How to deal with difficult customers

Q: What’s the best way to deal with difficult customers? 

The customer is always right, right? In a perfect world, this would be the case but unfortunately difficult clients are just part of being in business. With the growing world of online blogs and reviews, the threat of clients leaving negative feedback on social media and damaging your salon’s reputation is always a cause for concern. 

No one would blame you for feeling like you’re almost being held to ransom if a customer wants to complain. Nobody likes confrontation and I’m sure the majority of clients want to enjoy their salon experience, so it’s in everyone’s best interest to resolve issues that come along as quickly and efficiently as possible. 

Do you have a client who’s never on time? The next time they are more than 15 minutes late, tell them you’re sorry but they will have to rebook, explaining that fitting them in would cause your other appointments to run late and that you have a responsibility to all your clients. This way, you deal with the issue constructively and there’s a good chance the client will arrive on the dot next time. 

What about unhappy clients? The best thing to do is to address the situation head on. Ask the client why they’re upset and then try to resolve the issue before they leave the salon, booking them in for another appointment free of charge or fixing the problem, for example, a chipped nail, there and then. This way, the client will be less likely to comment negatively about your business on social media. 

The most important thing in any of these situations is to remain calm and move the customer away from other clients so it causes less of a scene in the salon. If the complaint involves a member of staff, speak to them separately because there are always two points of view.

However, if you think the client is taking advantage and feel the complaint isn’t valid, then you are within your rights to refuse to treat them. 

Anna GermaineAnna Germaine is director of beauty product manufacturer The Edge Nail and Beauty. She has 25 years’ industry experience. 

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