Have you ever had that dreaded phone call from a client who, after a day or two, feels they have had a product or treatment reaction?
Or, a therapist on staff rushes to you in total panic saying “please help” as the clients face has become completely red and swollen during the treatment, and they have no idea what to do.
First, I want to let you know that how you react to the situation will determine the outcome, whether you’re the manager, therapist, owner or receptionist.
So, let’s start with some DO’s and DON’T’s
- Panic and get flustered
- Cry. I’m begging you, please don’t cry
- Apologize continuously
- Disagree with the client, even if you can see there is no reaction
- Tell other clients about the incident to try and get support
- Rush to give free products or treatments to make amends
- Remain totally calm and in control
- Call for back up if the client is getting hysterical
- Offer the client a solution
- Sympathize and empathize with the client
- Have an instant calming mask or solution to apply should this happen.
- Keep in touch with your client daily until the problem is resolved
- Get your brand partner involved to help you if the reaction is product related
- Have a comprehensive and signed consultation form (this will be your savior)
- Have a “reaction” form for the client to complete.
- Investigate and perform patch testing. This is IMPERATIVE
- Take photos of the skin or ask for photos of the skin as soon as the reaction is reported
The very first thing you need to determine is whether the reaction or allergy is real or whether it’s a strategy to get free products, a free treatment or whether it’s a response to buyer’s remorse. However, regardless of the reason, you need to follow a set protocol when it comes to dealing with allergy/reaction claims. We will include an excellent FREE downloadable standard operating procedure (SOP) in next weeks newsletter. It will include step by step instructions to handle this type of scenario, so look out for it.
Also, a reminder that a carefully completed consultation form and in-depth skin analysis prior to treatment, will in all likelihood eliminate any reactions. This is true because you will understand your client, their lifestyle and their skin much better, allowing you to make the right decisions for their treatment. Consultation is non-negotiable.
Remember to remain calm and totally in control. Here’s a great tip, lowering your voice helps with this. If your client starts to raise his or her voice, simply say, “please give me a minute, I am going to call my manager/colleague to assist me”, then get appropriate support from your superior or simply a colleague if you are the superior on staff. It is important to use the words “we will find a solution to this” as this gives the client reassurance that you are not going to forget her/him after they leave to go home, but that you are genuinely interested in helping them. I want to make a VERY IMPORTANT point now…… how you deal with your client will determine if you get a client for life or if you get a bad referral. I have countless examples of complaint clients turned into long term faithful clients simply because of the way the complaints were dealt with. People want to feel that they are heard, it’s that simple, and they want help to fix their problems. So, find a solution and tell your client you are going to OWN their problem and that you won’t rest till you have solved it.
Whether you like it or not, reactions will happen to you at some point or another. The skin is a unique organ and differs vastly from person to person, so you can never be 100% sure that you won’t experience a reaction. What you should however be sure of is that you always have something on hand to apply, right there and then, to calm the skin down. Most product houses have an instant calming mask or similar solution to apply to the skin. It would also be advisable to have a general antihistamine on hand (ask your doctor which would be best suited to skin reactions also ensure it will reduce the reaction without side effects). At the very least, offer the client the mask application right there and then as well as the antihistamine. Ensure your client feels loved and cared for by playing calming music whilst applying the mask and then provide a relaxing scalp, hand or foot massage whilst the mask gets to work. I’d be very surprised if your client doesn’t calm down after this.
You absolutely and immediately must have a SKIN REACTION FORM on hand to complete so that you can investigate and appropriately report back to your brand partner in the instance that it’s a product related issue. They will need as much information as you can give them. Clear pictures of the skin will be essential and most times a client will not mind you taking pictures in order to help them, especially if the reaction is real.
Your client must go home with a clear plan of action and very clearly defined next steps. Keep in touch with them daily until the problem is solved. Ensure you send the client a formal, written solution or outcome to their reaction so they understand the steps you took to help them and how the incident was resolved. Please don’t skip this step, as this shows you followed protocol from beginning to end. A note of caution, if you call your client the next day and they say their skin is perfect, the reaction has self-resolved and there is no need for further action, do not leave it at that. Instead, say this: “I’m so pleased to hear that, I will send you a report outlining the steps taken yesterday, resulting in your skin settling quickly. Is that acceptable to you?” Now, ensure you confirm when you are seeing your client again. The quicker you get them back to the salon the better. Call them again two or three days later simply to check up that their skin is still doing great.
I could write about this for weeks as I’m passionate about making sure that a complaint client is turned into a huge spender, so please be sure to adopt and share my passion and let’s focus on boosting our revenue at all times, even with complaint clients
Be sure to read next week newsletter for some great FREE downloadable resources to close the loop on this important topic.