A woman with long blonde hair and a crown with her arms folded looking stern but beautiful

The Hairstylist and the 7 most difficult clients.

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the most difficult client of them all?

Once upon a time, there was a hard working hairstylist who ran a thriving salon. She enjoyed her work and loved engaging with her clients…..well, most of them anyway. There were some difficult clients who would occasionally ruin her day and disrupt the harmonious salon environment she worked so hard to achieve.

There were seven types of these difficult clients and they really needed to be dealt with in unique ways according to their annoying and often exasperating ways.

A woman who looks like snow white holding an apple

She named these difficult clients according to their behaviours.

GRUMPY – The constant complainer.

DOC – The know it all client.

BASHFUL – The shy and indecisive client.

SLEAZY – The client who makes unwanted sexual advances.

SLEEPY – The habitual late client who sleeps in.

HAPPY – The Loud, talkative client who brings children or pets to the appointment.

DOPEY – The forgetful No-show or DIY hairdresser.

Dealing with the 7 Most Difficult Clients.

GRUMPY – The complainer.

A woman looking unhappy in a salon. complaining clients.

The constant complainer is never happy. Nothing is ever quite right and you feel that you are a gymnast, not a stylist, because you are always bending backwards to please them.

Take time to do a thorough consult with this type of client before undertaking any services. Once you have a clear picture of what the client wants, make sure you are both in agreement before you start. Always treat your client professionally and don’t take their nitpicking personally. They are probably in a habit of complaining about anything and everything in their lives anyway. Chances are once they leave your salon, they will quickly find something else to moan about.

If your client is unhappy with your service, try to de-escalate the situation as quickly as possible to come to a mutual agreement on how to move forward. Never accept abusive behaviour and remain calm at all times. To learn more about how to handle customer complaints go to https://www.getneko.com/how-to-handle-customer-complaints-in-your-spa-salon-or-barbershop/

If your client is a chronic complainer, feel free to suggest another stylist in your salon or if this client is simply too much trouble, politely suggest they find another salon better suited to their needs.

Remember to always document any complaints in detail on your Neko Salon Software customisable client card, in the event that the client takes any further action.

DOC – The Know It All.

A woman wearing a crown looking like a know it all salon client.

Ahh, the know it all client. This client has a friend or relative who is a hair stylist, so they believe they are very educated in hairdressing. They may even have watched a few YouTube or Instagram videos and think they can question your choices or techniques. They may even bring up the dreaded, “My old hairdresser used to do it another way”, and expect you to explain why you are doing things differently.

In these situations, it is always best to keep your cool and remain neutral (hard, I know). Listen politely and maybe even ask the client a few technical questions….watch how quickly they realise they are out of their depth and clam up. Never be sarcastic or condescending and take comfort in the fact that you have professional skills and believe in your abilities. You may like to say something like “You are in good hands. I have training in numerous techniques and am confident in my ability”. Being assertive and confident is key. https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/ten-tips/10-tips-for-being-assertive

BASHFUL – The Shy or Indecisive Client.

a mouth with red lips and biting the bottom lip because they are an indecisive salon client.

This difficult client needs a little coaxing to open up. They may be painfully shy or awkward and need extra time to feel comfortable enough to express what they want. Try not to be overbearing or intimidating and never rush them to make up their mind. This client may become one of your most loyal clients when they feel heard and comfortable in your salon. So take the time to listen and also take note of subtle cues like body language. To read more about How to use non-verbal communication in your salon go to https://www.getneko.com/how-to-use-non-verbal-communication-in-your-salon/

Be sure to provide a thorough consultation with this difficult client as they may also be indecisive or vague about what they want to achieve. If you are unsure, clarify by showing the client pictures and colour swatches to really understand their thinking. This client may also just say “Whatever you think”, but don’t fall into this trap. This is the territory where unhappy clients are made. You must both agree on the details before commencing the service. To Learn more about conducting a great client consult go to https://www.getneko.com/the-key-to-mastering-client-consultations/

SLEAZY – You Know the One.

A man with sunglasses looking like a sleazy salon client.

This difficult client uses sexual innuendos and makes unwanted sexual advances. This behaviour is unacceptable and you should shut it down immediately. No one should be expected to tolerate this behaviour in the workplace. Male or Female…Period!

Be careful not to fall into an uncomfortable situation by shaking it off as a joke or acting coy. You must be assertive and tell the client “Your comments are not acceptable here” and if they keep going or escalate, simply state “If you keep talking like that I will have to ask you to leave the premises”. If you feel unsafe, notify a co-worker or manager and don’t hesitate to call the police if things get really out of hand.

