Complaining is never a nice thing to do but there is a right and wrong way to go about doing it. What is the best way to complain in the beauty industry? Is there even such a thing?
At least once in your life you have gone to a professional to make you look and feel your absolute best and you haven’t been happy with the result. Your hair didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, there was one nail that was shaped differently to the others, your smokey eye had a little too much smoke or there were a few escapees during your bikini wax.
It is always awkward when you have to speak up or complain in the beauty industry because you never want to be ‘that client.’ Especially if the rest of your cosmetic future is in their hands. At the end of the day you need to remember that you are paying for a professional service and the professional should remember that the client is always right.
One thing to remember though, especially if you are discussing your experience with other people is that maybe the professional didn’t do a bad job, they just didn’t quite understand what it was you were looking for or you both had different expectations. Each beauty professional has their own style and as much as they should be versatile enough to create any look, sometimes your style and their style just don’t ‘fit’, think of it like you don’t speak the same language. Don’t get me wrong, some mistakes are inexcusable in standard services like waxing or applying a gel polish. These are the basics and any professional should have these down in their respective fields before practising.
So, as a makeup artist and beauty salon owner, I have decided to give a few recommendations on how to deal with these super awkward circumstances. Remember that you need to make this as pleasant and easy for you as it is for the person on the receiving end of the complaint.
Don’t end up in the awkward situation
Easier said than done, right? But if you do your research – speak to previous clients, read reviews or ask to see a portfolio, you will be able to gauge what style the professional has, the quality of their services and you can set your expectations appropriately.
Another way to avoid being in this situation is to ensure you articulate exactly what it is you want. Show the professional pictures of what you are looking for – obviously, this wouldn’t apply to a bikini wax or something (gross, please don’t show them pictures) but you can communicate any skin conditions you may have or sensitive areas. This way, if they do hurt you then you have grounds to complain.
Timing is everything
If you are unhappy with the quality of service you received, don’t leave it for a week before you say something. In that period, you may have hit your nail on something, over-tweezed your eyebrows or accidentally pulled out your eyelash extension. Some professions may not be willing to help you because they could attribute the mistake to a similar reason instead of accepting that they are to blame. Your safe window is about 1 day after you’ve had the treatment. Obviously, if it’s your wedding day and your makeup leaves you looking like the ‘leave Britney alone’ guy then your kind of need to speak up fast. You can’t wait for the pictures to come out and decide you want a refund.
Establish a reputation the practice
You’re probably thinking ‘establish a reputation? This isn’t a business proposal!’ Bear with me, I do have some logic behind this statement… If you are that client that comes in, smiles and greets everyone and is always pleasant, your complaint will be far more welcomed than someone who has a reputation of throwing demands around and moaning about everything.
Think of the people in your personal life, you probably have more time to help the people that have a positive outlook, are always there for you and hardly complain versus the constant Debbie-downer
Imagine you were an artist that had spent months on (what you thought) was a work of art and some random walked in and told you it was trash. How would you feel? Consider the fact that the person providing you the service has used their skills, time and expertise (we hope) to create a look for you. Instead of just shooting it down and becoming hostile, politely explain how you feel about the work that was done and what your expectations were.
Consider how you are going to make the other person feel before bringing them down. Try offer them constructive criticism and always keep in mind that you are setting a precedent for their mood the rest of their day. You may ruin their day and their next client may have an even worse experience. Consider the ripple effect your actions and words could have.
Accept the apology and move on
If you are in the industry, then you know that there are always those clients looking to gain a free treatment or get their money back. If you are the client – don’t be that guy! If a salon apologises and doesn’t offer any other sort of compensation, accept the apology and don’t push your luck – they may not be able to afford to give you a refund or free treatment. If they offer you a free treatment or refund, humbly accept it and move on. Don’t try get more than what they are offering you, you will only create a reputation for yourself and make it unpleasant for everyone
Being unhappy with a level of service or result is an inevitable part of life. We are constantly interacting with people that have different perceptions, styles and communication skills. I believe that if we all learn how to appropriately deal with poor results and aim to build people up versus bringing them down, the amount of poor results will decrease.
What has been your most awkward experience as a client? Or even as the professional?