how to deal with negative reviews & refund requests | hairstylists business tips
Hands up if you've ever had a negative review or someone ask for a refund. Hey, welcome to my YouTube channel. I'm so excited that you're here because after today's video you're going to know exactly how to deal with that refund request that shouldn't be asking for a refund, those negative reviews that you're nervous about getting and how to avoid them. Or maybe you've already gotten. So this video you are going to want to watch all the way through to the end to make sure you get all the steps because you are not going to believe how helpful this is, how much this has helped some of my students. So let's get right into it.
*INTRO: I'm a big deal and I can do hard things* What's up? Welcome to my YouTube channel I'm so excited to be diving into this topic today because we all have had those refund requests or the fear of a negative review or maybe you've already had a negative review. And so I'm going to show you exactly how to deal with them today so that you don't stress out about it at all. Ever. Anymore. Or in the future. After watching this video you won't even break a sweat if a refund request comes in or a negative review.
The first time I got a negative review I completely spiralled. I was stress sweating, I was freaking out, I was thinking I should probably quit the industry like "oh my gosh, I'm no good." I made it all about me. I made it all about my worth. I thought I was no good and clearly my business was going to crumble because everyone in the universe was going to see this review. Same with when I started getting refund requests.
Now I haven't had a ton, but I've had enough over the last 20 years in the industry. And so if you're a student, a hairstylist or a salon owner you are in the right place 'cause we are going to work through this today and it's going to be so good. So I've learned a lot about how not to deal with this and how to deal with this. And I just want to let you know that I didn't get like, this gift of how to deal with these things. I've learned through completely messing them up in the beginning. So, if you're new here, I'm Dawn Bradley, I'm so excited that you're here and we're going to have some fun today.
Over the last few years I've talked a lot about this with my students inside of my paid programs. Negative reviews, fear of getting a negative review if you stand up for yourself and refund requests. And so, I knew that this needed to be a free resource for our whole industry. So I'm pulling this out of my paid programs, I'm doing this for you today because I'm so excited for you to know the 6 must-know steps to dealing with a negative review or a refund request that won't even have you breaking a sweat moving forward.
Step #1: can you tell I'm excited? Who ever gets this excited about refund requests or negative reviews? Me. I guess. Dawn.
Um, because I'm so excited to give you the freedom that this is going to give you. I can't tell you how many times I've gotten texts from friends in the industry being like "oh my gosh, Dawn, what do I do?" and it's so frustrating. And so step #1 is actually just feel all the feelings.
So often we try to push it aside and figure out how to do we fix this and we ignore our emotions and our feelings. You're allowed to feel frustrated, you're allowed to be upset. You're allowed to feel all that's going on.
I want you to feel it and really feel it. Sit with it and the one thing that I teach my students to do is to write out exactly what you wish you could reply back. So I want you to think about what could you- what do you wish you could say back to this person? To this negative review, to this refund request. Get it all out.
The nastiest of the nasties. Because we need to release that and when we don't oftentimes we get kind of passive aggressive with our responses or in our dealings with things. And I'll tell you, I know how to be passive aggressive.
Oftentimes it comes second nature to us humans. We want to make sure that the people know we're annoyed, but we wanna cover it up so that if they call us out on it we can be like "I don't know what you're talking about." *chuckles* does that sound familiar? That's a hard one to admit.
But feel all your feelings first. Get it all out. If you need to journal, if you need to vent to a friend, whatever it is. Just get it out and like say all the things and, actually this is a conversation that Nick and I had once cause one time I was frustrated about something and venting to him and he kinda was like, he wasn't responding the way I wanted him to be like telling me that this person was annoying and they were being bad and he was just like "okay" and I was like "I just need to text one of my girlfriends" and he was like "why" and I was like "because they'll get me and they'll have my back." and so knowing that venting - for me it's
like venting to a friend that'll know that I'm just venting to get it out there and they'll back me up and they'll be like, "oh yeah, I can't believe that too!" And kinda just have that banter to get the emotions and all the things out. Because if we don't process that we can't move forward in a mature, kind, compassionate way. So, I want you to step #1 just feel all the feelings. Step #2: is know the facts.
Now, because we're such emotional beings that's why I want you to feel the feelings. Oftentimes we react emotionally. And even when we're thinking about the facts we're still thinking with emotions or we're still responding to situations with emotions and so when you know the facts and that's why, write them down, put them in a note in your phone or have them concretely there. What happened, what's being said, what was the situation, what are they saying happened, what are they asking for. Know the facts without any adjectives or emotions involved. So you want to like, pull the emotion out.
