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Behind the Review | Learning from your mistakes and making it right

Many businesses strive for a flawless customer experience. Lush Nail Bar is no different: The moment clients walk in from the hundred-degree heat in Gilbert, Arizona, the team hands them a cold drink of water. Bright lighting and clean decor set the tone, while friendly nail technicians provide quality service (and snacks and cartoons for the kids.)

“The whole vibe that we’re trying to give off is light, airy, come in, enjoy your time, relax,” manager Joann said. “You’re already spending money. So we want you to relax and enjoy everything.”

But mistakes happen—especially in the nail business, as new technicians often have to train on the job. What matters more is how they respond. And for Yelp reviewer Maegan C., being treated with respect far outweighs perfection. 

During her first visit to Lush, Maegan was impressed by the calm ambiance and attentive service. “It was that customer obsession, if you will, where they’re just really aiming for such a good experience,” she said. “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 for you.”

Maegan did have a good experience—but when she got home, she noticed a few small flaws in her nails. At first, she was hesitant to call the nail salon and request a fix. No one wants to be “that customer,” she thought. Still, she’d paid $75 for the set. 

“I started thinking, ‘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,’” she said. “Once I worked up the nerve and called in, they were super, super accommodating, very, very apologetic that I even had an issue.”

In fact, salon manager Joann welcomed the feedback. As the owner of a new small business, she works hard to build a reputation as a salon that values its customers. “We treat others how we want to be respected and treated,” Joann said. “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 and 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, husband-and-wife team Long and Lonnie, believe their business can only grow by learning from their mistakes and taking customer feedback seriously. “We’re pretty much constantly training each other—that way we can better ourselves as a salon,” Long said. 

They also take every opportunity to turn mistakes into teachable moments. For example, when Maegan came in for her repairs, Lonnie explained both the correct filing technique and how to handle customer requests in the future. 

“Everybody specializes in something,” Joann said. “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.”

The result? Even better than the first round. “She just knocked the set out of the world,” Maegan said. “It felt like me working up that courage to say something for once really paid off. It was really nice to see that they cared so much.”

And it paid off for Lush Nail Bar, too. The staff’s attitude and attention encouraged Maegan to leave a glowing review on Yelp and become a regular customer. 

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 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 your appreciation for your customers. Telling customers 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.

Behind the Review transcript, episode 41
A chance to make it right

EMILY: I’m Emily Washcovick, Yelp’s Small Business Expert. Every episode I pick one review on Yelp and talk to the entrepreneur and the reviewer about the story and business lessons behind it. 

Lets see what’s behind this week’s review.

MAEGEN: 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 and, really going out of the way to make sure that you have that good experience.

So that way they can let customers know if you come here, we’re going to take care of you. And if you’re not happy, come back. We’re going to make it right. And you don’t have to worry. You don’t have to stress. Like, 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.

EMILY: That’s Maegen, telling me about Lush Nail Bar. And as you heard, her experience wasn’t perfect from the start. But the way the business handled the situation turned Maegen into a repeat customer. Let’s hear Maegen’s review.

MAEGEN:  I finally found a salon that can deliver on gorgeously crafted nails. I cannot get over how beautiful my set is and how the coffin shape actually looks like a coffin. No dull corners, no badly applied paints. Just pure art. The professionalism of the team at Lush goes a long way. I appreciate them having an easy to find location and decor that matches your ultimate pampering experience. I will definitely be back and next with either my mom or BFF. 

EMILY: No sign of a bad time in that review! Because it all happened offline. We’ll get into that more in a bit, but first let’s hear from manager Joann, on how Lush Nail Bar came to be, and what they’ve done to create a business with decor that matches the ultimate pampering experience. 

JOANN: Lush Nail Bar started at the end of October when COVID just recently hit. The boss Lonnie, she envisioned the whole salon and Long was the one that just put so much work in. 

