When you run your own spa or massage practice, you soon realize, try as hard as you can, “you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” Let’s face it, some clients are never satisfied – and you probably have learned to spot them and suggest they try another provider. However, even reasonable clients – long term or new - are going to have their days when they find fault with something or someone on your team. These are the people you want to pay attention to. Their complaints should matter to you and may make you aware of a problem you shrugged off or failed to recognize.

Help Scout, a help desk software company, makes some very interesting points about customer complaints in its blog post on 15 Tips for Successfully Handling Customer Complaints. For starters, Help Scout points out that effectively handling customer complaints is a key part of the customer service you deliver. The company goes on to offer what I think are three really excellent recommendations:

  • Give credence to each customer

    In today’s socially connected world, one customer is a potential connection to hundreds more. Keep that in mind as you deal with a complaint from a client about anything from a spa treatment to a retail product that didn’t meet expectations.

  • Remember that complaints contain insight

    View customer complaints as a learning experience. It may help you improve things or change the way you are doing something. It may even help your team be more effective in their customer service.

  • Record and organize meaningful complaints

    If several clients complain about the same thing, chances are there’s a need for a change. Come up with a system to capture input – whether it’s in a software program or a spreadsheet or even a notebook. Track complaints to identify patterns.

When it comes to actually dealing with the complaint, whether online, in person or over the phone, keep these steps in mind:

  • Pay attention

    Listen to your client’s complaint. Try to put yourself in the client’s shoes. Once you hear them out, you can decide if the complaint is reasonable or not and how you want to proceed, but give them the courtesy of letting them speak their piece.

  • Put yourself in their shoes

    Don’t view a customer complaint as them versus us. Try to put yourself in your clients’ shoes and look at the situation as if the issue was yours. Clients will appreciate your understanding.

  • Resolve the problem

    Seek to resolve the problem. Offer some suggestion even if you can’t completely accommodate a client’s request.

  • Follow-up

    Check in with your client soon after to make sure they feel good about the resolution and your spa or massage business. Following up can be as meaningful as the resolution you offer.

Most issues can be resolved. It’s just having the right attitude about dealing with them.We’d love to hear how you solved a particular client complaint and what you learned.