“Also, our cancellation policy is really strict and we implement it. We ask clients to be on time. If you don’t show up for your appointment, you can’t book another one until that time is paid for. If you cancel the same day, we’ll give you an option to come later in the day, but there is an additional $20 fee.”
Don Bewley, Founder of Eufora: “When a client has an issue with her service, you have to be careful how you handle it. I had a close friend whose client came in and complained to the owner and the owner publicly sided with the client— my friend never forgot it. When she finally quit she told the owner, she never forgave him for that incident.
“Naturally, not everyone can service to everyone’s expectations, but it’s our job as a team to try and keep each client happy. If you have to reassign a complaining client to a different stylist, let the stylist know it’s the client’s issue, not hers.”
Ginny Eramo, owner of Interlocks in Newburyport, Massachusetts: “I fire them! I have no problem with that, but I do it with a lot of honesty and tact. I never do it face to face, but over the phone. We genuinely try to make people happy, but when a client is abusive to the staff, I draw the line. I say, ‘I’m really sorry, we’ve done our best to meet your expectations. It’s in your best interest to visit another salon.’ And, I do it without being confrontational. There’s never an argument, they are just silent.
“I’ve done it less than 10 times in 23 years, but I keep a file of problematic clients, so if it comes to a point where I need to end a relationship, especially if there is sexual harassment, I have documentation.”
Christine Zilinski, owner of Salon Concrete in Red Bank, New Jersey: “We have a Guest Feedback Form and Survey that clients complete after their service. This helps us track each client visit. It is important to have a tracking device so you can understand the client’s pattern. Document anytime there is an issue and have a lead person or the owner contacted. This person should sit down with the service provider and talk about the issue and the client consultation.
“We create solutions for this client, but if it isn’t working and the client has complained more than four or five times, chances are the person is not recommending people to the salon and is just not a fan. When the client has become too much work, it’s time to fire them. The conversation could go something like: ‘Based on our history together, I’ve noticed a pattern. We’ve kept track of your visits and understand that you haven’t been happy. We may not be the right fit for one another, and we’d like to recommend a salon where you may be happier.’
“Don’t place blame, and take equal responsibility. It is important to maintain a relationship with this person, because you don’t want them to bad-mouth your salon. They may still recommend people who will be a good fit for the salon. If you approach this situation the right way, there can be a happy ending for both parties.”