We all experience the moody client in our chair. You know you are in for it as you approach the reception area. The receptionists sit huddled and silent after attempting a cheerful greeting. Not good, you think.
You have two basic choices: refuse to work with a difficult client, or make the most of it. A third option is to fight the client at every snip and curl—a poor choice that never works well. If you are going for it—jump in with your best professionalism and good intentions—or pass.
In my early years, I wondered, why would a client show up to the salon ticked off? Stay home. Go away. Here are some insights I uncovered:
1. Some clients just do not like coming to the salon. “Don’t take it personally, Carlos, but coming to the salon is akin to me going to the dentist. I hate it,” said my first client last Thursday. I kept my conversation to a minimum and got her out in record time. Clients appreciate quality delivered within a reasonably short time. If you are good and fast, that’s a big plus for clients.
2. Respect the client/provider relationship. Leave all control to the moody client—don’t do one up quips nor assume anything. Ask before you act. “Are you in a hurry? What time do you need to be out of here? Do you have time for deep conditioning?” Asking thoughtful questions diffuses the client’s anxiety or anger level.
3. This one is not going to make me any fans: clients may like your talent but not necessarily engaging you personally. Also shared by a client, “I loved how she did my hair, but I didn’t look forward to visiting and the conversation.” This client shows up with a book, keeps busy on a tablet while you work or uses the phone to interrupt your chatter. Silence is fine, actually preferable, with me.
4. Some clients eventually become like friends. But, are they? Since we seek approval of our work by the client, it’s easy to jump to conclusions. I try to always distinguish between courtesies and friendships and keep it polite, but professional.
5. Don’t apply a blanket friendship rule to all. Clients may not want to know about your weekend. There is abundant proof you make more money when you keep it professional. More on this last statement in a future blog.
Wishing you tons of happy clients.
Carlos Valenzuela is a hairdresser, international educator, salon and beauty school owner, author and frequent speaker at major beauty events. www.facebook.com/carvalstylist/