Q&A

How do you fire a client?

Q.
A.

I have a form letter for a client who needs to be let go. It simply states that her patronage has been appreciated; however, due to whatever problem I have had with her, I cannot service her any longer. It’s very professional and polite, and has been very effective. My headaches and stress caused by the client go out the door with her forever. It has to get pretty bad before the letter comes out of the file – I’ve only used it twice in seven years.

Jill Hackbath

Park Avenue

Mequon, Wis.

When I have difficulty with a client who costs me money, such as one who is always late for her appointments, I talk to here nicely and explain that she is costing me money and that her needs would be met better at a salon that takes walk-ins. In this situation, there is no room for negotiation.

Jan Owston

Tresses By Twins

Reno, Nev.

Throughout my 15 years in the nail business, I’ve sent my share of clients on their way. I do top-quality work with great customer service, and I do not keep clients who mistreat me or my schedule.   My chosen method of firing a client is by letter. Most people react defensively (and often rather loudly) when confronted about their inappropriate behavior. With a letter, they can react however they choose in the privacy of their own homes. Always use language that’s neutral, and state facts, not accusations.  As a professional, you have the right to set your own boundaries about how you will allow yourself and your schedule to be treated. For those people who insist on disregarding those boundaries, you have a right to tell them to go elsewhere. Also, send your letter return-receipt or by registered mail so there is no doubt she received it.

Regina Best

Phoenix, Ariz.

I’ll tell her as tactfully as possible that I feel I’ve been unable to make her happy, and maybe she should try another nail technician. Never burn your bridges.

Holly Sowers

Win. Carr Salon

Dallas, Texas

It depends on the nature of the problem. Many technicians keep accepting the client’s behavior and let it build up inside instead of dealing with it. I give client choices. For example, if she is habitually late, I’ll tell her I have a late policy: If she’s 15 minutes late, I can’t polish her nails, and if she’s 30 minutes late, I can’t do the service. But the policy also applies to me. If I’m running behind, I either discount the service or give her a free bottle of polish. If you make the client responsible for her behavior, chances are she will correct it.

Cathryn Myers

Nail Shop of Carrollwood

Tampa, Fla.

 

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