A Chance to Make it Right
Customer experiences aren't always going to be five-star, but it's what you do with those imperfect experiences that matters.
Learning is a life-long process, especially when it comes to a specific skill or trade within a small business. No matter how knowledgeable or talented you are, there are often new advances to consider and areas for improvement. And during that process, there’s the chance that things may not go as smoothly as you expected, but it’s how you handle those hurdles that can make—or break—your business.
During Yelp reviewer Maegan C.’s first visit to Lush Nail Bar in Gilbert, Arizona, she was truly impressed and thought this would be her new go-to nail salon. They had just opened, and she said their service was unmatched.
“It was that customer obsession, if you will, where they're just really aiming for such a good experience, and it really carries through, and you can see that not just from the people at the front scheduling, but all the way to the nail techs in the back, really going out of their way to make sure that you have that good experience.”
That’s exactly the impression manager Joann strives for at Lush Nail Bar.
“The whole vibe that we're trying to do is light, airy, come in, enjoy your time, relax. That's the biggest key that we want. You're already spending money. So we want you to relax, enjoy everything.”
While Maegan’s visit to the nail salon was positive, she later noticed some small flaws in her new nails. She was hesitant to call the nail salon and point out the mistakes. No one really wants to be “that customer,” the one who complains and stirs things up.
She described, “I noticed, oh no. Oh no! And I started thinking, I just paid $75 for this set, not including the tip. I'm pretty sure they’ll be okay with this, right? I’m paying for quality nails, so I'm going to get a quality experience. Once I worked up the nerve and called in, they were super, super accommodating, very, very apologetic that I even had an issue.”
If Maegan hadn’t called Lush Nail Bar back, she might have just written the business off and never returned. That’s the last thing salon manager Joann wanted to happen. As a brand-new small business, she was busy working to build a reputation for the salon. Having less-than-perfect work is not something she wants associated with her salon.
“We treat others how we want to be respected and treated. If I were to go to another nail salon, I want my nails to be perfect as well. And if there are flaws—and there are, there's always flaws—we just want you to come back, feel comfortable. We're not going to treat you as if it's a burden on us. Because at the end of the day, we made the mistake.”
The salon’s co-owners and husband-and-wife team Long and Lonnie agree and know that the only way a business can grow and learn from mistakes is if the business is made aware when they happen. Long says, “The only way we learn from our mistakes is seeing what we did wrong, you know? So for Lonnie, she is always there like, ‘Hey, this is how you fix it.’ Pretty much constantly training each other—that way we can be better ourselves as a salon.”
When Maegan came in for her repairs, Lonnie used the experience as a learning opportunity for her nail technicians to explain new techniques and how they could do a better job next time.
Joann elaborated: “Everybody specializes in something. There are other techs that have weaker spots, and they're stronger in other spots. So in general, we try to teach each other and learn from each other at the same time while working.”
It was exactly this attitude and attention that encouraged Maegan to leave a glowing review on Yelp and become a regular customer: “I know when I go back to this salon in the future, if I ever have any issues again, it's not going to be hard for me to speak up because of how they've treated this whole situation with me.”
Check out these other key lessons from the episode:
- No one is perfect. Mistakes will be made. What sets exceptional businesses apart is how they choose to handle critical feedback.
- You can’t fix a problem unless you know about it. Ask for feedback from both your customers and staff. This gives you insight into potential issues and an opportunity to make things right.
- Show appreciation with your customers. Telling your customer how much you appreciate and value their feedback goes a long way and can earn you repeat business.
- Engagement is key. As a new business, it’s crucial to establish your online presence and stay in touch with new and existing customers.
Listen to the episode below to hear from Maegan, Joann, and Long, and subscribe to Behind the Review for more from new business owners and reviewers every Thursday.
As Yelp’s Senior Field Marketing Manager and Small Business Expert, Emily is responsible for building a thriving network of local business owners, operators and marketers through education and networking events (now, exclusively virtual). She hosts events and webinars to provide business owners with resources that help them succeed and grow in the world of online reviews. Emily’s expertise lies in customer engagement, reputation management and all things digital marketing. Her knowledge encompasses countless industries and through thought leadership and speaking engagements, she’s able to share insights that business owners of all kinds can leverage for the future of their business.
Emily is also host of Behind the Review, a podcast from Yelp and Entrepreneur Media that features conversations with business owners and reviewers about their experiences—whether positive or negative —giving listeners behind-the-scenes insights and real life learnings.