Discussion Board:
Bulletin Boards > A day in the life of.... > How do I "break up" with a bad client?
Posted By:
Posted By:heatherorchid on: 6/7/2006 10:27:59 AM


Display:
Author: Thread: How do I "break up" with a bad client?
heatherorchid
Posts: 18

How do I "break up" with a bad client?
Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:27:59 AM

Don't get me wrong, My clients are usually great, but I have one single client who makes me question my level of ability to do hair every time she comes in. She makes it hard to concentrate on other clients the day she is booked because I worry about her newest low blow to my work. Every time I do her hair she loves it until she gets home, she also brings her teen daughter in too and her daughter will love her hair when she leaves, but her mother will go home and tell her how bad it looks and want it re-done!!  The problem is for two years+ She and her daughter have gotten their haircolor, highlight, and cuts, re-done almost every time they come in.  It is costing me time and money. I have tried to tell her in a professional manner that I cannot make her happy, and that she can try a different stylist,  but that was two years ago and she is still coming in. I finally broke down and started charging her for the re-do, but the first time I did, she walked out and did not pay!UGH!!! I don't know what to do, but she clouds my dream of being a happy, creative, sucessful, hair artist. How do I "Break Up" with this client?



doinghairagain
Posts: 49

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 10:44:19 AM
I would not break up exactly. I think I would do the haircut and say that I won't have time for any redos, so make sure I have cut enough before you leave. I would turn her around with a mirror to show the back, without the cape on, I would stand her up close to the mirror in the front, and ask, " are you all set ?" then, when she calls to complain, I would say , " I'm sorry, I don't have time for this, I'll see you in 6 weeks"

heatherorchid
Posts: 18

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 11:36:43 AM
Thank you doinghairagain for your response.  But, The problem isn't just the haircut by any means, she is never happy with Anything I do. I've already given her the mirror and literally let her inspect it before she leaves.  I feel as though I have tried everything except cutting ties with her and I just need to know the poitically correct way to do so. Sounds bad I know, but how else do you lose the stress of a problem client? 

pinkparagon
Posts: 187
Bronze Member

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 1:45:01 PM
We had a similar client in a salon I once worked in. We were all booth renters, and the owner "handed down" a client. We soon found out why she was eager to give this one away. None of us ever made her happy -- she always made whoever had done her retouch do it over, in spite of the fact that there was never anything wrong with it. She would micromanage her haircuts to the point that we all wanted to tell her to cut it herself. On top of all else, she was very religious, and would sit piously and conspicuosly reading her bible, then pause periodically to lift her head up and preach to us on such topics as materialism (before leaving the salon in her new Infiniti). Finally, after the third redo of the same cut and color service, one of the other stylists called her and told her she would not be able to accept appoinments from her anymore, and why. She was very angry, but then sent flowers and a note of apology the next day, but this stylist held her ground, and also told her that none of the rest of us wanted to do her hair anymore either. I presume she is making the rounds of stylists at some other salon until they also have enough and refuse to provide services.

This type of behavior is abusive. I think a lot of people have psychological issues that somehow become tied in with their hair. Many times they just don't like themselves, and expect us to pull out a magic comb and somehow fix everything wrong in their life. Some ask for something, then have "buyer's remorse", even though you have done exactly what they asked. Some of them are on a power trip and enjoy "making" us do it over. Some are cheap and are just looking for a free service.

Obviously, this is a clear pattern of behavior with this client, and it is unlikely to improve. If you feel that you can't personally speak to her, send her a note. Don't make any personal attacks, but be matter of fact, and firm. Life is both too short, and too long to tolerate the kind of person who saps your energy in this way.

Good luck.





britboy
Posts: 2083
Platinum Member

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 4:30:30 PM

Would you all just grow up please?

Simply tell anyone that you do not want to work on, that you do not want their business any more and you would appreciate it if they would go elsewhere and not call you any more. It's as simple as that. If you need to, just post a sign that says "We reserve the right to refuse service to anyone we choose, including you... so be nice".