And now sometimes when you pull the emotion out it almost feels like abrupt or rude, right? And that's where a lot of stuff that we're going to get into *distracted by fly* what the heck? So knowing the facts and staying factual is really important. Now you might be thinking, "Well Dawn, facts can seem so cold and hard". Well we're not into responding to them yet and dealing with them yet.
But I want you to feel all the feelings, get them out, flush them out, whatever you need to do. And then I want you to sit down and write down the facts. Like why is this person asking? Like they booked in, they came in, they asked for this hair, I told them that they couldn't have this hair, but I could do something similar, they left happy, now they're asking for a refund 'cause they didn't get the hair that I told them I couldn't give them. Maybe that's the scenario, right? Lots of times we get refund requests for things that aren't warranted and need to figure out a way to deal with them. Or why is this person like this negative review, what are the facts? Well they came in, they said they were happy, nothing happened and now they're leaving an angry review. Or, you know, there's so many different scenarios that I could come up with.
But I want you to write down the facts. The facts are so important. And then we're going to get into step #3 where it's not so cold and hard anymore. So feel all the feelings, flush it out, step 2, know the facts. Step 3: and this might be the hardest one, is drop the ego.
*uncomfortable noises* Now I'm saying this to myself just as much as I'm saying it to you. This is the probably hardest of all 6 steps when dealing with it. So feel all the feelings, get it out, that one feels really good, just like, ripping into the person - obviously you're not actually ripping into the person, you're pretending, you're having a scenario. Pro tip for step #1 by the way, is do not like, write it down as if you're replying to them in a DM or on the negative review or on the email because if you accidentally press send that is not a good thing. But you know, it feels really good to get that out there. And then writing down the facts, just getting level headed with yourself because we're so emotional and #3 is probably the most uncomfortable, like I said, checking your ego.
Now, we want to do everything in business with kindness, compassion and empathy. Showing our clients we're not doing something to them or at them but we're doing it for them. Now if you've been around here awhile you've probably heard me say that phrase before and if not, you're going to hear that a lot more in the future. But this is so important, now you can stand your ground, you can have boundaries, you can say no to a refund request, you can disagree with someone's negative review but it doesn't mean we push back and say "you're wrong" that's where we gotta check the ego. How can we as a business owner stay true to what our values are, stay true to how we're going to operate our business but still have kindness, compassion and empathy when dealing with these really hard situations.
And I gotta tell you, the ego part for me was so hard. I didn't think I had an ego. I thought I was just learning to be confident.
No word of a lie. And when I realized that I actually was so insecure that this confidence that I was putting on was actually ego. The ego was inflated and I was like "who do you think you are asking for a refund, I'm Dawn Bradley, bitch" *laughs* Right? That's how I used to be. And it was actually coming from a place of intense insecurity. I was so scared that they were, you know, the negative review or the refund request was telling me that I'm no good that I put on this front of like "What? No? That's me. I know what I'm doing."
And so, learning to have that humility and that- being able to be humble and go "you know what, I'm not a perfect human being. Did I- you know, I believe the situation unfolded this way but-" you know, and this isn't even when you're dealing with them yet, this is when you're kinda sitting there collecting all your thoughts and going "what role did I play and did I play a role in this?" Because I'm not saying you necessarily you did, but could you have? There's been times where I've had to get really honest with myself and go, you know what, this one point that they make it's right and it's so hard. And that's where dropping the ego, having that humility, can play a really big part.
And I'm just curious like, have you- do you think that'll probably be the hardest part for you? I think a lot of the times where this ego thing came for me was just not knowing what to say or how to deal with it. I didn't have the words and I was nervous about coming across the wrong way so I kinda was like "no, what are you talking about" I got like - I put up this wall and I put on this fake confidence cause like I didn't know how to find a middle ground with my clients. Or how to navigate through these uncharted territories so I made it about them. It was their issue, not my issue, I'm fine, I'm good, thank you very much. Cause I didn't know how to deal with it.
And I'm curious, have you ever been in a situation with a client, maybe they're, you know, asking for a refund, they're not happy with their hair, they're threatening to leave a negative review, they've left a negative review and you've just been like, "I don't know what to say." Let me know in the comments, I'm super curious. Like I don't think I'm the only one, but let me know. Because I know in the last 20 years there's been a lot of scenarios and as I've grown, especially in the last 11 years of being self employed it's gotten a lot easier. I've learned the words to say. That's one of my favourite things to share with you, is the words to say and how to do it and infuse that kindness, compassion and empathy.
Showing your clients you're not doing something to them or at them but you're doing it for them. So, let me know in the comments do you feel at a loss for words or just don't know the words to say and so sometimes you just don't know how to deal. Okay, step #4, this might be my favourite one, is take it offline. So many times, especially when it comes to negative reviews. You'll be like "this person left fine and happy and now I'm so confused like they just left me a nasty review like what the heck". Take it offline.
