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How to Handle Very Tricky Clients

by Trash Talk with Anna Craig on Monday, October 25, 2010

anna craig

Hair has been Anna Craig’s passion since she was 12 years old, this has always been her path in life. In 2001 she went to school in Tempe, AZ, at the Carsten Aveda Institute. After doing hair for about 5 years, she realized that precision haircuts were her specialty, after years of thinking that color was her calling. After doing hair in Arizona for several years, she took the plunge and moved to Texas, and her career took off. She soon opened her own salon, Trashy Roots Salon & Spa. There she became a Certified Deva Stylist, specializing in Curly Girl haircuts. She is also an Artistic Educator for Pravana, which gives her the opportunity to go out to different salons in the area and educate them on new products and techniques. She is also very involved in her community; holding annual cut-a-thons, participating in benefit hair shows, and helping with local beauty schools.

“Making clients happy”— does that mean that you have just made “a deal with the devil”?

Do you ever just have that client who you bend over backwards for? That one client that you feel like you can never make happy? When Client Jane Doe walks in the salon, you just dread her appointment and she is always Miss Negativity. How do you deal with this type of client? Do you just avoid her and tell the front desk not to book her appointments with you? Do you rush through the entire appointment with her, getting her out of your chair as fast as possible? How do you handle this situation? How do you handle this type of client without them taking you down with them?

I once had a client who started coming to me because her previous stylist had been fired. So when I started her hair for the first time, she was already peeved because she said “I hate training new stylists.” So we never quite started out on a good note, but then every time I did her hair she would tell me “maybe next time you’ll get it right.” She would always give the receptionists a hard time and she would never rebook, but then she’d call up at the last minute demanding to get in and insisting she had somewhere important to go to so they should squeeze her in. When I moved salons I didn’t give her my forwarding information, but she managed to get it out of the front desk, mainly because no one else wanted to do her hair. Sound familiar?

This is a hard situation to handle. You have to be direct with this client and kill them with kindness. But then sometimes it seems like no matter how nice or how accommodating you are they don’t treat you any better. There are two options for these types of clients: refer them to another stylist or fire them.

Suggest that they might want to go to a different stylist in your shop—maybe it’s just a clash between personalities and a firmer stylist can handle them differently. A client that just drives you crazy can be totally awesome for someone else. Some stylists are more direct and blunt about the situation.

If none of that works, just FIRE the client. Is it really worth your pain and suffering every time they walk in the door? No. If a client doesn’t have respect for you as a professional, then she should move on to someone else. This isn’t easy to do but in the end you will be happy and so will your front desk staff.

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Top Tips for Businesses
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Business Building Techniques

Begin having frequent staff meetings and collaborate on business building techniques used by others that you work with. Every salon has success right inside. Get the top booker to explain how they do it. Pair the weakest with the strongest and let them work next to each other. They can learn from what they hear and see. Do the same with retail sales. Share the ways that the top stay on top.

With cross marketing other services, know who the salon leaders are and copy them. Your staff becomes a resource to each other and by sharing dialouge that works, we all win.

Geno Stampora, Stampora Consulting Inc.

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