Before You Write That Problem Client Off …

by Holly Schippers | May 6, 2011

Do you have problem clients? I bet a face or two just popped into your mind’s eye! What do you consider a problem client? Some issues that we run into are not necessarily that the person is a problem client but that we don’t like something about them. There can be a personality conflict or a misunderstanding from one side or the other. Don’t get me wrong, there are just flat out problem clients, but let’s explore what is a problem and what is a fixable issue.


Got a picker? Drive you crazy? Some pickers can be reformed; it just takes some patience and understanding on your part combined with willingness to do home care on their part. A lot of people who pick would not pick if they couldn’t find something there to pick at.  This means you need to be meticulous in their cuticle work, diligent about keeping product off the skin, and be sure there are no snags left behind.  They are great candidates for occasional spa manicures to remove dead skin that is easy to pick at. A good home regimen would include a quality oil and an exfoliating scrub that they could easily use in the shower concentrating on the skin around the nails and at the tips of the finger. I have biters follow this same regimen. My favorite retail duo for these clients to use nightly is Cuticle Eraser and Solar Oil as their shampoo and conditioner for the nails. The Cuticle Eraser with micro-exfoliate and the Solar Oil condition.  If you use a line besides CND, look through the product offerings and see what you can come up with for a similar combo. Some biters and pickers cannot help themselves; it is a matter of therapy.  If you don’t mind fixing the damage and they are happy to pay you for the extra time it takes, be a sympathetic ear and you may find over time that that in itself will make a difference.


How about the person that just walked in with her own tools? Do you roll your eyes and think oh help me? This is someone that is possibly in fear of a service, convinced the media tells the truth about nail salons, or just wants to have their own stuff for whatever reason. There are several ways you could approach this. If the tools are of a useable quality, explain and demonstrate that they must first be scrubbed with soap and water using a brush, then disinfected. Ask if she would please come in 15 minutes early in the future to allow for this to be completed before the appointment. If the tool quality is questionable, a quick tour and explanation of what you do and why you would prefer to please use your tools may soothe the fears. If the two of you cannot find a meeting ground, don’t be offended or angry, just be truthful of your position and understanding of their fears and thank them for coming in as you let them know of another salon in town to try.


Ms. My-time-is-so-much-more-important-than-yours-that-I-can-never-be-on-time. Have you met her? This is sometimes just a sign of a disrespectful and arrogant person; it can also just be someone who is a little scatterbrained or overburdened at home. Offer to move the appointment time at first; there may be a better time of day when she could be more diligent about being timely. For some it is earlier in the day before they get behind on everything, and for others it is later.  You can also tell them that you are writing down the appointment time 15 minutes early on the reminder card. Chances are if being late is just from being overwhelmed she will not remember about the adjustment and show up on time since the card showed 15 minutes early. If these tricks don’t work there is always the option to just be upfront. Let her know how much you appreciate her patronage, but that you can no longer in good conscience let her run everyone else’s appointments behind.  Mention you would love to give her another chance, and if it doesn’t work out you will be sorry to see her go and are positive she will be happier with someone that can better accommodate her schedule.


These were just a few of the most common things I hear about as issues from nail professionals. What other things do you run into? How do you handle problem clients? Do you take the time to make sure they are a true problem before writing them off as a bad client? Looking forward to hearing some advice from you!


— Holly


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