Business tips

7 deadly sins of communicating with clients online


7 deadly sins of communicating with clients online

Last time, we talked about things you should (and shouldn’t) post on your salon’s social media pages, now it’s time to immerse into the subject of direct online communication with clients. Ever since Facebook’s Messenger has arisen in all its glory, numerous customers choose to contact beauty businesses this way.

Since this way of communication seems very informal and more casual than sending emails, many business owners (or receptionists/other employees in charge of the social media pages) tend to be very laid back when it comes to answering messages from clients. However, they forget that this short conversation will define their business in the eyes of numerous potential clients and will set the tone of communication for the rest of their relationship. So what are the seven cardinal sins of talking with your customers online and how you should really behave?

1. Not adjusting the tone of speech to your business style

Let’s say you run a PMU studio and you pride yourself in emphasizing customers' safety, following procedures and delivering the highest quality pigments and numbing products. Your business is renowned for being very professional and therefore attracts clients seeking competence in every aspect. So when they send you a message via Messenger and get “No prob hun I’ll find you a slot this week :*” as an answer… they may have some second thoughts. And rightfully so.

It could also be the other way around. Let’s say you run a barbershop that clearly has more edge. Your page’s visual identification and the way you write your online posts give off tough-guy vibes. So when a 6’2 bearded biker contacts you and gets an extremely stiff and mannered answer… well, you get the pattern.

Settle on a certain style of communication and stick to it. If you have an employee answering messages, make sure they are aware of what you expect from them. Salons that are consistent in everything they do are perceived as far more professional and brought together.

2. Tardiness in answering

The general rule is that if you received a message during your working hours, you should respond within a 2-3 hour time frame - and if you have an especially busy time, at least on the same day. If that sounds like an impossible goal, you may want to consider delegating the task to another team member. Leaving clients’ messages as “seen” for a longer period of time is pretty much the same as taking a look at a walk-in who introduces themselves - and then turning your back and continuing your work without saying a word. So it’s wise to set an autoresponder that will let your clients know that you’ve acknowledged their message and will answer as soon as possible.

3. Emotional answers

This is one of the most serious problems in the industry. Many beauty providers tend to become very defensive when faced with an unsatisfied customer or one with really unrealistic expectations. It’s understandable that they get upset… however, no service provider, let alone business owner, should ever behave emotionally in front of a customer. So leave your nervous outcries, witty suggestions and sarcastic remarks to yourself. An on-point snappy retort will gain you praise from your industry friends... but their appreciation doesn’t pay your bills. Clients do.

Moreover - never, ever talk to clients about your expenses and earnings. Many business owners, when seriously vexed, feel the urge to explain to whiny clients that “their prices barely allow them to pay bills”, “expenses of their education affect the pricing of their services” or send that famous meme saying: “If I do a job in 10 minutes, it’s because I spent 10 years learning how to do that in 10 minutes. You owe me for the years, not the minutes.” Time for some harsh truth - clients really don’t care. And trying to justify your prices only makes you seem defensive and less professional. Stick to your prices without any unnecessary elaboration - they can take it or leave it.

If one of your customers is seriously problematic and you notice you are unable to talk with them without your blood pressure going through the roof, make a note of their behaviour in your Booksy client records. That way, the next time they decide to book a treatment, you'll be ready for them. If they continue with their antics, be ready to refuse service.

4. Overusing emojis

An occasional smiley or winky face here and there are welcome, as they allow you to make the tone of conversation more friendly and upbeat. However, using tons of emojis, stickers and GIFs makes you look infantile and may deter some clients. So leave these emoji chats to conversations with your niece.

5. Using too casual figures of speech

First of all, proper use of grammar and punctuation are always in style - so go back to starting sentences with a capital letter and ending them with a period. Oh, and believe me - you need only one exclamation point. Your client may be all over the place with their style and vocabulary, but you shouldn’t. Secondly, always address your interlocutor the way they introduce themselves (and if they didn’t do that - by their first name), not by “darling”, “honey” or “my dear.” This applies to clients of all ages! Lastly, look out for shortcuts that are either too casual or old school (gr8, brb, afk) - typing like a rebellious teenager or a cool mom is neither appealing nor professional.

6. Forgetting you are taking part in an actual conversation

Don’t try to guess what your client is going to say and don’t interrupt their messages, even if they take a sweet minute to answer. It’s really impolite and you can’t always be sure you are accurate in your predictions. Also, keep your answers as clear and short as possible. Don’t divide them into 30 separate messages, but don’t send overly complicated walls of text either.

7. Not being careful with what you say

Lastly - remember that everything you send to your client may be used as potential evidence of your professional negligence (like promising an effect you cannot deliver), or that you were disrespectful or even discriminating. A client can easily screenshot your conversation and show it to their friends or publish it online. This is why it’s really important to take responsibility for your words, even more than in the case of a spoken conversation.

Proper communication with clients is a vital element of any beauty business. Although customers can really get under your skin with their behaviour, it’s important to always approach them with calmness and respect. In times when online rumours can make or break a salon, you really don’t want your harsh or prideful words taken out of context running around the world wide web. Moreover, remember that Messenger isn’t the most professional nor convenient form of communication between you and your clients. Booksy offers you a whole segment dedicated to gaining and keeping customers’ attention with features like automated messages, single and bulk messaging, reminders, ready-made templates, audience targeting and much more. If you truly want to improve your business communication, try the software that has it all.

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