Everyone develops a relationship with their hair stylist. Usually, your hair stylist is the only one who knows how to cut and style your hair the best. Sometimes those client/stylist relationships can be dreaded ones, and clients can become a client from hell. In that case, you simply need to remember a few things.
YOU ARE A STYLIST, NOT A THERAPIST
Sometimes your client may consider you their confidant, or someone that they can tell all of their horror stories to. Sometimes they simply share too much information. Clients may forget that there is only one of you, yet you may have hundreds of clients. It isn’t your job to remember every single detail to every single story they told you last time they were in. Besides, there has to always be a level of professionalism that comes with your job as providing the customer a service. That is what will bring devoted clients back over and over again.
When you start chatting while you work, try to keep your client’s personal business to a minimum. You may need to refrain from asking about current relationships, or simply start off by asking what they think about the latest celebrity gossip. That will keep your conversation from getting too personal. Try to be polite if they ask you about your personal business. It certainly doesn’t help that everyone in the salon can hear your conversation. You are a hair stylist, and not a therapist. You can’t give professional advice about someone else’s life, so try to keep the conversation on the straight and narrow.
When your client has been coming to you for years, but they start to try to tell you how to cut their hair, then it might be time for them to move onto a new stylist. When they are unsatisfied, or keep complaining about it, you may not be able to give them the style or color that they want. It’s okay to suggest that they come in to see someone else next time. You can politely explain that you aren’t able to provide them with the service that they want, and that someone else is better at creating that style.
It may be that they can’t get their idea across to you, so it may not be entirely your fault. Sometimes there may be other stylists that are better at a particular style than anyone else in the salon. Don’t be afraid to break up with your client. There will be many others that will come along that are better suited for you.
Many clients don’t realize that you can tell that they’ve cheated on you. You may not say anything every time, but there may be evidence that they cheat between coming to see you. If this cheating episode has really done damage to their style, you may need to politely suggest that they come to see you instead of going elsewhere. Explain to them that seeing someone else between visits is certainly messing up their cut and style, and you are having to spend more time fixing the damage and cleaning it up than you are trimming their hairstyle. Remind your run-around client that getting a less expensive cut really shows in her hair.
All out rudeness
Sometimes it seems that clients feel as though they are the only people in the world that are important to your career. Sometimes they may even be inclined to tell you how to do your job. If this is the case, remember to be polite. They are in fact a client at your salon, and your salon owner does care about their business. Kindly apologize for running a few minutes behind schedule. Then make a mental note to put in the system that this customer needs an appointment when your schedule is not behind, perhaps early in the day. When they call for their next appointment, the receptionist will take this information into consideration when booking the date.
If the client doesn’t like the style, which happens to everyone from time to time, just be patient. As long as you’ve done your best work, you shouldn’t worry. Gently remind them that you did exactly what they asked for. Try to get them to explain what they don’t like about the style. It could possibly be that they don’t like the way you dried and styled it. Remember that constructive criticism will only make you a better stylist.
All stylists have terrible clients from time to time. There are many that get eye rolls when their name is put on the books. You may have a good time talking about them during lunch, but try to keep in mind that they have paid you for a service, too. They always deserve your best work.
By Barb Quinn
Find this useful? Click here for more Salon Management tips.