It's your time, your life, your career, just throw the troublemakers out, you'll never regret it, but if you don't, you'll regret it every time they call.




lizstyles
Posts: 30

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:10:45 PM
What I have done in the past is just tell the client when they call or when they are making their next appointment that things have gotten crazy and I am booked for the next 4 months but I can call her if I have a cancelation... And just never be available after that--

m2
Posts: 1104
Platinum Member

Posted: Wednesday, June 07, 2006 7:16:51 PM

i would add to this:
by continuing to redo the hair services you are confirming what she is complaining of as if something were truly 'wrong' as well as furthering her control over YOU.   Nobody can make you feel inferior without your permission.
-Eleanor Roosevelt-
break that cycle now and let the appointment slot be filled by a new client.
send this client a nicely phrased note saying you won't be able to assist her with her hair needs any longer.  'thanks for your business in the past' and 'best wishes'.  then DO NOT take another appointment from her.  DO NOT.



hairnette
Posts: 47

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2006 6:37:27 PM
I agree with britboy, just tell her the truth.  Some people are just blood sucking leaches. 


teachcolor
Posts: 20

Posted: Thursday, June 08, 2006 10:14:06 PM

britboy is 100% right!! Be honest and just tell them you can't afford to keep them as clients.

Good Luck



heatherorchid
Posts: 18

THANKS!!!
Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006 7:38:13 AM

This was my first time on the board and I want to thank you all for the replys to my question. I actually called my client back, because of course, she wanted her daughters hair re-done after her service last week. I was waiting on the responses before I called her and in the meantime, she left me five voicemails in one day. CRAZY I ended up calling her and letting her know the truth.  The constant cancellations, re do's and negative attitude are no longer welcome in our salon. She was speechless for the first time ever. finally she responded with, well you know as well as I do that every time you do my hair there is something wrong with it. I, Politely as possible told her that there were no problems with her hair and that she needs to understand she is the only client who constantly has a problem with what I do. I also told her That it is really hard to work on someone who questions your ability  every time they come in. I ended the conversation with have a nice day goodbye!   After that it felt as though a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. 

thanks again, Heather



m2
Posts: 1104
Platinum Member

Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006 7:29:33 PM

Congratulations Heatherorchid-it took a lot of inner strength to do that and good for you!



locksylady
Posts: 98

breaking up is hard to do.....
Posted: Friday, June 09, 2006 7:43:12 PM
Sometimes you just gotta say.... what the... well you know what I mean. If there is an error, it could be a # of things, but always check A. communication, B. length & layers and C. attitude. I have never been so afraid to tell anyone to go jump off a bridge as the 1st time it ever happened. If you offer quality service,you deserve quality customers. No matter where you work, never take abuse from a client. I've heard of hairdressers taking a spiteful chop at someone's hair, but I've never had the guts to do that. Although I would have liked to, I never would want to send out a correction. If she said that both you and she knew that there was a problem with her hair, that should be addressed before she leaves the chair. You've given her the opportunity to come up with a problem before she leaves the salon and she doesn't. I say fuhgetaboutit. I know, easier said than done, but I'm sure you feel relieved that you told her. It's always good to have an experience like this, because it teaches you to be more perceptive in reading people. You can tell the ones who are going to try to dominate you early on in the relationship. This is the part in which you can have the upper hand in the situation right off the bat. You can head them off  by dominating them right away. Sometimes it's just what the doc ordered for these people and they just sit back and let you run the show. Or they go away & find someone who'll be a lay down.


britboy
Posts: 2083
Platinum Member

Posted: Saturday, June 10, 2006 8:08:25 PM

Well done Heather, now you feel better, right?

Just dump anyone who you don't really enjoy in your chair, life's too short to do it any other way. I can tell you that I do not ever go to work dreading anyone on my book, I simply won't allow them in, it's just as simple as that. This trade isn't anything serious, it's just hair-bending, it's really not important enough to let the bad apples, whiners, troublemakers, complainers, constant latecomers, bad check writers and malcontents get you down...just say NO.





doinghairagain
Posts: 49

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006 4:41:06 AM
I agree with Brit, I am fairly new to the "clientelle" thing because I worked for years in barber shops.  Now I am in a nice salon, but when I get a customer that rubs me the wrong way, I don't give my card or try to rebook or give referral cards to them just for the sake of gaining clients. Let the weird ones be Shop walk-ins. I guess.

Nic
Posts: 256
Bronze Member

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006 3:53:37 PM

It takes an unbalanced person to continue to patronize the same stylist if there is consistently a "problem" with her (or his) hair afterward. Nobody in their right mind would keep going to the same stylist if that were the case.

Heatherorchid, you are well rid of this woman. Kudos to you for drawing your line in the sand.


