From time to time we all run into nightmare clients, the ones for whom nothing is ever good enough, that we’d happily go the extra mile for if that meant they were a mile further away from us, and who think they know better than we do. Dealing with these kinds of customers can be an especially uncomfortable situation so here are our top tips to help make life easier.
The Habitual Complainer
Some people are only happy when they’re complaining. It’s a fact of life. But when you’ve got a habitual complainer in your treatment room, it’s always best to a) take control and b) don’t let them stress you out. In fact, you’ll probably recognise a habitual complainer as soon as they walk through the door because they’ll already be sniping before you’ve even had a chance to speak. Habitual complainers will drain the energy right out of you if you’re not careful.
So, here’s what to do.
Let them know you’re listening. Habitual complainers often have a big insecurity complex and think that no-one cares about what they want, which is why they spend their lives moaning that nobody does anything right. If you spend an extra couple of moments talking to them before the session begins and reassuring them that you want them to be completely happy with their treatment, it will go a long way towards taking control and defusing the tension. Make eye contact with them and gently remind them that this is their opportunity to relax and unwind and let go of all the stresses of the day, but most importantly don’t let their negativity bring you down. Some habitual complainers can never be satisfied so don’t take it personally.
If you’re finding a habitual complainer especially difficult to cope with, take charge and politely tell them that their behaviour is unacceptable. It’s amazing how many of them will stop complaining once they know you’re not going to tolerate it.
The Last-Minute Cancellationers*
Sometimes people have to cancel because their lives genuinely get in the way, but you can identify a last-minute cancellationer by the fact that it happens more than 50% of the time they book an appointment. Last-minute cancellationers on this level aren’t just rude, they are disrespectful of your business and they can cost you a lot of money over the course of a year. Don’t stand for it.
Instead, make sure that all your clients are aware of your last-minute cancellation policy, which should preferably be that customers who fail to provide 24 hours’ notice of cancellation will be charged the full amount for their treatment and you won’t accept future appointments without a credit card. You could even expand this policy to include clients who are habitually late, warning them that if they arrive 15 minutes after their scheduled time they may have to rebook their appointment and be charged for the appointment they’ve missed.
Of course, you should always use your discretion when you enforce this policy because some delays and cancellations are unavoidable but, when a customer is regularly proving to be a problem, don’t let their selfishness bring you down – just let your rules speak for themselves.
*yes, we know cancellationers isn’t really a word but we like it!
There’s a very subtle difference between the Divas and the Habitual Complainers – although Habitual Complainers like to moan about the injustices of life, Divas like to drain your energy by ranting on about themselves and feeding off your attention. Don’t get drawn in by a Diva, and don’t make the mistake of exchanging personal information with them or letting them believe you’re their new best friend. Just stay polite and professional and gently remind them that you’re concentrating very hard on making them feel as good as possible so it’s important for both of you to stay quiet and calm. And that goes double for the Divas who whip out their smartphones and expect you to work around them while they have a chat. When that happens, be polite but firm and let them know that you can’t conduct the treatment to their satisfaction without their cooperation. Sometimes they won’t even realise how obnoxious they’re being, so a small word can work wonders.
In any situation, never forget to stay positive and remember that, in your salon, spa or treatment room, you are always the one who’s in control.
There are many other ‘client from hell’ situations we don’t have room to mention (not without turning this blog into a book) but don’t worry, we’ll be returning to this subject very soon! In the meantime, what nightmare clients have you encountered and how did you manage to cope with them?