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.
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the Review, Yelp & Entrepreneur Media’s weekly podcast. Listen below to hear from Maegan, Joann, and Long, or visit the episode page to read more, subscribe to the show, and explore other episodes.
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