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Posted By:StephanieLee on: 3/8/2008 10:30:26 PM

Author: Thread: Frustrating Client
Posts: 6

Frustrating Client
Posted: Saturday, March 08, 2008 10:30:26 PM

Please help!  My nerves are shot with this client!  I had a client the other day who called and made an appointment with me and stated she wanted her hair lighter.  She said she had a lot of damage and had done quite a bit of things to her hair.  She came in and during our first consultation told me she wanted her hair lighter.  She was about a level 5 with 50-75% gray and about a 1/2 new growth.  She told me she wanted her "roots" covered too.  I explained to her that the hilites would not cover her gray that it would just blend it and that she needed to do all over color then go through and hi lite it to get the color she wants.  Her ends were damaged (about a 1/4 inch) she said she didn't want it cut.  She also said she hated the color on her hair that it was too dark.   I repeatadly told her ok, so we are going to do an all over hilite and that was all.  She confirmed this.  As I was rinsing out her hilite she asked me when I was going to put the color on.  I was like excuse me?  She then proceeded to get really rude and tell me she had wanted her gray and roots covered up that that was her main objective.  I explained to her that I couldn't put an all over lighter brown color on because color doesn't lift color.  I told her she needed to wait about 8 weeks and let the previous color fade then come in for an all over color and hilite.  She persisted saying she wanted color on and if I couldn't do it (I didn't have time) that she wanted me to find someone who could.  I finally stayed and put lowlites in explaining it wouldn't cover the gray completely but this was the best thing without covering the hilites and completely trashing her hair.  She was fine when she left and today I get a call from her complaining she can still see the gray.  I am furious!  She is not listening to what I am telling her and is demanding I fit her in and alter my schedule to accommodate her.  I do NOT want to do her hair ever again.  She is a salon traveler and is never happy.  I called a salon she went to before and they told me her hair gets damaged easily.  I am now definately not going to do it because I don't want her hair to fall out!  What should I tell her on Monday!  I am so mad!!  I charged her for the work I did only and actually gave her a discount (I didn't tell her that)  HELP!  SHES MAKING ME CRAZY!  She called me four times the day I did her hair changing her appointment and she wants something that isn't possible right at this point of time. 

Posts: 81

Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2008 9:49:16 AM
it sounds to me like there was a loss in communication during the consultation. What I would've suggested to her was this:

color cannot lift color...but if you want your grays covered, our best bet is going to be to color your roots the same dark color as your ends and then break up the darkness with a heavy highlight, your ends are damaged and will not survive the highlight, so if you want this done i heavily suggest we trim about an inch off of your hair or at least know that i'm telling you, the ends will be damaged..

when i have clients with damaged ends that come in for a highlight, often times i will do a basic highlight and bring the bleach only thru the healthy area of the hair...process the highlights, then at the shampoo bowl, gather all the highlights together in my hand by moving all the unfoiled hair to the side and throw a 40 volume on the ends for 10 minutes. that generally blends the ends in with what youve just done, but it isn't on the hair long enough to cause it to break..plus they are in your hand so if you see anything breaking you can rinse it immediately!

Posts: 306
Silver Member

Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2008 12:49:35 PM
I would tell this client that unfortunately you are not the right colorist for her, and refund her money.  Believe me, the refunding of the money is WELL worth getting rid of her as a client.

Posts: 1174
Platinum Member

Repeat. Rinse. Repeat another way
Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2008 1:50:28 PM
You will occasionally come across this client.

The giveaway is ALWAYS the regrowth. An all over coverage client NEVER wants "blending", ALWAYS they want 100% coverage, you should never send someone like this out the door without it. Her hairdresser used a different process.

On A first time client, coverage overrules damage. Would you trust a foot doctor to check your throat even though he's educated to do so? Believe it or not, some people view colorists this way and won't trust them to cut hair. Be open to waiting it out a couple of visits till she trusts you more.

