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6 ways to earn more positive salon and spa reviews

Explore insight on collecting salon and spa client feedback and a how-to guide for dealing with negative reviews.

6 ways to earn more positive salon and spa reviews
Emily Holzer
By Emily Holzer

Content Marketing Manager

Reviews are unquestionably crucial to local business performance — especially for salons and spas. We have compiled a list of our best tips for earning more positive reviews and a quick crash course in managing negative ones.

1) Fostering customer connection through review-worthy experiences

The most foundational way to ensure positive reviews is by creating an experience clients will be excited to share. You can elevate your space, create new experiences with add-ons and upgrades, add a personal touch to every appointment, and the list goes on. There are countless ways to do this, and each business has its own spin on the perfect experience.

For example, in a recent interview, Brett Foreman of Pony Studios Co. discussed how the business proudly maintains a culture of ongoing education. Stylists are given a safe space to practice and perfect new techniques under expert guidance — effectively preparing them for almost anything an appointment might throw their way. This thorough practice is reflected in their impressive selection of 5-star reviews.

While you cannot prepare for every mishap, their fierce leadership, training, and guidance seem to set customer satisfaction up for success.

With the right tech on your side, you can also help prevent disconnects. For example, ensure seamless online booking to minimize customer frustrations. Check-in features, like the Virtual Waiting Room, can limit the time your clients spend waiting in your lobby. Such software tools can help alleviate extra work for your business while improving the client’s overall impression.

By offering exceptional services and an elevated customer experience, clients will be excited to spread the word about your business.

2) Setting up your business for positive reviews

When upset customers need an outlet to express their concerns, they often turn to public review platforms. In some cases, it is the only way they feel heard.

While it might seem counterintuitive, opening the door to criticism can help limit negative reviews. For example, you may consider these outlets:

  • Train your receptionist to ask for honest feedback after every appointment. Clients might feel uncomfortable offering criticism to their stylists directly. Closing out with a different salon staff member can unlock more honest discussions.

  • Leave a feedback or suggestion box at your front desk. While these systems are outdated, they can help customers express their frustrations and allow you to contact the client directly after noticing them leaving a note.

  • Set up a support email address and encourage disgruntled customers to send details about incidents.

These outlets can help disgruntled clients communicate their concerns on a private platform — leaving you room to provide clarity, correct any oversights, or offer solutions before clients feel the need to air grievances in public reviews.

3) Automated review outreach

Salons are too busy to request reviews manually, and many clients are too busy to seek out review platforms. This disconnect can prevent businesses from accessing valuable customer feedback.

Instead, it is essential you automate your review collection process. After every appointment, your salon or spa management software should send a follow-up message requesting a review. Here is a how-to guide for automatically collecting reviews.

4) Making reviews easy for customers

While happy customers are often eager to leave you a review, it is vital you make this process as streamlined as possible for them.

For example, rather than simply sending customers to Google’s review platform, send them directly to your review tab. (Here is a quick guide from Google on finding your review link.) Additionally, ensure you have claimed and optimized the page to make it easy to find for those without the link. These same principles apply to Yelp, Facebook, and other review platforms.

Otherwise, you risk clients getting distracted and quickly forgetting the review. The easier you make this process, the more likely they are to leave feedback.

5) Incentives for reviews: The dos and don’ts

Review incentives can be both powerful and controversial. Ensure you understand the rules and implications before launching any incentive programs.

On the one hand, offering a small review incentive can remind clients that you’re on their side and willing to repay them for the time this small favor requires.

For context, by the time they get a review request from you, clients have already paid your business and left a (potentially generous) tip. Writing a review is a more time-consuming extra step for them to complete.

While many will happily comply (especially if they are still riding on the high of a new hairstyle), others might appreciate this token of gratitude.

On the other hand, critics suggest review incentives lead to dishonest feedback that corrupts the value and intention of these platforms. Some businesses (like Google) restrict incentivized reviews, while others may require you to disclose the incentive.

However, some businesses leverage one loophole that is available on most platforms. While monetary discounts or freebies are limited, social incentives seem to sidestep these restrictions. For example, “For every new customer review, we will give Tom, our beloved salon cat, a treat.” You might also discuss the benefits these reviews have on your staff or small business as a whole.

6) Get your staff in on the fun

Consider training your staff members to request a review after each successful service.

As mentioned above, incentivizing customers to leave a review can be a powerful — though somewhat — limited approach. However, there are no policies against incentivizing your staff to earn positive client reviews.

For example, you may consider a small commission incentive for each 5-star review tied to their appointments. This program will bring more feedback and reward providers for going above and beyond in their services.