Our boss wanted more of a modern, yet homely vibe. So every time when a client walks in, they have a feeling it’s nice. It’s clean. The lighting is just brighter. Just wanting to be feeling comfortable at the salon when you’re in there for an hour or two hours doing your services.

It’s just more of a light vibe instead of like going to other salons that you see, it’s just more dark, gloomy and more just like a get in, get out, don’t speak, don’t talk kind of. That’s what they wanted to bring to our clients. 

EMILY: Opening their doors during a pandemic made for a slow start, but Lonnie and Long worked hard to design a brick and mortar that was light, bright, and welcoming. They knew that the design and decor added to the customer experience, and even if they weren’t busy and booming on day 1, they wanted the space to be reflective of what they’re offering. 

And it’s not just decor. The whole vibe also extends to little things like being offered water when you arrive. 

JOANN:  Arizona is hot. It gets up to 110, 120. When you come in, everybody’s already having anxiety. Everybody’s already feeling irritated with the heat. So offering cold water doesn’t take that much and makes a person happy. Just saying hello or like a goodbye. We’ll see you again. It just makes them feel more happy. And with the decor, that’s all Long and Lonnie’s idea. They just want fresh. Like you don’t want to come in there and feel like everything is cluttered, everything is just dirty. It just makes you feel uncomfortable.

Like 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. We have snacks for the kids to come in. Like, if you’re a mom and your baby or your daughter, or your son is irritated, we have little snacks. We put on Netflix, shows, cartoons for them to watch while you’re just enjoying yourself. Just as long as the whole thing is just relax, enjoy, come in and feel like it’s welcoming.

EMILY: Let’s take a quick break


EMILY: And we’re back! You’re probably wondering what happened during Maegen’s experience, and how it was handled, so let’s just dive right in. 

MAEGEN: Originally I went in for a pink and white set. And I had been with the tech and basically by the time I got home, I noticed, oh no there’s some parts on the side where she accidentally like over filed. I called back in, and spoke on the phone with someone at the front desk. Very helpful, and he goes, “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry that you noticed that. I’m sorry that you’re going to have to come back in. You know, I apologize.” 

I said, no, this is great that I can come back in, and we ended up settling on a later time in the evening. I was like, I’ll go more towards the end. I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes and have to have them like, squeeze me in. But they were very accommodating. I showed up and the gal that I worked with absolutely just above and beyond to make sure that everything was really awesome. 

EMILY: Maegen was wowed by the businesses response. But I also want to point out that Maegen gave the business a chance to respond! And sometimes that takes courage. 

MAEGEN:  I noticed, oh no. Oh no! And I started thinking, I just paid $75 for this set, not including a tip. And I’m thinking, no, no, I’m pretty sure they’ll be okay with this. Right? Like I’m paying for quality nails, so I’m going to get a quality experience. And, you know, once I worked up the nerve and I called in, they were just, like I said, super, super accommodating, you know, very, very apologetic that I even had an issue.

We apologize, don’t worry, we’re gonna take care of it. You’re absolutely okay. When I went in, the gal that I sat with, she wasn’t able to replicate the same design, but she hooked me up with obviously these really beautiful gold foil.

And they’re still hanging on, and I’ve gotten so many compliments on them. You know, while she was correcting it, we were just having issues with the gel and she was trying so hard. I swear we were there for at least 20 minutes of her really trying to just get the design that I wanted. Down to like she refiled everything. Like she just knocked the set out of the world. So it felt like me working up that courage to say something for once like, really paid off. It was really nice to see that they cared so much. 

EMILY: The worst possible outcome in this scenario would have been Maegen never letting the business know she was upset. And instead telling all of her friends, family and colleagues that Lush Nail Bar didn’t know how to do a great set. Another horrible outcome? Maegen addressing her concerns with the business and being let down by their response. Or even worse, no response at all. 

Now for my business owners, I want you to ask yourself — are you open to feedback, no matter how it comes? Yes, I get it, the best type of consumer is the one that tells you directly like Maegen, instead of leaving a review online. But regardless of how you receive the feedback, could there be value there? Joann says they always want to know. 

