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Have you ever cut or colored someone’s hair and at the end of the appointment, they say they love it, pay you (with tip) and you send them on their merry way? Of course, that happens every day! Well, we all know that once in a blue moon, that same person contacts you the very next morning through phone or text and says that she is unhappy and wants her money back, or asks if you can to re-do it. Yep, it happens. How do you respond? It often puts people at a loss for words. You thought everyone was happy and then suddenly you are hit with this confusion. How do you handle it? There are a couple of things that you can do. You can get mad, curl into a ball and cry. Or you can follow these simple steps below. They can certainly save you from making costly mistakes, reduce your stress and high blood pressure, and potentially save you from losing a client.

Understand that every situation is different; take your time to approach them in a strategic way. So, here it goes:

Apply my CURL method. This is great for problem solving and always helps me when I am in a pickle. If you haven’t heard about it, here are the steps to my CURL method:

C: Calm down. Nothing gets done if you lose control of yourself. Put your emotions to the side.

U: Uncover the Issue. Ask open ended questions to figure out where it all went wrong.

R: Resolve the situation. Fix the error and satisfy the client to the best of your ability.

L: Learn from it. Every situation has a lesson to be learned, good or bad.

So, in this situation, you want to ask the right questions in order to figure out if it’s possible to make a happy customer out of a disgruntled one. One of the worst things that you can do (and believe me because I have done it) is get offended and take it personally. Although you may feel that you did an amazing job on the client’s hair, she doesn’t like it and she has to wear it. So ask lots of questions to find out what exactly it is that they don’t love. It might actually be an easy fix!

  1. Before automatically giving the client a refund, you should offer to re-do the service at no additional cost to the client. This way if they are upset, you have an opportunity to fix it, apologize, remain professional, and show them that you really do care. Make sure you watch your tone and delivery. Remain calm. Watch your body language (avoid crossing arms, rolling eyes, sighing, and especially telling them they are wrong).
  2. A general guide for a re-do, timeline is 7-10 days from the date of service. After that time period is up, then it turns into questioning whether or not this client may or may not be ethical or trying to get something free or additional. Again, each guest is different. Use your judgement as well as your relationship history with your guest.
  3. If the client is unwilling to agree to a re-do and wants a refund, discuss the service that he/she received, why they feel that the expectations were not met and if you come to an understanding, offer a refund. And keep in mind, that you don’t have to give a full refund. If you feel like you did a great job, or the circumstances are questionable, you do not have to grant one or you can compromise and meet them halfway. But understand, it is not required of you to give one. It’s your choice.
  4. Finally, understand that you are a service provider. You are human. You are not a magician and you cannot please every single person. Always do your best, keep it professional, and keep on slaying some hair! You got this!

About the Author: Demetria Gilkey

Demetria Brand Gilkey is a Bowling Green, KY native where she earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marketing in 2008 from Western Kentucky University. After working in Corporate America, Demetria felt that her desire to attend cosmetology school was yet to be fulfilled. So, she enrolled at Paul Mitchell the School-Louisville. In 2012, Demetria received the prestigious BEACON award by participating in a national cosmetology contest. Shortly after, she opened her own salon, Hair by Demi B in Louisville, KY at Sola Salon Studios; later re-naming it Curly by Nature. She has built a huge clientele all by creating amazing unforgettable experiences with her guests.


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