No matter HOW ugly, fried, processed or ghetto someone hair looks, ALWAYS give the the benefit of the doubt and emanate a respectful, caring tone because there is an energy behind your tone that CAN be picked up easily by clients.

There are three neurolistic aspects of communication, auditory, visual, and through "feelings", most hairdressers are almost completely visual and have a tough time communicating to people that communicate using the other aspects. (you can Google this for more info or I will append this when I find the book)

Once you do, you can spot a nonvisual communicator right away and take precautions.

Don't curse a client because they aren't listening, light a candle of patience and understanding and try to find out more about the communication plaforms others use.

The solution is to use all three types of communication to confirm the process to her before proceeding.

Posts: 6

Posted: Sunday, March 09, 2008 10:03:51 PM

Hi Russ-

Thanks for your suggestions!  I have tried so hard to be patient with this client and educate her but it just isn't working!  My main problem is that she specifically asked for hilites and completely turned her nose at me when I told her that all over color was what she needed but would have to keep the darker brown color that she has because I can't put a light brown color on top of that-color does't life color.  I suggested her waiting 8 weeks or so and letting the color fade so she could do this. 

 I am also frustrated because she keeps telling me it's my fault when I did exactly as she asked!!!  She specifically said hilites only!  I should have known when she trash talked all of the salons she had been to.  She is scheduled to come in tomorrow but I just don't feel comfortable doing anything else to her hair.  I feel like it's a slippery slope and can only go down!!!  I get the feeling from her that she isn't happy with her life, therefore will never be happy with her hair.  She also told me she's had 3 surgeries and is on medication so I am concerned about how the color will take.  I also called a previous salon she had frequented and they informed me her hair damages very easily.  They also told me she had given them some problems.

The salon owner totally backs me and said she doesn't want to give her the money back because I did the hilites exactly as asked and only charged her for a partial lowlite.  UGH!  What do I do?  I feel like I will never make her happy and I am concerned no matter what I do and how well I do it she will find something wrong.  Should I just refuse her?  HELP!!

Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008 8:24:19 AM

Be honest with her, and as russ mentioned, respectful and kind while doing it. Explain to her in every way you can during the consultation what her hair is going to look like and that you will work hard to get it right. If it dosen't seem like she is willing to listen than don't do it. Your way or the highway.

If she responds to your kindness with disrespect than why would you want to do another service for her?  Nicely say to her that you are clearly not clicking and that she would probably be better off going to somebody else.

Another thing that helps is to take experiences like these as learning lessons. It sounds like what might have gone wrong is that you let her bully you. She ran the consultation and you did what she wanted, even though you knew it probably wasn't going to look perfect. We have all been there at least once.

Never let the customer tell you the process to use. They don't know! If they are rude about it let them go before you even mix up a color. You're better off!

If this woman was in my chair I would have told her how great a highlight would look, and how it would be the perfect solution to her problem. But I would also tell her that she would have to do the roots and trim her hair if she wanted them done. No Choices.

If she asked why I would tell her that it would look bad if we didn't do the other services and I wouldn't want any bad hair going out on the street from my chair. If she only wanted one service all we would be able to do is match what she has.

Yes, I would word it that strongly with someone like this! Sometimes its the only thing they understand, and to gain their respect you have to push back a little. You can be remain professional and nice while doing it. Profesional consultation with this type of client is an art to master!

If she asked me to lighten her ends with color instead the answer would be that it wouldn't work. period. No further explanation.

Bully types will take any of your explanations and use them against you, just as this woman did. They have selective hearing, and its a waste of breath to educate them about color before you prove yourself to them with a perfect service.

Another thing is that you should never give a customer that is a pain in the neck a discount. It only leaves you feeling shorted, and frankly, they don't deserve it. Discounting in this situation is like admiting that you messed up from a technical aspect, and you didn't. Sometimes they will even use the fact that you discounted the service against you as proof that you are in the wrong!