"The truth is incontrovertible; malice may attack it, ignorance may deride it, but in the end, there it is."
Winston Churchill



russnyc
Posts: 1144
Platinum Member

Returns
Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006 5:29:41 PM
A salon needs to have a clearly stated return policy stated in a frame just below the desk, but still at eye level. This is to avoid these people. We don't accept any redos after a week. There are no refunds, only an offer to redo the service.
A manager should be the one to mediate the conversation because it becomes emotional. I had a woman go ballistic on me a couple of months ago, you are right that people often have a lot of problems wrapped up in their hair that have nothing to do with you. Someone who conastantly is using this loophole is abusing the return policy if they come back EVERY time. The manager should pull the client aside and either refer anothe stylist or turn them away to another salon.

vallygrrl
Posts: 1280
Platinum Member

Posted: Sunday, June 11, 2006 9:30:36 PM
Good job Heather, you will have to update us on how you are doing and if you got any cool clients to fill up the annoying ones time slot.

heatherorchid
Posts: 18

Things Are great!!!
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 6:50:22 AM

Sorry it took a minute to reply, forgetful me, i forgot my pasword!?@$#  Anyhow, what a breath of fresh air to start this week knowing that crazy client would not be calling me anymore.  You don't realize until you have been in this type of situation how stressful it is. Thanks to all of you, I am sane again, and back to the art of hair. I LOVE MY JOB!!!!!! 

Thank you BTC members,  Heather



xDandelionSunshinex
Posts: 59

LET THIS P.I.T.A. GO....LOL
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:29:58 PM

People like this need to be let go. Let them be someone elses problem. We are professionals and deserve to be treated as such. Any doctor or other professional would of kicked them to the curb. I have been in your spot before-many times. Seems many women and men have emotional issues and need to see a psychologist, not a hairstylist.

I  have many, and I mean many, GOOD, LOYAL, on time clients who are happy and pay my price without regret .

Time is money. Your time is valuable. When it is wasted, you gain nothing. Like the others said on this board, a new client can fill her spot and whoever else is related to her.

This should make you feel better. Here are my rants for the day, as posted on my blog. ENJOY!



xDandelionSunshinex
Posts: 59

RANTS FOR 6/14/06
Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:30:46 PM
 

 PERSONALLY DELETED DUE TO BANDWITH EXCEEDED



xDandelionSunshinex
Posts: 59

Posted: Wednesday, June 14, 2006 7:33:56 PM

sorry my font was HUUUUGE in that post. I have no idea what made it big...lol



vallygrrl
Posts: 1280
Platinum Member

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:20:10 PM
I liked your list, I agree with most of them.  It does sound a bit militant though, I hope you are not going to post it in your salon, or on a salon website, or if you do I would modify it to be a bit more client friendly.

xDandelionSunshinex
Posts: 59

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:40:39 PM

Everything on that list has happened either recently or in the past. I would never post it in the salon or on a "salon website". Its purpose was to "vent". Some days I wonder why people have to be rude and ignorant. I have more good clients than bad. I am grateful for that and that is what keeps me going.

 



vallygrrl
Posts: 1280
Platinum Member

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2006 8:43:20 PM
Oh well I understand venting.  I guess what I'm saying is you are a good writer and I would think of posting it in your salon actually, but I would just revise it.  If you revised it, it would actually be a cute non threatening way to get the message across.  Of course all your clients who did these obnoxious things would think you were referring to other people, lol.

heatherorchid
Posts: 18

We all need a list !!!!!!!!
Posted: Friday, June 16, 2006 6:23:21 AM


i LOVED THE LIST, and I think we have all had a few on the list.  I actually think it would be a great funny thing to put in the dispensary for the staff to add their crazy moments too!! I know the staff at my salon would probably enjoy it.

heather



Ms colorist
Posts: 2

Breaking up is sometimes a great thing!!
Posted: Friday, August 04, 2006 11:42:16 PM
Look.......we all have those clients that drive us nuts!!! Their always wanting something "new" but never can change a hair. Have tons of issues and expect their stylist to make them "ALL" better with a hair cut. Sometimes these people are more trouble than their worth. If your continue to agree to recut and recut or fuss with them they become more and more obecessive. The mere appointment on your book makes you dread the day............ knowing there will be a call back or two. I have decided through 30 years in this business that my time is money!!! I will write them a letter or tell them I feel like they need to look for another hair designer who can give them what they desire. Now I'm not saying I would do this if a client ocassionally called back........I'm talking the one's you can never quite satisfy. Divorce them and live happily ever after.