I hate bullies. Yes, hate is a strong word, but very apt in this situation. The other day I was getting ready for a trip, which included getting my nails and eyebrows done. As I was sitting in the chair for my eyebrows, the business owner received a phone call. Was I listening to her side of the conversation – 100%. I must tell you; it was a pretty compelling conversation.

The call was from a customer who had come in earlier in the day and was now calling back to complain.

I was so impressed with the owner. She owns 6 salons and was very well spoken and clear in her communication and interactions with this customer. If she wasn’t the owner, I would have definitely offered her a job. Handling upset customers is an art form, and the owner handled herself extremely well.

The owner began by outlining the timeline of events from when the customer had been in the salon earlier in the day. The customer had come into the salon without an appointment and had therefore been a walk-in service. The customer did not advise the owner prior to sitting in the treatment chair, the slew of services that she wanted completed. The owner clearly communicated at that time, that as there was a line of people currently waiting for services, she would not be able to provide all of the requested services for this customer in one sitting. The owner did advise that if the customer was willing to wait 10 minutes, to enable her to get through the line of people already waiting for services, then she could accommodate the customer’s service requests. It was quite clear that the customer had come in and asked for services that required an appointment and was upset when the owner, whom she probably didn’t realize was the owner, did not bow down.

The owner went on to reiterate, that the customer said she did not want to wait, as she was in a hurry. The owner asked the customer to confirm if that was accurate. The customer must have agreed, as the owner then continued to outline the services that were provided to the customer. The owner was calm and collected throughout the entire conversation. The owner continued to explain that everyone was experiencing staffing shortages and as a result, only cleanups were offered as a walk-in service. The owner advised that they ask for patience from all of their clients, and that she had offered to provide the requested services, if the customer had been willing to wait 10 min. The owner advised the customer that she knew exactly how much time was required for each of the customer’s requested services, as she had 16 years of experience and owned 6 establishments.

The customer did not give up and went on to threaten the owner with a negative google review. Now, I’m not quite sure what the customer was looking to accomplish with her call. If she had simply wanted to rant, then mission accomplished. But it seemed like she was having a tantrum. She had wanted a service, and how DARE the establishment not give it to her. The owner responded that the customer was welcome to post, and to be aware that the owner would respond in kind. The owner stated that she did not give in to bullies. The owner told the customer that she was grateful that she had been the one to provide services for the customer, or else the customer’s call could have impacted another employee’s livelihood.

The customer did not end her rant there. Once the owner realized that there was not going to be any resolution coming from this call, she responded with, “I need you to understand, we do not allow people that are unkind in our establishment. We show respect and expect it in return. You are being a bully, and I would like you to know that you are no longer welcome in our establishment. My employees and I deserve better.” MIC DROP.

GREAT JOB!! I was extremely impressed with the owner. As a young businesswoman, in a town filled with “Desperate Housewives,” it is easy to become the brunt of peoples’ angst. The owner was clear in her communication, walked through the events, communicated her “why,” listened to the customer, asked clarifying questions, and did not cave to pressure. She was a smart, articulate, and savvy businesswomen.

As I finished with my own service and walked over to pay, the owner apologized to me for having to hear that altercation. I told her not to worry, that I too owned a business and can understand.

You see, there are people out there that use Google to vent. These people go online to hide behind a computer and spew their stories, without any accountability for whether that story is true or not. It’s a sad statistic, but people are far more likely to share negative experience reviews, than they are positive experience reviews. What does that say about us and society? That we like to vent when we are angry, but don’t take the time to appreciate the good?

Too often online reviews have now become a tool to hurt businesses. The next time you have a negative experience, communicate effectively with the establishment and reach out to a leader to have a conversation. Don’t go online and write a review that could impact someone’s job or livelihood. I for one, will always take everything I read online with a grain of salt, and in this instance, a whole heaping spoonful.

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