From my point of veiw, super nice customers get discounts. If I make an honest mistake they don't leave untill the look is satisfactory and they get charged only for the original service. Mean customers get charged for everything. Real pain in the butt customers get charged 10% extra for my pain and suffering! :) 

Posts: 118
Bronze Member

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:59:15 AM

Stephanie Lee,

Great advice given by all who have posted.  I would also add that I have found "buzz words" to be highly effective when dealing with a client who wants to run the show.  I use the term "erase" when addressing the new growth that is showing grey or "bumping the base."  As everyone one has stated here, these clients (and we have all had them) delight in inimidating any stylist they can.  It's not a personal affront...it's how they flex their muscles and often times how they get a discount. 

If for some reason you don't feel confident in your ability to formulate, then take advantage of all the great education available through manufacturers.  This site has a wonderful group of professionals who are willing to share their experience and recommend forums or classes.  Take advantage of all the free education that is available.  The greatest gift you can give yourself is to "learn how to learn."

Posts: 6

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008 8:13:58 PM

Hey all!!! 

Thank you all for your kind words!  I forget in our profession we have these people every now then!  I have been out for about 2 years after having my son and still haven't quite got my confidence back.  I am glad I got one of these out of the way...the sooner the better!  She called today to reschedule her appointment (20 mins prior to her appt.) which further proved to me she had no respect for me or my time.  I simply informed her (per my manager) that I would be unable to perform another service on her due to our concern for her hair's integrity.  I told her that three chemical services in less than five days is too much for me to feel comfortable with.  She started to get rude and tell me that she wanted all over color when she called and I told her that whatever was talked about in the initial conversation unfortunately would not help us at this point.  She tried to tell me I had charged her for all over color and I told her that was not correct that I had charged her for a full hilite and partial lowlite and that was it.  She said fine and hung up.  All of my coworkers told me I did the right thing that she was too rude and obviously wanting something for free.  Plus they told me I would be the unlucky one that would put color on and her hair would fall out because it was already so damaged!  I feel bad because I never want a client to leave unhappy but it was obvious to me with as disrespectful as she was that I was never going to make her happy.  Thanks again for all your positive feedback and I look forward to chatting with you all in the future!!!!


Stephanie Lee

Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Posted: Monday, March 10, 2008 9:08:05 PM

Good for you for standing your ground!

I also have a policy that a redo appointment for a difficult client cannot be re-schedueled without proper notice. They get one more chunk of my time for free to do an adjustment to a cut or color. After that they have to pay. They usually refuse to pay and I am rid of them for good. Oh Well!

With the legitimate exceptions of illness or family emergency, they are usually moving the appointment around to keep you on thier whim. Even if it is subconscious to them, people like this get off on making you feel small and wasting your time.

They don't need a hair do, they need psychoanaylisis!

A small adjustment for a nice customer or when I have made a mistake is a different story. My average redos are usually things like the client wanting the bangs shorter, the haircut more texturized or the tone of a highlight adjusted slightly.

It dosen't happen frequently, but I always let my clients know they can feel good about calling me for an adjustment because I want them to be in love with their hair! I want things to be as convieneint as possible for clients in this situation. Reschedueling is usually not a problem with these types of clients, because they sincerely appreciate that I care about them and their hair.

If a client ends up wanting a redo for every service I end the relationship after four or five services, even if they are ok as people.

The way I look at it is that if there is something I am not getting about what they want, and they come back every cut or color, then I will probably never get it after a certain point. We are just not a good match. I usually tell nicely them that they should see someone else. I will even refer them to a coworker if I think there is someone in the salon who will do a better job with what they are looking for. Not because they are crazy, but because I want them to be happy.

Even if they are a little crazy, it dosen't mean the situation is going to be hopeless for them. It dosen't mean that I'm not good at what I do, either. It just means that we don't see eye to eye. I only end up with a client like this once every few years, so its not a big deal. Somebody out there has to be able to make them happy, and sometimes that person just isn't me. :) 

It's just that it's unfair to all of my good clients if I am dreading doing the one client I know will be a pain in the butt. Having it in the back of my mind that a person like this is on the book will take my focus off of the great client who is in my chair, even if only partially. It's not worth it.    