You don't need to have a back and forth with the people online. And I want to tell you like, this is the most important piece. When I'm looking at reviews of a business and I wanna let you know, like, when I see a business that only has 5-star reviews I'm kinda suspicious. That's why having a negative review isn't necessarily a bad thing, it can be a beautiful gift and I'll share that with you a little bit later on in the video, so stick around for that because a bad review can actually be really good for your business and I'm going to show you why. But when I go and look at businesses reviews I don't wanna see just 5-stars, I wanna see how they deal with situations that come up because we're human, right? And we can't make everyone happy and we're going to make mistakes. And so, by having, like you don't wanna get, you don't wanna get into things in an online forum, you wanna take it offline.
And so when you see a company saying like "thank you so much for bringing this to our attention, we're so sorry to hear this is your experience, please get in touch here." Now, oftentimes, people who leave those nasty reviews that didn't ever call you, didn't ever let you know face-to-face, they don't have the guts to actually have the conversation. Which is super frustrating that they leave the negative review, right? But as you'll see in step #6 this is still really good and important, this bad review can be a good thing. Same with refund requests, is take it offline. If they're DMing you, if they're texting you, don't get back - and I know we live in a world that's all digital and we don't talk to each other anymore, but pick up the phone, take it offline.
Tell them to call you, tell them you're happy to deal with it over the phone or via email but do not get stuck in a DM or text battle with people or in the comment section of the reviews. It gets messy. You can't understand someone's tone, things are misinterpreted, you can't understand each other. When you can actually see each other face-to-face or over the phone is the best possible thing. So step #4 is take it offline as quickly as possible. Respond to them with kindness, compassion and empathy, showing them you're not doing something to them or at them but you're doing it for them.
So once again like I said "we're so sorry to hear- I'm so sorry to hear this is your experience that's the last thing I want for you, please get in touch with me here" and how, via phone number, via email and I'm happy to make things right with you. I'm happy to discuss this further. That way you're getting it offline and you can have that conversation with them and you're getting it off one the public forum or 2) it's not going to be confusing with tone of voice or misperceived things.
I can't tell you how many times I've had a text convo - not even about refund requests or negative reviews - just with somebody and we've walked away with like completely different experience. And I'm like "oh I thought you were mad at me" "wait I thought you were mad at me" "no I wasn't mad at you" and like, not reading things thoroughly, so taking everything offline would be great but especially when it comes to these sensitive subjects of refund reviews or - refund requests or negative reviews. Okay, #5: ask them what they feel would be fair. This is my secret weapon to dealing with these things because a lot of the times we overcompensate.
So, true story, if you haven't heard my story about when I fried someone's hair off, you should - I believe that's on my podcast, you can listen to it on my podcast, if you're watching this to YouTube, maybe you're listening to this on the podcast, um my 101 episode was when I melted someone's hair off. So, I actually melted someone's hair off, within 10 minutes it was like I was standing in front of fire, it was crackling, it was so bizarre. And I actually overcompensated because I was freaking out.
And so, she wasn't even asking for a refund at this point but I just went like, over the top. Instead of asking saying "what would you feel is fair in this situation? What should we do moving forward?" This is completely unexpected scenario. So when someone's asking for a refund, when someone's leaving a negative review and saying like "I had this horrible experience at your salon" or "this" you can happily take it offline first and then when communicating to them with kindness, compassion and empathy saying "what would you feel is fair?" Because the real cool thing that I've learned is sometimes we try to guess what they'd want and we try to give them a bunch of products, give them a free service, when maybe that's not what they want at all. Maybe they - oftentimes they want less than what we're willing to offer. Because we just go to this hyper like overcompensate mode of making things right, making them feel better.
But if we overcompensate with the wrong thing we're still not making them happy. And so asking them what they would feel is fair in a scenario is really really helpful. And now I fired a client once she was not wanting to pay the late cancellation fee. She didn't show up for her appointment, she didn't give adequate notice and she didn't pay the fee. And so I just asked her "what would you feel is fair?" And her response then was "I think I shouldn't have to pay" and it gave me the choice to either let her get away with- I don't want to say get away with it.
Let her not pay, or, what I did, I can't chase her for the payment. But I said "hey, I'm happy to honor what you feel is fair, but moving forward this is where our relationship ends." And so I didn't get the money from her and I lost a client but I wasn't going to let the behaviour continue. So that's kinda like a boundaries, she wasn't asking for a refund but she was refusing to pay the cancellation policy. But when you ask someone "what would you feel is fair" and they say "I want 50% back" or "I want the full price back" then you can decide: well, knowing what is fair to them then you can move forward.
