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How To Handle Difficult Clients image

With so much uncertainty surrounding us, the one thing you can be certain of is the clients who used to sit in your chair pre-pandemic are different people now. This year has changed us all. We have new mindsets, priorities, and new expectations. 

These shifts in mindset can manifest in your interactions with clients in many ways, including an increase in clients rescheduling or canceling appointments, more correctional work from at-home-hair care gone bad, and an increased feeling of burnout and exhaustion from all of this COVID fatigue.

If any of those feel like you, you are not alone! We’re here to help you overcome these new internal and external challenges and find your flow again behind the chair. 

“Everyone has moments that are hard behind the chair, even the best stylists you see on Instagram...These moments will pass.” - Katie Oakes, 2020 Faces of Sola


For when your clients won’t stop rescheduling:

Use a salon management system like SolaGenius to take the stress out of rescheduling. SolaGenius has automated text message and email reminders so clients have a heads up before their appointment, with the option to confirm or cancel directly in the text. SolaGenius’s online booking feature also allows clients to reschedule appointments at their convenience without having to deal with any back and forth calendar coordination. Having an easily-accessible booking platform makes rescheduling clients much more manageable. 

For when clients keep canceling:

If you are finding yourself facing lots of last-minute cancellations, make sure you have a cancellation policy in place and make it visible to all your clients - both in your salon and online. Post your policy on your website, booking site, and all of your social media channels. 2020 Faces of Sola, Katie Oakes, constantly reminds her clients of her cancellation policy, saving it as a highlight on her Instagram page and reposting it regularly to her Instagram Stories, so if any clients try to cancel within 24 hours of their appointment, they know they will be charged 50% of the scheduled service price. Of course, there are always emergencies that come up, especially in our current COVID world, and Katie recommends handling those on a case-by-case basis.

What do you do with a client that is constantly canceling and rescheduling?

If you have one client in particular who tends to always be canceling and rescheduling, it’s time to have that tough conversation. Here is a loose script you can use:

“Hey XX, I’ve noticed that you’ve rescheduled the day before for your past few appointments, so I wanted to remind you of my cancellation policy. It is... 

Unfortunately, in order to reschedule your next appointment, I will require a deposit this time because you have violated my policy.”

Katie says that her clients usually have no problem putting down a deposit, and it usually makes them stick to those appointments!

What to do about redos:

As someone wise once said, “You can’t please everyone. You’re not an avocado.” The reality is there will be clients that, no matter how hard you try, will still be unhappy with their service. These days, people have so much on their mind, it’s not uncommon to focus on one thing that can actually control - like the way their hair looks - to help them deal with all the other things in the world that are completely out of our control. 

So although you might feel defeated when a client comes back to you unhappy with their service, take a breath, swallow your pride, channel your inner Beyonce, and make some lemonade! This is an opportunity to give your once unhappy client an above and beyond experience that demonstrates how much you care. 

Breaking up with a client:

What about those clients that you can’t ever seem to make happy, and you feel like you’re fixing their hair every time they leave or rescheduling them every time they book an appointment? Now it’s time to tell them, “It’s not you, it’s me,” and preserve your energy for the clients who fill you up rather than leave you drained and frustrated. Use this loose script to help you through this challenging break-up conversation.

“Hey XX, I don’t think you’ve been happy with your past few appointments. I’m not sure if it’s a miscommunication on my end, but I’ve been hoping we’d get on the same page and it just doesn’t seem like we are. While I’ve thoroughly enjoyed having you in my chair, I’m not sure I am the best fit for you. I know there’s someone out there that will understand your needs and leave you feeling happy every time you come in for an appointment. I have a feeling my Sola neighbor down the hall will be a great fit for you. Plus, I know they’ve got availability on the same day and time as your next appointment. Would you like me to put you in touch?”

Navigating Imposter Syndrome:

Imposter Syndrome is defined as “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success.” If you’ve been feeling an unusually high level of self-doubt lately, it’s very possible it could be caused by some of the issues listed above that are becoming a common occurrence in our community.

Feelings of discomfort are usually shortly followed by moments of growth. It’s okay if you’re not the best fit for every single client who walks into your salon or if you find yourself having more uncomfortable conversations than you’re used to. We’re here to remind you that you are not an imposter. In fact, you are exactly where you are meant to be.