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Top Tips For Salons: How to handle online reviews about your business, by Yelp’s Rosie Akenhead

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Rosie Akenhead is manager of local business outreach at Yelp, one of the world’s largest consumer websites. She works directly with European businesses to identify best practice strategies for online reviewing, social media and reputation management.  

As an owner or manager, it’s always tough to know both what’s going on in the salon and what people are saying about your business online. With the influx of social media, mobile purchasing, social sharing and reviewing, there is nowhere for businesses to hide when it comes to customer comments on the net. Hair and beauty treatments are often quite personal for consumers. So what happens when an appointment goes right or wrong? They write a review online, of course! With over 61 million reviews submitted to Yelp alone, it is advisable to dedicate some time each week to the world of online reviews.

Here are a few top tips to get you started:

Respond to reviews in a diplomatic, polite way
You can respond to reviews of your business regardless of whether they are negative or positive. You’re able to respond to each review either privately or publicly on Yelp For Business Owners. A private message is rather like a personal email and is only visible to that individual reviewer and you. It’s ideal for thanking patrons and also a good first step to find out more information from a dissatisfied customer. The other option is a public message that is visible to everyone. A public message can be your best PR tool when used properly. When posting a public response, make sure that you thank the reviewer for their feedback, state your policies and address any of their concerns.

Online is no different to offline
When a customer tells you feedback face to face, do you stand there and say nothing? No, of course not. If you pride yourself on delivering great customer service in-person, then you should be doing the same online. Make sure you are engaging with and reacting to reviews from customers online. Use the same approach as you would if the person was leaning across the counter talking to you.

Action any relevant feedback
Are your reviews showing any common threads? As an example, are customers mentioning that there are bits of hair that haven’t been swept up? If so, that’s a problem you can fix: sweep the floor more regularly. Online reviews are a great way to hear honest, useful feedback from your clientele. Many salon owners look at online reviews during monthly staff meetings and implement customer feedback accordingly.

Negative review? Take a step back and analyse the situation
Luckily, around 80 per cent of the reviews on Yelp are three stars or higher. That said; if you do find yourself with a negative review, remember that you can never please 100 per cent of your customers 100 per cent of time, online or in-salon. Almost every salon will have received critical comments along the line – it’s just part of business life.  If you find yourself getting emotional about a bad review, be sure to logout of your business owner account. You can always return to respond a full 24 hours later. This will give you time to figure out what to write.

If you adhere to these tips, you’ll be well on your way to securing a great online reputation. Remember, you can only respond to reviews by claiming your business page at Biz.yelp.co.uk.

– Rosie

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