Have you ever gotten, or worse, sent an email meant for someone else? I received one recently. The sender, understandably mortified, pleaded with me not to say a word. I, too, was
embarrassed and agreed.
The email above was accidental, but sharing clients' lives in the breakroom creates the same damage. Most often, it comes to nothing, but I've witnessed gossip escalating into legal action
against a salon and stylist. When you reveal information not of public concern that a reasonable person would find offensive, you violate the code of confidentiality. Don't go there.
And did you know it doesn't have to be something juicy? Sharing an address, phone number, family member's name, lifestyle, marriage status, and where your client lives or works breaks client confidentiality. I would not like my hairdresser to give my phone number to anyone, would you?
What about in case of an emergency? Evidence of severe physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect is why you disclose what you know to the proper authorities, and when there is
evidence of serious self-harm (including drug or alcohol misuse) that may be life-threatening or when suicide is threatened or attempted.
In addition to word of mouth, be careful with digital security. You might want to invest in software to protect clients' personal information from online threats is crucial. Safeguarding
sensitive data, such as appointment schedules, contact details, and payment information, ensures a trustworthy and secure environment for clients and professionals.
Responding to details of other clients' lives in the salon can be tricky. I prefer not knowing and became a master at changing the subject. Then I saw a newspaper cartoon of a man on a couch speaking to his psychiatrist, who took advantage of the patient's closed eyes and left the room. That cartoon was my go-ahead nod to become the unabashed rent-a-confidant I am today.
Clients can go anywhere with their chatter if the healing is in the telling, not my response. It doesn't feel insincere for me to try to safeguard my nerves and mental fitness to listen and just smile and say, "Really?"
Stay out of other people's lives. Think, talk, and walk confidentially to uphold your professionalism. Lend a compassionate ear or be a sounding board for those who open up to
you. Then try to forget what was shared. Your career depends on it.
Carlos Valenzuela is a bilingual writer and a past global beauty educator with a master's in international business. He writes about positivism and success for Modern Salon. and is the author of the multi-award-winning novella Letters to Young Carlos and its sequel, Camaleón: The Lost Years Living in the Closet.
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