What to do about bad online reviews

You might wonder, “What about the bad reviews?” We can offer some industry best practices that salon and spa professionals might find helpful. So, here is a 5-step guide to dealing with negative customer reviews.

Step 1: Look for review violations and file a report

Generally speaking, you cannot get genuine reviews removed from platforms like Google Business Profile. However, there are a few exceptions.

If you feel the review is genuinely off base, start by reporting it to Google for assessment. While it might feel hopeless, Google’s experts reportedly removed 170+ million policy-violating reviews in 2023 alone. Policy violations include:

  • Fake feedback. Reviews must be left by real customers reflecting an authentic experience. Unfortunately, this one can be hard to prove due to the anonymity of many review platforms. Still, it is worth reporting if you suspect a competitor or disgruntled former employee left a review.

  • Harassment, foul language, and hate speech are prohibited.

  • The content must be relevant. Social and political reviews, for example, are considered off-topic and subject to removal (such as a poor review relating to your business’s pride flags).

  • Reviews cannot include personal information. While first-name mentions are okay, including last names, personal phone numbers, email addresses, and other details are restricted.

You can view the complete list of Google review violations here. If your violation gets rejected, review the reasoning and resubmit if you think it might fall within a different category.

Step 2: Detach from the review

Getting a bad review can be incredibly stressful.

For many salon and spa owners, it feels like a personal attack. While you might be tempted to fire off a quick reply, it is essential you first take a minute to detach. Harsh, emotional, or angry responses will only affirm the negative sentiment the reviewer is conveying.

Some helpful reminders:

  • Don’t panic. One bad review will not destroy your business. In fact, studies show that customers with a mix of reviews can be seen as more authentic, while perfect ratings can evoke skepticism.

  • You’re not alone. The exact same thing happens to countless salon and spa owners every day. Almost all your competitors are bound to have a negative review as well. Exploring how common these reviews are can make them feel less dire.

  • It’s not about you. While these reviews can leave a mark, they are often not personal. In most cases, the review has more to do with a customer’s bad mood than your business. (Other customers reading bad reviews know this, too.)

  • Turn to your support system. If it feels like you have nowhere to turn, tap into your supporters (like friends, family members, and online communities of other business owners). You have people on your side who you can turn to for insight and help.

Step 3: Learn from the feedback

A one-off poor review could come from a disgruntled or unreasonable customer who might be having a bad day. Don’t give the review more power than it deserves, but don’t ignore it entirely.

Try to look through a curious lens and explore what led to the customer’s frustration. Was it a one-off problem that couldn’t be helped (like a power outage or staff emergency)? Do your best not to let the review get to you in these cases.

Other times, poor reviews can give you points of improvement you might consider in the future. If you receive multiple critical reviews about the same problem, employee, or process, it could be worth taking action.

Step 4: Respond to the client

Once you have had a chance to detach from the review and understand the situation, consider writing out a professional reply to the customer. Here are some tips for writing your response:

  • Taking the high road can show readers that this review is not a reflection on your business. Kind replies may even encourage the reviewer to reconsider their rating.

  • You may consider explaining any misunderstandings, unordinary circumstances that led to the poor experience, or how your business is planning to prevent future issues. This will give future readers context and reassurance.

  • Consider offering a resolution in your reply. You might simply request a call back to discuss the issue and potential solutions. Or, you may suggest something more concrete, like, “Let’s get you scheduled for a free repair to the damaged nail.”

Studies show that 89% of audiences will read a business’s response to reviews, and customers are willing to spend more money at businesses that reply to clients. This practice shows that your business cares and lets you take control of the narrative around complaints.

Myth: Replying to a negative review can open the door for a “back-and-forth” argument. On Google, customers cannot reply to your response; they can only edit their original post to include more details.

Step 5: Mobilize your community

If you cannot remove a review, you can flush it out with additional feedback from your other loyal clients. Take a moment to mobilize your community and encourage your supporters to leave a review. You might take a moment to include your review links in your next email marketing campaign.

Mangomint salon and spa software

Mangomint can help encourage positive reviews by improving your customer experience — from seamless online booking to a Virtual Waiting Room, client self-checkout, and so much more. You can schedule a live demo or launch a free trial to experience the power of Mangomint today.

Emily Holzer
Emily Holzer is a Content Marketing Manager at Mangomint. She has a master’s degree in English and a passion for helping salons, spas, and other local beauty businesses thrive. When she is not writing, you can find her playing chess or tending to her houseplants. Fun fact: Emily has donated 8 ponytails (so far) across 5 hair loss charities in the U.S.

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