It doesn’t happen often, but every now and then we might make a mistake which results in one of our clients becoming unhappy or leaving feedback that feels discouraging. Providing treatments for the first time can be a nerve wracking, body shaking, palm sweaty experience. Thoughts can flow through your mind like; ‘What if they don’t like my pressure?”. “What if I bruise or hurt a client in some way?”. “What if I make a mistake, say or do the wrong thing?” There are thousands of ‘what if’s’ but generally everything runs very smoothly and with every new client you gain more experience and more confidence.
What does happen though when something doesn’t go as planned and you have an unhappy client? Most genuine people are very understanding if you can show integrity and treat them with respect.
Here are five proven steps to a successful resolution:
- Stay calm: It is always best to stay calm when talking with an upset or angry client. You want to diffuse the situation not add more fuel to the fire. Staying calm also helps you to really listen to the complaints the client may have. This gives you a much better opportunity to respond in a professional manner when you are given the opportunity. Showing understanding is always helpful.
- Take responsibility: This is a BIG one! It is easy to blame circumstances or someone else, but this is often aggravating to an already upset client. Taking responsibility for your actions and apologising shows maturity, integrity and professionalism and allows you to work towards finding a solution. Blaming something else always leads to a never-ending cycle of blame.
- Explain what has happened: In simple language give the client an explanation of what has happened. Use terms the client can understand, and begin to work towards some options for a solution.
- Find the win-win situation: Work with the client to find a solution so that the situation isn’t repeated. Listen to the clients feedback and thank them.
- Offer something for the trouble: Apart from it being the right thing to do, offering a client a gift card, a free product, or a complimentary treatment with you or another therapist is a lovely way to maintain a great relationship with a client.
- Follow up: Take action and follow-up with a phone call or email. Speaking to the person is always the best practice. However if they are not available to speak to, you might send an email or a card in the mail.
Remember also, sometimes a client may just not like the way you provide a treatment. This is OK. Feedback will vary from client to client, one may give you feedback that scores very high and the next client receiving exactly the same treatment may give just an average score. You can only do your best each time and don’t take the odd low scoring feedback too personally. You can always ask your trainer for suggestions where you might improve if you’re concerned.
A great little saying to remember is “when you get nervous, focus on service” Make your treatments about your client, not about you!
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