You cannot run away from reputation management if you’re operating a salon business in today’s digital world. Everyone has a smartphone these days and, with social media growing in popularity every passing day, your brand and reputation are always visible to the world. Your salon’s reputation is constantly on the line whenever something unpleasant is associated with your brand. That’s one of the negative effects of high-speed connectivity that the internet has brought about.
If your brand reputation is on the rocks as a result of rampant criticism and negative feedback, this article is for you. We will explore 3 comprehensive tips for fixing your salon’s online reputation.
1. Get on top of client feedback
First things first: Do you have a reliable salon management program? If you don’t, fixing your online reputation necessitates that you invest in quality salon software. It is your software that will help you stay on top of client feedback.
For starters, advanced salon software allows clients to manage their appointments, which eliminates most of the interactions that cause friction between your staff and the clients. Secondly, your software will help you collect, analyze, and store basic client details such as name, phone number, email address, service/product preferences, and birthdays. This information will help you reach out to clients with relative ease and shape personalized reputation management campaigns.
Thirdly- and most importantly, you can use the software to set up and send simple survey questions to clients. You can shape your survey questions around clients’ booking experience, the effectiveness of your social media content, the efficiency of your salon facilities, and the quality of your treatments and services. Such questionnaires give you real-time clients’ opinions, preventing potential social media rants that could damage your reputation even more.
Once you get feedback from your clients, use it to repair your salon’s reputation in these 3 steps:
I. Apologize to complaints quickly and sufficiently
Be swift to call or email your disgruntled clients and initiate a peace-finding process. If an apology is enough to quell their anger, be sure to send the apology in a personalized and authentic package. If there was a misunderstanding or confrontation between a client and one of your team members, arrange a meeting for all parties involved and try to be a neutral arbiter. And if you need to make changes to your processes or procedures, try to find ways of satisfying the unhappy customers without diluting your brand identity or hurting your revenue generation. Such genuine actions can go a long way in calming down an unhappy client before things escalate.
ii. Control the conversation
Now that you know the way your clients think, the things they value, and a ton of their personal info, don’t wait for them to set topics around your brand. You can effectively control the conversation about your salon by uploading social media content that your clients are likely to be totally immersed in. Be more proactive and lesser reactive.
iii. Share testimonials
Some of the feedback you receive is highly believable, authentic, quite descriptive, and extremely useful to potential clients. Don’t keep them to yourself. Share these testimonials on your website and social media pages as a way of vouching for your salon’s reputation. That way, your online visitors may not have to seek third-party, reputation-damaging reviews from social media or review sites.
2. Improve your communications
How effective and truthful is your brand message? Effective communication will go a long way in building trust and amending your salon’s reputation in the long run. You can improve the quality and effectiveness of your communications in these simple steps:
I. Commit to a positive brand image
- Communication doesn’t start and end with the marketing messages you put out there. It includes everything clients see in your salon and every interaction they have with your brand. If the brand image they see is negative, there is nothing you can say in your marketing content that will change their minds. That’s why it’s important to commit to a positive brand image. You will achieve that by:
- Creating internal cultures that your clientele identifies with and can be proud of. That includes the conversations that your staff members initiate during appointments, the music you play in the salon, the beauty products you stock, how your salon smells, the comfort levels, and your body language.
- Ensure that the services you offer are of the best quality, most reasonable prices, and are as original as possible. Ensure that the value that clients get in your salon cannot be matched by any of your competitors.
- Train your staff members to outdo themselves in every appointment. You can do that by sending them to beauty events, sponsoring them for refresher courses, and teaching them soft skills such as proper communication, time management, and conflict resolution. That will significantly reduce the reputation-damaging conflicts in your salon
ii. Address your audiences
With your brand image intact, now communicate to your audiences any message that you feel will help improve your reputation. If there are changes you’ve made to your processes and/or procedures, don’t wait for the clients to notice it on their own. Send them emails, call them, and post on your social channels about the changes. If there is a general problem that needs your explanation, go ahead and provide that explanation. If there is a problem that clients feel you need to fix, don’t just fix it without letting them know how you fixed it and what your plans are for preventing a repeat of the same. Such communications will help you cover a lot of ground.
iii. Create a plan for responding to malice
Sometimes people will criticize your salon for no valid reason. A malicious competitor, for example, can write a negative review on social media just to make your salon look bad. Don’t allow them to drag you down, though. Learn how to respond calmly and respectfully to malicious feedback. Train your staff members to use facts and honesty to debunk lies that malicious people spread on the internet. And more importantly, learn to ignore the irrelevant reviews that have little to no bearing on your salon’s reputation. If someone complains about a product that you never use in your salon, it is obvious even to your clients that that person has never been to your salon. Your real clients will deal with such malice on your behalf- you don’t have to react.
iv. Be consistent in your messaging
Project a positive image across all your marketing channels, both online and offline, in order to form a harmonious picture. Ensure that everyone associated with your brand, be it workers or social influencers, all work towards a common, identified, and ideal target image. The last thing you want is to confuse your clients- and sow a seed of doubt- with multiple versions of your brand story from different employees. You’d rather appoint one “spokesperson” among your staff members rather than have everyone saying anything to clients.
3. Launch a charm offensive online campaign
It’s now time to repair your broken salon’s online reputation. You will do that by:
I. Implementing search engine optimization (SEO).
Which content pops up first when potential clients search your salon’s name or keywords/phrases related to salon services in your location? Because you cannot control what people write about your brand online, your best shot is to mask what they say. You will do that by implementing SEO to ensure that the online content you create ranks high on Google- bury any negative content further down the Google search results.
ii. Use social media to your advantage
Create a Facebook and an Instagram page if you haven’t already. That done, fill out any information you find relevant to your online reputation, from images, contacts, a link to your booking page, and location details. If you already have social media presence, start posting more and responding to comments, questions, and concerns with a little more urgency. Potential clients won’t fall for malicious press about your salon if you are always available to answer their questions. There is more:
- Start working with highly-reputable social influencers for your social media marketing. There is a chance that their good reputation will rub off on your reputation in the long run.
- Encourage your loyal clients to post user-generated content on their timelines and to tag your business page whenever they do. You can do that by offering them discounts and free add-on services for attaining set milestones for tags made.
- Ensure that your employees have professionally-looking social profiles. Their behavior online says a lot about your salon. While at it, pay them well so that they can afford nice nails, hairstyles, makeup, and clothes. People will associate your salon with class and luxury if your people look sharp on social media.
iii. Claim your Google My Business (GMB) listing
This will allow you to manage and reply to any reviews that clients may leave on GMB. It is also easier to encourage customers to leave positive reviews of your salon on Google upon claiming your listing. Lastly, you get the chance to clarify important facts about your business e.g. your pricing, location, business hours, and contacts. That minimizes the chances of potential clients encountering reputation-damaging misinformation in their internet searches.
iv. Claim your Yelp listing
Yelp reviews are also quite popular amongst online shoppers. Claim your profile and respond to any reviews that clients may have already left regarding your salon.
v. Create Google Alerts
Google Alerts will alert you via email whenever your salon appears in Google search results or someone mentions your salon’s name online. You, therefore, are able to respond to critics in real-time, which is great for your reputation management.
Is it time for a refresh with regards to your salon’s reputation management? The three tips above will help you improve your reputation before your business suffers total annihilation. The key takeaway here is to never underestimate the value of honest feedback from your clients. Always use it whenever you need to make a reputation-sensitive decision.