You can ask the person with the negative review once you take it offline, once you're talking to them on the phone "Hey, okay, what would you feel is fair in this situation? I want to make sure you're happy." Maybe they just ask for a toner, maybe they ask for a purple shampoo, maybe they wanna come get their hair done but you don't know until you ask them what they think is fair. And showing them, that's the way you show them kindness, compassion and empathy, saying "tell me, what would you feel is fair in this situation?" It is like the best secret thing and so, I'm curious are you going to use the "what do you think is fair" or "what do you feel is fair?" Because it's such a game changer when dealing with unhappy customers. Step #6 and this is kinda, maybe this should have been step #5... maybe, but you'll see where I'm going- is respond for the viewer not the commenter.
So when you're taking it offline you wanna respond more for the person - the... the *noises* you wanna respond more for the consumer that's reading the review rather than the person who left the review. Does that make sense? And so when you're saying, "we're so sorry to hear this is your experience, I wanna make sure you're happy, please reach out to us here".
Because let me tell you, like I said, I do not trust- here's where it comes full circle - I do not trust businesses that only have 5-star reviews because that makes me like "what? You're super human and you never make a mistake?" We're all human, we all make mistakes, we all have off days. Right? And so, finding out, so finding the reviews that people are unhappy. And you can quickly tell if a negative reviews you're like "this customer ...." you know... you know what I'm saying, right? Like, you can read a negative review and like "I don't think the business has any.... I'm not worried about this business." But I remember looking up a restaurant review once and the people said like "our food was cold by the time we got it" and the owner responded this way, get this: "I remember you coming in and I remember us putting hot food down and you just kept talking and didn't eat it until it was cold" *shocked noises* And me as a potential guest to that restaurant I was like "oh my gosh I'm scared of this owner" Like what, the people were just saying "we came here and the food was cold" and the owner just ripped into them.
And me as someone who wanted to go do business at that business saw that and went "I'm kinda nervous around this owner." But when I see a business respond to a negative review going "oh my gosh we're so sorry to hear that was your experience, that's the last thing we want, please get in touch with us so we can make it right with us." That goes, oh wow they know how to deal with conflict in their business. They know - and so for me even if it's - I know sometimes it's really hard, that's where that checking that ego comes in. It's really hard to be kind, especially when you're like "this review or this refund request" I know I've clumped these together "these are just so unfounded and this is so unfair and I can't believe they'd leave this review" and now it feels like a scar on our online business world but really, you're responding for the viewer not the commenter. So you want to wow the pants off of the person who is going and searching your business and going "oh look, this person didn't have a good experience, but wow look at how well they dealt with it" and that would put my mind at ease, I know it does put my mind at ease knowing if I go to this business and things don't turn out the way I want them to, if I go to this business and things don't turn out the way I want them to then I feel comfortable knowing that I can approach the owner, I can approach the business and they're going to deal with me in a kind, compassionate way.
You're actually responding for the viewer, not the commenter when you're taking it offline. And that's when you then go into "what would you think is fair?" Okay those are the 6 steps on how to deal with a negative review or a refund request. I hope you've found them helpful.
I love talking on this stuff. I'm curious, if you have any questions about it or how to deal with it please leave a comment below and I wanna let you know, if you wanna dive deeper into this business stuff, if you wanna get into you know, taking the stress outta business, taking the todos off list, making things way more easy for you and a lot less stressful, go get on the waitlist for my program Rock Your Business. This is my signature program right here that hundreds of stylists have gone through and they're doing business, they're making more money, they're working less and they have way less stress on their plate. And so I want to make your life easier, go check out the waitlist page, the link is down in the description, earn 6-figures stress-free, ditch the stress, ditch the anxiety. Check out dawnbradley.com/ryb get on the waitlist because enrolment is going to be opening soon and I want you to get first dibs and the exclusive bonuses that you will only get if you're on the waitlist.
I hope that was helpful, let me know. I'm super curious what you think, how you feel, if you've got any questions let me know. And if you wanna dive deeper into this stuff, if you wanna learn more about how to take out all that nervousness and stress outta your business, dealing with customers and getting boundaries and raising prices and all sorts of that and more, go check out the waitlist for my program Rock Your Business, enrolment is going to be opening soon there's no expectation or obligation to join when you get on the waitlist you'll get first access and exclusive bonuses that no one else is going to get and I can't wait to work with you more closely, hear your story and help you out.
So go check out the link in the description, earn 6 figures stress-free, go to dawnbradley.com/ryb I can't wait to see you on the waitlist. If you haven't already go check out last week's episode for the part 1 of this 5 part hairstylist business building series. Make sure you like and subscribe, hit that bell if you're watching this on YouTube, if you're listening to this leave a review of the podcast, that's the best way that you can tell me you enjoyed this and we'll see you next week.