bad) online reviews can determine whether a prospective customer chooses your nail salon—or not. And about half of salon customers (49 percent) use online reviews to make a final decision when choosing a salon, current market research from Phorest shows.

“Those who take their online reputation seriously will clearly win business over those who are not paying attention to their online reviews and social channels,” states Verna Wall, a Phorest lead researcher.

With that in mind, here’s how (and how not) to respond to bad nail salon reviews:

Don’t: ignore bad reviews

One nail salon in Atlanta responds graciously to rave reviews, thanking the customer and promising to pass along the glowing feedback to the nail tech. Those responses make their lack of response to bad reviews stand out like a chipped nail. Three customers in a row posted bad reviews, with photos, and got zero response. “I am very disappointed. I paid $109 for my nails. Plus gave a $20 tip,” wrote one customer who complained of a botched French manicure. The response: nothing.

Do: thank the customer

It’s important to start out with a sincere thank you in your responses to bad reviews. Even if it might not seem like it, the customer is often doing you a favor by leaving feedback, even if it’s not what you want to hear. If you can start with gratitude, it will be easier to write a professional and gracious response that will make your nail salon look as good as a perfect set of fresh acrylics.

Don’t: get defensive

Some salon owners view their nail salon as an extension of themselves, and take negative feedback as a personal criticism. Step out of “defensive” mode and into a tone of calm professionalism. Try to make the customer feel seen and heard, and remember that potential clients will be reading your response to see if you’re professional or snarky when things go wrong. “I worked with one salon owner in California who said she got four (FOUR!) new guests who cited their reason for coming in was because of how kindly she responded to a negative reviewer,” Lauren Bakos writes in Salon Today. “Remember her. Channel her.”

Do: take feedback seriously

Look at the substance of the negative feedback, try to figure out exactly what went wrong and determine if the bad review is a sign of some problem with your service that you need to correct. If it is, decide what steps you will take to fix the problem. Then, in your response, acknowledge the truth within the bad review, Bakos recommends. Also let the customer know what you’ve done, or plan to do, to correct the problem.

Invite the reviewer back

It can be difficult to ask for a second chance, but that’s exactly what you need to do. Inviting back a client who left a negative review shows that you can accept criticism gracefully, take steps to improve and are willing to prove you’ll do better next time. If you did make a mistake the first time, consider asking the client to contact you so you can make the situation right. This may include a redo of a poorly done service, a discount off their next visit or some other offering to make up for the mistake and show that their feedback matters to you.

Finally, don’t let that one bad review define you or your nail salon. “Consumers are savvy and can weed out the wackos – they aren’t focusing on that single bad review and neither should you,” Bakos states. “Immerse yourself in compliments and leave the past in the past.”