JOANN: We treat others how we want to be respected and treated. So like, 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.

EMILY: And owner Long chimed in to emphasize the importance of acknowledging and respecting that customers are paying for a service. 

LONG: We know people pay a lot of money for their nails, so if we didn’t do the right thing and we made sure we would do a good job and make sure the money was worth the service that they came and paid for, you know?

EMILY: This willingness to correct their mistakes isn’t just a facade. Maegen actually saw the back and forth play out in person, when she returned to get her nails fixed. 

MAEGEN: And the fact that she was showing her other nail techs and saying, you know, I’m going to talk to the gal who did this set, but just so you guys are aware, this is how we do it. 

But she wasn’t rude. She was just very, she was being a good leader. You can tell her leadership skills were absolutely on point because instead of trying to tear down the team and be like, Oh, look, so and so stinks. Look at their prep. Look at their work. Oh, it’s trash. She’s instead using it as a learning tool to teach everybody, you know, this is what we do. Like, this is how we handle a situation like this. 

And, you know, obviously it went nice because I was in a good mood. Like she was in a good mood, everyone being respectful. And then that was the other thing was the respect. You know, she just kept saying over and over how sorry she was, that I had to go in there. She was like, I’m sorry if it was out of your way. I was like, Oh no, you’re right next to my brother’s, I’m going to go hang out with him after this don’t even worry. 

EMILY: Maegen felt that her time was being valued. She felt that the team cared about not only making this set right, but improving the quality of their work overall. That elevated customer service experience built confidence in the high quality product, and will keep her coming back and being transparent in the future if something isn’t right. For the Lush team, feedback is the only way they get better.

LONG: Like Joanna said, nobody’s perfect and the only way we learn from our mistakes is you seeing what we did wrong, you know? So for Lonnie, she is always there like, “Hey, this is how you fix it.” Or, you know, just pretty much like constantly training each other, you know? So that way, you know, we can be better ourselves as a salon. 

JOANN: Yep. Everybody specializes in something. And so, there are other techs that have weaker spots and they’re more stronger than other spots. So in general, we try to teach each other and learn from each other at the same time while working. 

EMILY: We’ll be right back.


EMILY: Lush Nail Bar is still a new business. By the time this episode goes live they’ll have just had their 1 year anniversary. Which means this whole online reviews thing is still pretty new. But honestly, it’s their mentality that has helped their online presence and reputation grow.

LONG: Coming into Yelp and everything, you know, in the very beginning, like my wife, she got into it, cause we’re just like really old school, you know?

Like, hey just pass out flyers. We didn’t know anything about marketing. It was okay, we got to pay for marketing, just put some flyers out this and that. I didn’t know anything about Yelp. We went on there to try to figure it out. Hey, post up this picture, post that picture, how you do this, how you do that.

And we went from having like 10 reviews to like, 100 some reviews right now, you know? And it’s all mainly, now we do have some, you know, can’t please every single body out there, but we mainly have all mainly five-star reviews. 

JOANN: Yea, but the good overrides the bad. The bad ones are to give us experience, to give us knowledge, to do better. Like when we do get a bad review, we do talk about it amongst the techs. Like, well, we can do better for the next client or the returning client to see if we can fix our mistakes, to be honest. So Yelp does help us a lot, even in learning our skills, trying to achieve it to be more better. 

EMILY: The most important thing is engagement. Long admits they were in over their heads, but they got on and engaged! They uploaded photos, they didn’t ignore reviews and most importantly they created customer experiences worth reviewing. Maegen couldn’t help but share her experience. She wanted to shout it from the rooftops! And she also learned a valuable lesson that all consumers can implement. Communicate if you have a problem, and give the business a chance to make it right.

The information above is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice and may not be suitable for your circumstances. Unless stated otherwise, references to third-party links, services, or products do not constitute endorsement by Yelp.

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