The other type of sleazy client is the one who purposely tries to get a discount or a refund by acting as if they are unhappy with the outcome. Those are few and far between, but they can be encountered once in while. Other scenarios involve, “Oh sorry, I’ve forgotten my wallet” or paying with a credit card that is declined at the point of sale. You must make sure you have a clear salon policy in place to deal with these issues should they arise.

SLEEPY – Late Again!

A woman in bed looking at her clock and running late for her salon appointment.

“Sorry, I’m late. I slept in”….blah, blah, blah. We have heard it all before, the client that is always late or cancels at the last minute. If you have a difficult client that is constantly late, you really need to let them know that it is not acceptable. Some clients genuinely don’t think that its a big deal to be late for a hair appointment because it is somewhere they go to relax and get pampered, so letting them know that you have other clients to consider may help them understand. If they are habitually 5-10 minutes late, try to factor that into your schedule. I know it is frustrating but it is better to have an imperfect client than no client at all.

The other thing you might like to consider is setting a boundary with a client who always comes really late. If they are 20 or more minutes late, then they lose their appointment and of course, you will have taken a 50% deposit when booking to ensure you are not left out of pocket. This is a great deterrent for these clients to come on time. Problem solved.

HAPPY – Loud, overshares or may bring children or pets to appointments.

A woman who yelling loudly through a mega phone.

This type of difficult client is usually loud, talks incessantly and is unaware they are annoying other clients. They may also have a habit of oversharing. Hairstylists often have clients that overshare and think we are their therapists, but this type may talk loudly about sensitive or unsavoury topics that really shouldn’t be discussed in public. Your best way to deal with these types of difficult clients is to either politely steer the conversation to something else or if they don’t get the hint, simply say, “Can we talk about something else, some of our other clients may be offended by that subject”

Then we have the loud phone talker….they talk so loud that you can’t even hear yourself think (obviously not using their inside voice). They are happily chatting away with no consideration for anybody else in the room. It can be very distracting and downright annoying. If you are finding this is a problem in your salon, maybe you should consider displaying a sign that asks your client to put their phones on silent as a courtesy to other clients and stylists.

Happy may also come to the appointment with a swag of kids in tow and expect staff to babysit while they are sitting back and relaxing. Or they just let their children run amok and don’t seem to even notice the carnage left in their wake. This is just not on! You are providing a professional service, so you need to nip this issue in the bud, pronto. Simply tell this client that next time they will have to make other arrangements for their children as a hair salon is not a safe environment for children. Deal with it quick, politely and be firm.

The same goes for fur babies. Dogs or any other pets are just not suited to a salon environment unless of course, it is a guide dog. A smelly, yappy dog is not something you need or want in your salon.

DOPEY – The forgetful No-Show or the DIY Hairdresser.

a man with long hair cutting it by himself with scissors.

This is the forgetful and flakey client that often does not turn up for appointments. You are left twiddling your thumbs waiting for your next client. Yes, sometimes unexpected things happen and your client cancels at the last minute but if this is a regular occurrence, you need to take action to stop this behaviour. It’s costing you money! If you are already doing everything you can to reduce No-shows, like SMS reminders, then you must start charging these clients when they book. Draw up a cancellation policy and dont be afraid to implement it. To read more on how to reduce No-shows go to https://www.getneko.com/10-ways-to-reduce-salon-no-shows/

If your client isn’t happy with the new arrangement, they can always go elsewhere. You are losing money from these clients anyway so say goodbye to time wasters.

Then we come to the DIY hairdresser. They may dye their own hair at home with a box colour and deny it…sad but true. Some clients are either too embarrassed to admit it or are just outright lying. At the end of the day, it is their hair and they can do what they want to it but make it clear that you charge extra for colour corrections and the results may be unpredictable.

Then there is the at-home cutter. They take a little off here or there, give themselves layers or cut their bangs. It is very frustrating as you have to fix up the mess but this could be a sign that your client wasn’t quite happy with their cut in the first place. So maybe its time for good old fashioned consultation.

Clients often cut their bangs because they grow too long in-between visits. Instead of getting Bangry, (No, that’s not a typo), it’s the anger a stylist gets when clients cut their own bangs. Maybe you could consider offering a complementary or charge a small fee for in-between fringe trims. Problem solved.

So remember, life as a hairstylist is not a always a fairy tail but most of the time we get to live happily ever after our clients leave the salon.

Always try to remain patient with these difficult clients and always be fair….the fairest of them all!

I hope you enjoyed this blog and gained some useful tips on dealing with difficult clients. At Neko, we enjoy imparting useful business knowledge to our clients.

If your Salon isn’t already using Neko Salon Software, its time to get on board so you can document all the details about your clients in one easy to access and safe location.  

Why not try it for yourself. Sign up today for a free 14-day trial. https://www.getneko.com/free-trial/

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