Anyone in customer service knows all too well what it’s like when a client comes in with unreasonable demands and expectations. They usually have an attitude to match. Dealing with difficult people is all just part of the business, but even the most seasoned veteran can find certain people or situations very challenging. Whether it’s a walk-in you hope never darkens your door again or a zany regular who is just one of those facts of life, we all must deal with a client who wants us to do the impossible. At the end of the day, their hair is in your care. If they want a breakup makeover that you know will leave them in tears or a chemical treatment that will damage their hair, you owe it to them to encourage better choices. And if what they want is for you to treat them like they’re royalty and you’re a peasant, well, you can’t let that happen, either.
Even at times like those, however, it’s important to be professional and do your best to meet their needs, especially in the era of social media and online business review sites. But it can be hard to walk the line of giving people what they want when they want the moon and still providing customer service that satisfies them and leaves you with your self-respect.
A little preparation for those sorts of situations can really help, however, so check out our list of five tips for handling unreasonable clients below. Once you’re prepared for the worst, you can keep your cool when the worst shows up. Once you’ve handled it, you’ll have a great story you can tell over drinks with your friends who also work in salons in Lawton!
It may seem obvious, but it can be hard to remember to keep your cool when you’re in the moment. When a customer is being truly irrational, remind yourself to remain calm and professional at all times. Breathe in, breathe out and keep the conversation going. Use whatever techniques you need to keep yourself from wigging out at your client.
Appeal to their reason with your expertise if they’re demanding a style or treatment that won’t work for their hair. Don’t forget that you can appeal to their higher sense of decency, too, if they’re just being rude or arbitrary. Staying in control of yourself and refusing to show your anger means you’ll be coming from a position of strength when dealing with customers.
They say “the customer is always right” but we all know that’s not true. And remember, while that saying might have been the policy at the place you used to work, you now own your own mini salon suite in Lawton. You make the rules, and you can decide exactly how much you care to put up with in a client!
Understand Your Client’s Point of View
Let’s say you’re dealing with an unreasonable request. A client with really curly hair wants a shaggy short cut that won’t look anything like she’s imagining or a man with thin hair wants a style he can’t sustain. We’re all familiar with tons of examples like these. It can be hard to dash their dreams in the cold water of reality, but as a salon professional, part of your job is helping your clients make good choices. The best possible way to handle this situation is to understand your client’s point of view. Go on a “customer needs discovery” with them. Ask questions. Get to the bottom of what they’re trying to achieve, stylistically speaking. This will help you give them a haircut they love, even if it’s not the haircut they demanded when they first walked in the door.
Help Them Understand the Consequences
When a client comes in with some gonzo request, take a few minutes to talk them through the reality of their decision, as we discussed above. Most times you’ll be able to get them to see reason, but when nothing else will do, you can try one final thing: telling them in no uncertain terms what the results of their choice will be. Maybe your customer doesn’t realize the gravity of the situation, but with your help, she may be able to understand better what will happen if she demands you carry out her requests. Just remember, if you find the right way to say things, people will be more inclined to listen. “I hate to disappoint you, but in my professional opinion,” when said in a calm but firm tone, can really turn the tide of a conversation with a difficult client.
Try Exploring the Alternatives
As we mentioned above, offering alternatives can be a good solution to serving a client who wants an impossible cut, color, or style. We live in a golden age of fashion and of technology. Apps can help you show a client what a different hairstyle might look on him or her. A temporary product can offer a preview of a bold color change without the commitment. Find a way to help them visualize what they want before committing fully to a radical style departure!
… or Refuse Politely
Sometimes you just know that the style, cut, or color your customer is demanding going to be a complete and total disaster. Whether it’s something that’s beyond the skill or scope of your talents or if you just know it’ll be hideous or unsafe and they’ll be disappointed or angry, the only thing you can do is be honest and then refuse if the client won’t change her mind. Doing something terrible to your client won’t help them any, and frankly, it won’t work out well for you, either. Don’t invite the conflict. It’s better to send away a customer who’s angry with you personally for denying them a service than to perform a service on a customer who’s angry with you for destroying her hair.
Cut Them Loose?
No one wants to send away a client, but in some very rare cases it may be worth your sanity to do so. Regular readers of this blog will know that every single one of your clients can be estimated to bring in about $1,500 in annual revenue, so it’s good in some cases to just grin and bear it. But in other cases, you’ll be happier if you make room in your schedule for new clients who appreciate you and listen to your expertise.
Salons de Beauté is a great place for salon workers who want to determine who they want to work with and what they do. Contact us today and enjoy the freedom that comes with determining your hours, clients, and services!