wooden complaint box

Salon Customer Complaints: Real Examples of the Weird, the Mean and just Plain Hilarious

Sue Maguire


Every salon has a few.  The kind of clients that are awkward to deal with and demanding or maybe they pass remarks about you without thinking about your feelings. Nonetheless, if they keep coming back they are your bread and butter, and strangely, some people thankfully prefer to complain to you directly than tell everybody else.

All salons using Phorest Salon Software send their clients an email after each treatment  or style asking them to rate it out-of-five and leave a comment.   Some salons have shared some strange customer complaints in their time with us that would make you laugh, make you annoyed and some were even incredibly understanding, compelling you to change their perspective and make an extra special effort to win them over. Without further a do, here’s a list of hilarious, strange and just plain mean client complaints that friends of the Phorest family have shared with us. Thank you guys,  you know who you are!

We would love to hear some of yours too in the comments section below.

Customer Complaints

Well, this is confusing…

This particular customer complaint was, to put it mildly, confusing! Perhaps they felt guilty towards the end and felt they had to redeem themselves:

“You do not have a clue what you are all doing. I feel you don’t give me enough attention. Your staff never smile. And you never give any little extras like messaging my arms and I never got an Indian massage. But apart from all that, I think you’re all AMAZING and the BEST! xxx.” 

The beauty about customer complaints like this is they are not saying “I’ll never come back” etc. This is most likely quite rectifiable by ringing them, apologising and getting them back in. But in all seriousness, it does go to show that many clients love that extra touch and generally if you go above and beyond once with them, clients will expect it every time. Bear that in mind!

‘Totes Emot’ with party season on the horizon

This young madame was certainly stressed after her visit to her favorite hair salon. She got a haircut that she is not best pleased about. She’s absolutely entitled to be mad, but you can’t help but have a chuckle at the way she phrases it.

“I am very unhappy with the end result of my hair. I’m just very unhappy with it all… My mum said she was has never seen my hair so short. I feel like I want to wear a hat forever. Having short hair with the upcoming party  season, makes me to stay in bed with that hat on for eternity  FML.” 

We can’t be certain, but if you had to take a gamble at it, you would say this lady is in her late teens or early twenties!

Customer Complaints: Complaining about being stalked by the staff?!

This one’s not your typical complaint and certainly pulls no punches!

“Supposedly one of the owners of this salon won an award. For what? LACK OF BUSINESS ACUMEN? Being completely and utterly devoid of talent? Anyway… ever since (name) started in her sister (another name’s) salon, she’s been stalking me. It’s wearing me down.  I mean she rings me before I go into the salon to check I’m coming in?!”.

I think this individual should check the actual definition of stalking! Interestingly though, it shows why you should deal with complaints no matter how absurd or overly harsh. If you don’t deal with it quickly, you’ll see it pumped out over a social network and the example above just shows how critical people are willing to be when hiding behind a keyboard.

There’s nothing constructive about the complaint above. It’s just mean and you’d be surprised how little that person would say if they met you in person. That’s often why picking up the phone, above emailing or responding on Facebook, is the best way to knock it on the head.

The 5 Most Common Customer Complaints

  1. This is an obvious one, but the most common customer complaints that people submit through the Phorest feedback emails are people unhappy with their style or treatment. Rude staff is a common one too!
  2. Children – we see that an awful lot of client complaints that are centered around children. Some around the children of other clients but mainly around the children of the owner, running around the salon annoying the client. It is absolutely fair for the client to be angry. People can take it very personally when criticism of their children is involved, but the client is there to be pampered and wowed and often to get away from the trials and tribulations of their own family life!
  3. Being rushed – here’s a common one – “I rang ahead to say I was late. They never told me to not come in or that they couldn’t take me but I wish they would have, I was just rushed through etc. etc.’ This is a really tricky one. You don’t want to take them in late if you’re really busy, but if you don’t they’re going to end up with a competitor and potentially you’ve lost a client for life. When booking in appointments, try to be crafty about using your slots. Leave a little buffer for late turn-ups and never sacrifice quality of service for quantity of clients. Remember this is all about the experience and how good they feel and look afterwards. Cutting corners is impossible if you’re aiming to be the best at what you do.
  4. Long-term clients just not feeling the love anymore. It’s easy to get complacent about somebody who has been going to your salon for a decade. Don’t. These are the people that have built your success, so always making the effort to wow them is important because it not only shows loyalty, but it’s the most effective way to grow your salon considering the average retention rate in hair and beauty is only 17%!!
  5. This is the most fixable of all the problems – daily deal complaints. You probably know we’re not a big fan of daily deals at all, but the number of complaints just proves we’re right. There’s two types of regular customer complaints here: 1) the person bringing in the voucher not feeling like they had a good experience because they were rushed plus 2) the regular full-price paying clients who get pushed aside so you can deal with the huge volume of bargain hunters coming through your door. There’s a really simply solution here… Don’t do daily deals! Nobody wins (except the daily deal site) and the retention rate on a daily deal is only between 1% and 3%.


All-in-all it’s never a pleasant experience dealing with customer complaints, but trust us, it happens every salon now and again. Prevention is important, but dealing with it in the right way and making a real effort to make amends is absolutely critical in a world so connected on social media. Thanks for reading. Need some advice? Mail us on marketing@phorest.com.

 Sue Maguire is the Sales Director at Phorest, a leading international salon software provider. She has spent more than 25 years in the beauty industry including senior roles in Dermalogica and Jessica Nails. Have a question for Sue? Email marketing@phorest.com

  • Susan Carter

    This is a great blog. I am going to do a staff meeting based around how to deal with client complaints.

  • Michelle Robinson

    Super article, well done on addressing such a sensitive issue in a light-hearted way 🙂

    • Awh! Thank you Michelle *blushes*. We’re bringing out two posts a week so don’t forget to sign-up for the blog to get the posts 🙂

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  • 何 小惠

    well done on addressing such a sensitive issue in a light-hearted way , I am going to do a staff meeting based around how to deal with client complaints.Brand clothinghttp://www.storecolor.net/

  • And this is where you can cash in on how you handle the complaint. A complaint on social media can be the best complaint ever this is a massive mistake the lions share of business make.

    Anything negative is removed – huge silly big error

    How you then handle the complaint in the public arena shows conviction in your business, and installs that although no one is perfect the problem was addressed and more often than not you will have a new loyal client and many more from the transparent way you handled it in the first place.

    Apart from just downright nasty people that do exist unfortunately but apart from that complaints can be one of your biggest insights into your business.

    Oh that and getting on the phone and actually calling your top clients for feedback 🙂

  • Great post. According to Oracle, 89 percent of consumers began doing business with a competitor following a poor customer experience. The way businesses manage customer experience is the key differentiator!

    • Cheers Louis. Doesn’t surprise me! Hope you’re well and thanks for reading!