Posts: 6

PSYCHO strikes again!!
Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 8:29:43 PM
*sigh* just when I thought I was rid of my psycho client she strikes again!  She called today and started yelling at the receptionist telling her she wasn't happy with her hair and I wouldn't return her calls (I KNOW she hasn't called) She also told the receptionist, who is a good friend of mine that I told my client that it was the receptionists fault because she didn't tell me what she had wanted (P-S-Y-C-H-O)  So I called her back and asked her what the problem seemed to be and why was she upset.  She told me she could still see gray (duh) and that she wasn't happy.  She the proceeded to tell me I was an incompetant idiot and I had no clue what I was doing.  She then told me all the other stylist were talking behind my back (ok are we in high school?) I told her I wouldn't touch her hair again because I was concerned about the damage and that I was NOT going to give her her money back because I gave her the services she requested.  She the informed me that EVERY PLACE she goes to and she doesn't like her hair they always refund her money or redo her hair.  She even informed me one of the chain stores she goes to has a 100% satisfaction guarantee and why don't we?   uhhh because we are a booth rental salon!  She went on to complain about at least the past five salons she has been too and then started screaming curse words at me!!!!!  She told me I should have just put the lighter color on her new growth because lots of people have 3 different colors in their hair.  (Yeah not a level 7 at the new growth and a level 5 through the ends!)  I am DONE DONE DONE!!!  She is now harassing me!  I definately do not want to give her her money back now because of how nasty she is being.  She finally told me how stupid I was then hung up on me.  She told me she was going to call my boss...I was like Ok do whatever it is you feel like you need to do.  I AM GOING TO LOSE IT!  I can't deal with this.  I was bawling by the time I left.  Thankfully I was done for the day when she called.  WHAT DO I DO?  I have a real psycho now!!!!

Posts: 118
Bronze Member

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 10:32:28 PM
If you are a booth renter...you are "the boss" and a wise landlord will not get involved.  How did she pay for the service?

Posts: 198
Bronze Member

Posted: Wednesday, March 12, 2008 11:49:29 PM

Luckily, this might have been the last you'll hear from her. If she calls again or shows up in the salon and opulls a stunt like this again, just give it right back to her.

I would tell her straight out that I do not tolerate disrespectful behaviour and that I will not be taking calls from her ever again. I would also say that I have talked to the salon owner and she is now permanently banned from the salon and not welcome to be a client under any circumstances in the future. Also, tell her that you will get the police involved if the harrassment continues. 

The service was done, the price she paid was for the service she recieved and there will be no refund. The redo was offered, but she forfeited the redo by cancelling the appointment without notice. It dosen't matter if she likes the result or not. You are not going to do anything else for her.  

I would also point out to her that if the last five salons had to refund her money, the problem is obviously with her. Normal people don't have these kinds of problems.

It is not your problem. It's hers. Give right back to her what she is giving to you! Don't sink to her level with cursing and yelling, but be more than firm with her. Maybe no one has ever told her this, it will probably catch her off guard! If it makes her mad, who cares! See ya, crazy lady.

Don't even worry about word of mouth from this client. She probably dosen't have many friends, and the few friends she does have probably don't trust her opinion anymore. Or they are just like her, and who would want that?

Service goes right out the window if the client actually insults me or uses foul language. I have told people not to come back for many reasons.

I actually threw a guy right out of the chair with a half a haircut once! I was managing a very busy store for a discount chain at the time. He was the last client of the night on a Saturday, and he was so mean that he made one of the girls cry and I had to take over mid haircut.

I came over to the chair to reconsult with him and tried my best to remain patient. I talked to him for at least 5-10 minutes about his cut and made sure that we were in agreement before I even touched him. The level of service I gave him was well above standard for a $10 haircut!

