Dealing with a nightmare client isn’t a nail tech’s favorite part of the job, but it can be done in a quick and relatively painless manner. From writing letter to being Straightforward with her from the start, you can Straight that chronic complainer out or clump her for good.
You love your job and most of your clients, but there’s one in particular who just drives you crazy. She always arrives late for her appointments, constantly complaints her nails, and is generally never satisfied with anything. You’re so fed up with her that you’ve actually reached the point where your stomach starts to turn whenever you know she’s coming in for an appointment. When that starts to happen, you may need to give your client the boot.
But how do you go about firing a client? Is there an ideal way to do it and should you even brother? Julie Shepperly, a trainer and consultant with Salon Training, an Oceanside, Calif. –based organization that provides salons with management training, says you absolutely can get rid of an unruly client. And many times, you can even turn that bad client into a great customer. But, you have to make sure you stand your ground and let your client know from the start where your relationship stands. That’s the key to keeping a client — and yourself — happy.
Stand Up for Yourself
It’s important to keep in mind that you can’t let clients hold you hostage. That translates into not saying anything to her for fear confrontation or losing business.
become clear about a few things”, says Shepperly. “What do you want your client relationship to look like? You need to choose how your client relationships are going to be, then stand up that and nothing less.”
Kimberly Lesser, nail tech at Salon Lerrone in Palatine, Ill., says she’s avoided the nasty letting-go–of-a-client situation simply because she’s been honest from the start “I’m very matter-of-fact with my clients from the get-go,” Lesser says. “If they are always late or don’t show up for appointments, I’ll suggest that we find a nail tech who has more flexibility with her schedule to accommodate them. So far, these discussions have always stopped the problem and I’ve never had anyone take me up on that offer.”
If you don’t fire your client or better the situation between the two of you, the only thing that will happen is you, will make for one unhappy nail tech, and that feeling may seep into others aspects of your job and your life.
The Time Has Come to Say Goodbye
Why do clients become unbearable in the first place? Have their last few nail appointments really been that bad? Not necessarily, says Shepperly. “If you’re dealing with a client who complaints about everything — right down to how uncomfortable her chair is — that person is unhappy everywhere,” she says.
That means she’s not only unhappy with her nails and with the salon, she’s also likely to be yelling at people when she’s driving pr when she’s at the grocery store.
But it could also be that she’s had nightmare experiences at other salons and is expecting mire of the same bad service from you.
Or, it could even be you who is exacerbating the situation. “Typically nail techs end up wanting to fire a client because she keeps talking from them and expecting freebies,” Shepperly says. So all those times you’ve given free nail repairs while doing a fill? No good, she says. “That’s when nail techs get themselves backed into a corner.”
But the question remains: When should you say goodbye to a client? That really depends on you. If you’re patient, then it might take you longer to reach the point of no return. If you’re the type of person who gets easily riled up, then you might have to say goodbye to a client much quicker.
Whatever the personality type, Shepperly recommends that nail techs use a “three strikes you’re out” rule. “If the client has a problem, have her come back to you and try to fix it,” she says, “If the client comes back after that, help her again. If she’s not happy by her third visit, then say goodbye.”
Make sure you have a straight conversation with her client. Or, if you prefer, write her a letter or talk to her over the telephone. Tell her you’ve done everything you can to make her happy, but nothing has seemed to written script (see page 106).
When your bad client doesn’t get the hint, go back to the script and reiterate that you have been unable to satisfy her on several of her last appointments and wish to recommend someone that you feel would be better suited for the job.
However, if you’ve done all that you can to let her know she’s not wanted, and she’s still not getting the hint, then it’s time for the salon owner or nail manger to step in.
That’s exactly the situation Pam Karousis of Nail Designs Unlimited in Cortland, Ohio, was facing. After sending one of her “most miserable, hateful clients” a letter stating why she could no longer do her nails, the client called the salon and informed the owner that she had to make Karousis do her nails.
“I was working on another client at the time when the owner told me Ms. Miserable was waiting on the phone for my reply,” Karousis says. “In a very calm voice I said, ‘you can tell her that I would rather quit my job here than ever do her nails again.”
That quickly prompted the owner to inform the client that she couldn’t make her employees work on someone they were uncomfortable with.
Should You Take a Client Back?
So you’ve gotten rid of your client and everything is fine and dandy. You’ve been happily working away on other clients, knowing you no longer have to deal with her, when one day the phone rings and it’s her. She’s begging and pleading for you to take her back, saying she’s changed her ways and won’t give you more problems. You’re a bit reluctant to take her back, simply because you’re all too familiar with her now supposed old way. But then again, she sounds so convincing. What’s a nail tech to do?
“When a client begs you to let her come back, it’s really a judgment call on the nail tech’s part,” Shepperly says. “That’s when she needs to listen to her inner voice.”
Shepperly, who a nail technician before her career as a consultant, says she’s had clients turn into great ones simply because she was honest and straightforward with them. “I told one client that every time she’d come in for an appointment she’d complain about something. She hadn’t realized she was doing that stopped,” she says.
Don’t be afraid to stand up for yourself and dump that client who’s been making your life miserable. You may even make her realize what she’s been doing and cause her to change her ways. After all, you’ve earned the right to enjoy your job and you shouldn’t have to dread it on account pf one person.