Dealing With Salon Complaints

21 September 2021

Complaints from your clients can be upsetting and difficult to deal with; this article will discuss how you can deal with complaints quickly and calmly.

Dealing with complaints from clients.

Often we put huge amounts of effort into making sure our business offers the best service possible, but no matter how hard you try, it is practically impossible to ensure everyone will be happy. Complaints occur in every business, and while you can reduce the amount of complaints, it will be practically impossible to prevent them all. In order to ensure that they do not become a bigger issue for your salon, creating a smooth set of rules to deal with any complaints that do occur can help resolve them quickly.  

Whether the complaint was made online or in the salon, it is important to first ask the client not only what the issue is, but how it can be fixed. If a client is trying out a drastically new cut or colour, sometimes it won’t turn out how they expected. However, most of the time an offer of a redo or touch-up can solve the problem without it becoming too much of an issue for the salon. 

If you change your salon’s policies, such as introducing a deposit system, or if one of the products, you used to use becomes unavailable, you may face a few complaints from customers. If you do face complaints it is important to stay calm and follow any salon rules in place to find a satisfactory resolution. However, if you have made those changes for a good reason it is important to stick to your decision and explain why the change is happening. If your customers have been visiting you for a long time, most will not be too upset.  

Protecting Your Salon  

The vast majority of complaints you receive will be one-off incidents that will be easily dealt with by offering a redo and a smile. But if something goes drastically wrong, such as a customer developing an allergic reaction to a product, or an employee issue occurs, it is important to have had legal advice when setting up your salon rules and guidelines, as well as saving your documents and recording everything you have done to protect the salon (salon guidelines, risk management, contracts). Once something is written down and recorded it minimizes any potential misunderstandings that may occur.  

There are many helplines and websites offering advice for those setting up a salon or thinking about how to make sure they aren’t liable for any incidents. The NHF is particularly good when it comes to helping salons with employment contracts.  Other issues that can occur, such as allergic reactions to products, make it essential that all team members follow product guidelines to protect both the salon and your clients.  

Creating Salon Guidelines  

Complaints are upsetting for anyone, but are particularly hard to deal with for younger or junior stylists who haven’t been in the industry for long. Having your junior stylists come and get either you as the salon owner, or another senior stylist to resolve the issue is a great way to ensure any issues are dealt with quickly and professionally.  

Here are a few guidelines and rules you can consider including in your salon to deal with complaints:  

  • Tell all your junior stylists to fetch either you or a more experienced stylist if there is a complaint. Dealing with complaints can be hard for newcomers to the industry, and the client will probably be pleased that a more senior team member will be listening to their complaint and resolving the issue.  
  • Listen to the customer talk about any issues they have; their complaint may be valid or it may seem trivial, but often just the act of listening and acknowledging what they are saying can make the client feel better. Allowing the upset client to vent can also help them calm down.  
  • Acknowledge the problem; it may be that there has been a miscommunication in the salon, or the client may have felt that one of the stylists was dismissive.  
  • Ask what it is about the treatment and style that the client doesn’t like. If it is a quick fix, often the issue can be resolved then and there. If it is a change in colour or something more complex, booking in for a redo can ensure that the customer ends up satisfied with their cut and colour.  
  • Once the client has left the salon follow up with a call or video call to ensure that the client feels that the issue has been resolved.  
  • Remember to document the complaint, which stylist was serving the client that made the complaint and how it was resolved. If the same issue recurs or the same team member keeps being involved in complaints, it would be a good idea to try and resolve the issue.  


If your salon faces a complaint from a customer always ask your stylist’s story in order to figure out why the complaint has occurred. Unless the stylist in question is receiving a lot of complaints it is often a good idea to avoid getting angry, as if the complaint is an isolated incident it was probably a one-off. If a stylist has made a blunder, such as hair colour not turning out the way it should or another styling issue, offering a redo with a more senior stylist is often a good way to restore faith in your salon.  

Most of the time complaints occur when a customer asks for a new cut or colour and isn’t satisfied with the finished product. Often, these complaints occur due to a lacking consultation where the client misunderstands what the team member is trying to explain, such as how the dye colour will turn out. While the stylist may have explained the concept poorly, often the change is one that the customer requested, which can make it difficult to understand what went wrong.  

Complaints are often a learning opportunity for you and your staff. Think about what has gone wrong and how you can resolve the issue the next time it happens. Discuss with your team their thoughts on what has happened and how other similar complaints can be prevented.  

Online Complaints  

Online complaints can be harder to deal with as you cannot verify their veracity unless the client who posts the complaint includes their name. Asking the person who posted the complaint to get in touch over the phone or email so you can discuss any issues they had with their treatment can help you to resolve the issue and may turn a detractor into an advocator. As with an ordinary complaint, ask the team member who handled their treatment how it went and if they seemed unhappy when they left, so that you can find out what the possible issues could have been.  

If the person who posted the complaint doesn’t get back in touch then there may not be much you can do to resolve it. However, if you ask your customers to post reviews, the positive reviews on the site should outweigh any complaints that are posted.  

If you are interested in using the SalonIQ software in your salon, please contact us here. Our staff will be happy to discuss how the software can be adapted to fit your salon’s needs and requirements.  

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