About two minutes into my cut, he snatched the comb out of my hand in this really aggressive way.  I took off the cape and said "You don't have to pay, but you have to leave. Now." I have to admit that I was a little satified that he had to walk around with a half a hair cut for the rest of the weekend, and possibly into Tuesday, looking like the jerk he was! This was back when the only salon in the area that was open on Sunday and Monday was the chain I worked for.

I had a another guy once that made racist remarks about my co-workers, and fired him on the spot for it. He was very suprised when I called him out on his behaviour! I lost his wife over it, too. I didn't care, I don't want customers who would act and think that way.

The most extreme situation that I can think of where I fired a client was a guy who came in and was obviously a little drunk. He sexually harrased me!

To start with he made a vague and very sly comment about my breasts. Nothing that I could prove absolutely what he was talking about, but enough that I knew what he was talking about. The way a slimy guy in a bar might talk to you if he was a real jerk.

Then at one point he leaned his head back during the cut to rest his head between them in this very casual way. I blew that off, too. Since I couldn't prove that he did it on purpose, even though I know he did! I had a big wet spot on my shirt!  

I'm a red head and the final straw was when he asked me "So, I gotta know. Does the carpet match the curtains?". I told him that if he spoke to me that way again I might slip and he could lose an ear. Then I threw him out.

ICK!  See ya, buddy.   

Never ever put up with abuse from a client. There is no reason for it. There are plenty of wonderful people who need good hair!

Posts: 6

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008 6:53:43 PM

Hey Popgyrl-

Thanks so much for your positive words!  I have had the worst week!  I think the crazies are all out this week...a couple of other girls in my shop have had some doozies this week too! 

My client didn't call today but I know the owner will be in tomorrow and she said she would call her tomorrow evidently.  Sometimes I just wonder why people are so full of hate!?  I think you all made good points...I am so laid back I think she took charge during the cosultation and it all went downhill from there!  Thankfully she paid with a credit card so she can't try to cancel the check or anything! 

I am trying to be positive...unfortunately it was a hard lesson for me to learn and now I know!  I won't be handling any of these people in the future!

I am glad I haven't had to deal with some of the people you have!  I can't believe that guy had the nerve to ask you that question!  What a psycho!  I would have been the same way...get out dirty man!  

Well, lets hope she goes away after tomorrow morning or I am going to call the police!  I am scared she is going to key my car or come in and shoot me! 

Posts: 118
Bronze Member

Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2008 7:44:59 PM

The reason I asked about her form of payment is because she can dispute the charges on a credit card.  It is a fairly involved process for both of you and the credit card company with often side with the customer.  If she, in fact, disputes the charges, the money will be deducted from the account it was deposited into and then the process begins.  She will document her side of the story and then the merchant will ask you for your side.  The credit card company will decide who recieves the money.  I truly hope this doesn't happen because it is a hassle.  Hopefully, she will just go away, but anyone can dispute a charge about almost anything.  With that in mind, make sure you have good records about dates and times and witnesses to back you up.

Best of luck!

Posts: 14

Posted: Friday, June 06, 2008 1:36:54 PM
Just my thoughts, but why couldn't you foil it then apply the grey coverage color on the roots in between the foils? I do this all the time and I bet that's what her previous stylist did (IMO of course!).

Posts: 102
Bronze Member

Just one of those days....
Posted: Saturday, July 19, 2008 6:58:23 PM

I agree with the fellow posters.  However you should've went with your first instinct and that was to apply the color on the gray and then go in with hi-lites.  At the same time no one deserves to be treated like that and that psycho client was way out of line.  Unfortunately in this business we have people like her.  I spot them from the door.

IMO I would refund the color service and thats it. I would tell her to never call my place of business again and seek legal procedures for harrassment.  By now she's discrediting your ability as a stylist to another stylist or anyone who'll listen. I hope the people she's mouthing off to have enough sense to know that this chick has a legitimate problem.