You’re running a business, and “bad clients” are a serious roadblock – they’re also the hardest people to confront. We broke down five of the most difficult clients and how to manage them in a professional way that won’t ruin your reputation.
#1 ATTENTION SEEKERS
Clients who are loud, obnoxious, and require tons of attention are exhausting and they can make other clients uncomfortable. It’s great to establish relationships with your clients, but there should always be boundaries.
- If your client is being disruptive or won’t stop talking about topics that should be private, try steering the subject to trends, products, and techniques. Don’t ask personal questions or answer any.
- Dealing with dramatic people can be difficult because they may cause a scene if you upset them. When it comes time to level with them, wait until they have left the salon before you communicate your concerns with them.
Give them a phone call and say: “Hey, I’m sorry you’ve been going through so much lately. I hope your manicures have been making you feel better! Unfortunately, some of the other clients are complaining about the stressful environment and loud conversations in the salon. Just so we don’t get in trouble, let’s try to keep our conversations more lite.”
- As a last resort, it never hurts to offer some fun distractions for your clients. Tablets and current magazines will help take their mind off things and celebrities are always a great excuse to switch up the conversation.
#2 THE PERV
No professional should ever have to deal with sexual harassment or rude comments at work. Although this situation can be very uncomfortable, it’s important to deal with it immediately.
When a client makes an inappropriate remark:
- STOP THEM IN THEIR TRACKS.
- Say: “Those comments are inappropriate. I won’t be able to finish your service if you continue to make them.”
- Don’t answer personal questions or laugh at inappropriate jokes even if you are uncomfortable.
- Don’t feel guilty.
- Don’t apologize. You are the one who has been wronged.
You are running a business. If this person stresses you out, upsets you, or ruins your day, they are not worth your time! Confronting a harasser will be uncomfortable at first but it will be worth it.
#3 THE COMPLAINER
A whiny client can quickly infect others. Before an unsatisfied client turns to social media or decides to sound off in the salon, nip it in the bud!
When confronting “a complainer,” remember:
- Keep it professional. If possible, take your conversation to a private room or, if you are on social media, respond privately.
- Listen carefully and don’t interrupt.
- Be sincere: “I’m sorry you feel like this.” This doesn’t mean you are accepting blame – it just means you are sorry they are unhappy. There’s a big difference.
- Ask questions, get to the root of the problem without assuming.
- Don’t get defensive, this usually isn’t about you.
- Talk about what you can do to help not what you can’t do.
- If they are satisfied with your solution, take care of it now.
Your goal: Understand why it happened and how to avoid it next time.
You should be keeping a detailed record of every client. StyleSeat has a “client notes” tool to help you keep track of many things including how many times a client complains. Check your notes, once a client has complained after more than three appointments, it’s safe to assume they are not a fan and they are not recommending you to others.
At this point, your client is no longer valuable and it’s time to break up with them.
Say this: “I’ve been keeping track of your visits and it seemed like you haven’t been happy. We may not be the right fit for each other. I would love to give you some recommendations for other stylists who can give you what you’re looking for.”
#4 THE CHRONICALLY LATE
Chronically late clients cost you money. StyleSeat has a few tools to help you deal with them:
- No-Show/ Late Cancellation Policy– Enforcing a policy trains clients to respect your time. When clients show up late or cancel last minute, they are charged a percentage of the service price.
- If a client continues to show up late despite your cancellation fee, let them know you can no longer allow them to book in advance. They are welcome to try and get an appointment as a walk-in, but hey have exceeded the late cancellation limit.
- If a client continues to show up late despite your cancellation fee, break up with them. Late clients throw off our schedule, impact your other clients’ experience and they cost you money.
- Block Client Tool – After you have politely and professionally explained to a client that you are no longer a good fit for eachother, you can use your block client tool. When a “blocked client” goes to check your schedule, it will appear like you have no appointments available.
#5 THE PLAYER
They try to hide it, but you always know when a client has been cheating on you with another stylist. Guess what, the main reason clients try other stylists is a lack of communication before and after the appointment. Clients expect personalized treatment. They want to feel special, valued.
Don’t try and confront them, win them back naturally.
- Even if you’ve been seeing a client for years, it’s important to check in periodically and make sure you are on the same page. Ask them how they feel about their hair lately, if they’ve changed up their routine at all or if they want to try anything new.
- Send them a helpful email. Let them know when you have last minute availability or when you have a special offer.
- Invite them to join a loyalty program.
- Invite them to try a new service at a discounted rate.
- The more connections you make, the more likely it is they will stick around.
If you can’t seem to will this client’s loyalty, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions and find out what you can do to make a difference. Asking questions helps you learn more about your business and how you can improve. Maybe your salon hours are inconvenient. Maybe you aren’t online bookable. Maybe your salon environment is uncomfortable.
Whatever you find out, never take it personally. You can learn from every criticism.
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