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All’s well that ends well!

During my time as a teacher of therapies, and of course while treating clients, it was never possible to paint my fingernails. Not that I was desperate to do it or anything, but because it is best to lead by example I felt I couldn't tell students not to paint theirs when I had mine pained! The only time I could paint them was for holidays or if I didn’t have clients for bodywork

appointments as it's not possible to work with long nails anyway. I have a long list of values, one of them integrity and the other common courtesy. Two important ones when dealing with clients.

Because my business involves a service, I am very aware of the type of service I offer. Thirty years ago when I was first setting up my business my main aim was to offer personal attention, good support, correct information and value for money. Even now thirty years later that still stands and more besides.

However, I am disappointed to say that I am experiencing more and more that shops, salons, whatever the business, just can’t be bothered. It seems that any old thing will do, when actually this is the time for small businesses to shine with their little touches and show what they do best.

A few weeks ago I decided to try a new nail salon fairly local to where I live. Never having been in it before, I booked a french manicure with ordinary polish as I don’t like shellac. I had a bad experience with it and it took four years for the nails to completely repair, so I'm not going there again!

The really nice therapist at the reception desk took my appointment and said that’s no problem, quoted me the price and I turned up on the day at the appointed time. The owners of the salon are Asian. I was met by a young Irish woman, who had a very rude, serious attitude problem, chewing gum, dressed in very short shorts, her long hair hung down around her shoulders, which she constantly pushed back with her hands while she was working. I didn't get any eye contact just pointed at. She seemed annoyed with something or someone and I happened to be the target of her anger. I felt let down already before any work began.

Now when I was training and when I was a trainer, image was always very important. Clean uniforms, whatever you decided your uniform was, be it a polo shirt and tracksuit bottoms, a blouse and trousers or a tunic top, were clean and presentable as what you wore represented your profession. Hair tied back off the face and shoulders too.

‘You’re here for a french manicure with shellac, a manicure now, the one where you soak your fingers in the thing’ she said. I said no, ordinary polish please and yes a manicure. She tutted and went over to the shelf. We don’t have any white she said back to me, still no eye contact. Well that is what I booked when I came in a few days ago. More teeth sucking from the therapist I am now beginning to feel very uneasy.

She found the white and proceeded to point at this tiny little bowl to soak my fingertips in. I followed her pointing and placed my fingertips in it. No words just pointing. Shocking. She started to file down my nails on the opposite hand and work on my cuticles. I thought that was done after the soak, but however she was the therapist!

She moaned to the person beside her that the white nail polish was very thin several times and the therapist ignored her. She constantly talked to the client that was being worked on beside me and completely ignored me. Not that I wanted to have non-stop conversation, but some acknowledgement might be a suggestion, considering I was a new client. Following several coats of white, which I thought was strange I was finished.

I felt like I had burdened her, or that I was in the way, a bother in other words. Rather, here I was paying for the service of a very rude young woman to do a french manicure which I later discovered she didn't seem to know how to do at all.

Well the manicure finished with a little spot of cream rubbed into the back of each hand. Don’t forget, she said, that the first layer might be dry but the ones underneath take an hour at least for ordinary polish. So mind you don’t smudge. I thanked her and left. That was Friday afternoon.

Having had the experience of several manicures, I really missed the soak, the sugar scrub, and the massage that most services offer. However, as I had not been in here before, I didn't say anything I just observed.

I got home and had a look at them. All the white tips were different depths with no uniformity about them at all. Well there you go I said to myself you won’t be going back there. Well that's what I thought anyway. My usual salon was booked out that weekend, and now I know why. They offer really good service and excellent customer care.

On Sunday morning I noticed that the nail on the middle finger of my left hand, the nail polish had stripped off, followed by the finger next to it shortly after. Then my little finger. By the end of Sunday I had two fingers with paint still on. I am aware that ordinary polish does not last as long as shellac, but I usually get at least a week to ten days if not more depending on what I am doing. Two days I thought was just a bit too short.

The next day was Monday and one finger on the other hand the polish had disappeared there too. Not disappeared so much as completely peeled off. Well I decided I was not going to tolerate this and returned to the salon. A very nice young woman came to the reception desk. I explained what happened. She asked me who did the work and I told her. Okay she said may I take a photo of your nails please.

She took her photo and asked if she could correct the work for me at the earliest possible appointment. So I agreed. She then called another woman over and they spoke in a foriegn language I didn't understand. The second woman looked at my hands and in her best English said, I am so sorry for your experience, please come back to us and allow us to put this right for you.

I am glad I went back and gave them the opportunity to put the situation right. I was treated very well and was really happy with my french manicure. The original therapist was present and never approached me or eye-contacted me. I just thought to myself, how very disappointing and totally rude. Had that happened to me I would have been the first to approach and apologise for my work.

So what's the secret to making a complaint? Your language is very important. It should not be critical of any person, in this case critical of the work done and how I was treated. If an establishment does not know there is a problem how can they resolve it. Much better to say what you are not happy with rather than go outside and badmouth them.

The message is never the problem really it is usually how it is delivered. That goes across the board for everything don’t you think?

Well I was delighted with the response I got on my return, all's well that ends well.

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