Customer Service

The Right Response

We can daydream all we want about what we would like to say, but finding the right response for hard-to-please clients is the better choice — and ultimately yields more satisfying results.


Sue Nora Layter
<p>Sue Nora Layter</p>

Bio: Sue Nora Layter has the audacity to give you a check and ask you to hold it until next week. In her mind, she believes since she’s given you a check, she’s paid for the appointment. “Would you be able to hold this until next Tuesday?” she asks sweetly. “I’m a little short this week.”

Response: Do not hold a check for a client. You can respond with, “Well, I can’t hold the check for you, because I need it for this week’s receipts, but I don’t plan to go to the bank until tomorrow, so that gives you a day to transfer money to your checking account.” If a client asks you this over the phone, be firm. You can cancel her appointment and reschedule closer to her payday, but you can’t perform her nail service and wait for payment. If she persists and wants to know why you can’t hold the check (in her mind, you’re still getting your money) you could respond, “Because I schedule appointments with the expectation that I’ll bring home a certain amount each week. When I have to hold a check until the next week, it’s as if I’ve worked an hour for free this week, and I’m not willing to do that. Would you be willing to do that?”

Anita Ruler
<p>Anita Ruler</p>

Bio: Before she’s willing to wash her hands and have her nails polished, Miss Anita Ruler will sit at your desk, measuring each nail from different vantage points. She herself won’t know for sure if the nails are slightly uneven, but she’ll want to consult with you on each digit to get your opinion. “What do you think? See … if I line up the cuticles of my middle fingers, it looks like my nail on the right hand is slightly shorter. Can you see that?” Miss Ruler’s attention to detail can stretch the nerves of the most patient tech.

Response: You have two lines of defense: submission, which requires you to file each “imperfection” away whether of not it’s needed, or education. “Oh, yes. I do see that slight difference. Though, it seems to me that the discrepancy is actually in the length of your natural nail bed — not in the length of the extension. You see, one hand is not always an exact mirror image of the other. That’s why nail enhancements are so ideal. We can create the nails to appear to be uniform, though our natural nails differ from one finger to the next.”

Mary D. Well
<p>Mary D. Well</p>

Bio: Mary D. Well doesn’t have to work or worry about money. Mary D. Well thinks that since she runs with the “beautiful people” her money is brighter green than the working client’s money, so she can call and get an appointment whenever the whim hits her. Though not during tennis, Pilates, the gym, lunch with friends, or when it’s time for the kids to come home. Also, she’s scheduled a massage, a color, an acupuncturist appointment, and she has a meeting with the builder — but could you be a dear and squeeze her in right now?

Response: Nothing makes Mary D. Well clear her calendar like the word “no.” I know it’ll be hard. She’s a great client to have. She’s the glue that holds her social circle together, and if you get her as a client, she’ll bring in all of her friends. But unless you’re willing to say no to her urgent “emergencies,” Mary D. Well won’t ever learn to respect your schedule. Avoid telling this client “no” in a rude, disrespectful way. Apologize to her, joke with her, charm her with kindness; do whatever it takes to remain professional and helpful as you make it clear that you are not sitting idle while you wait for her call. You could say, “Oh! I’m so sorry, Mary, I can’t take you right now. I have standing appointments all afternoon. Could you come in between the gym and tennis tomorrow? How about right before the kids get home? Would Tuesdays at 1:30 work — we could make that your standing appointment, so that you always know you’re in the book.” When she realizes that you are in high demand, she’ll settle down. Nothing quiets a demanding client like a full schedule; people want what they can’t have. Be flexible, professional, and kind, but let Mary D. Well know that the best way to get the appointment she wants is to schedule it ahead of time.


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