by Marco Pelusi
Originally printed in the January 2018 edition of Texas Stylist
If there’s one thing a client won’t tell you, it’s the real reason why they’re “breaking up” with you.
Sometimes you can pry the reason out of them, but most people would prefer to avoid conflict and politely fade off your radar. Over the years, I’ve heard many reasons why clients break up with their stylists; however these are by far the most common.
Not embracing change. Prepping supplies in advance for a client’s visit is a great way to save time, but it IS possible to go overboard. For example, if you mix your client’s color formula before they arrive (without talking to them first), you’re essentially assuming they like what you did and leaving them no room for change. (You may also be wasting color if they suddenly want to try something new.) Not offering change is the number one reason clients leave their stylists. Always do a fresh consultation to find out how their hair is working first.
Getting mad at criticism. When clients, especially loyal ones, do not like your work, don’t get angry. (okay, you can get angry inside, but you have to hold it in). Remember, they are always right, and it’s your job to solve the problem. Caveat: If you’d prefer not to continue a business relationship with this client, set them free. No one wants extremely difficult people in their chair. But if you’d prefer to keep the client, work with them and offer solutions. Take responsibility for your part, for example, if you neglected to give them a good consultation. Try to amend the situation as best you can and be kind so you can continue your relationship.
Gossiping about other clients. Confidentiality is an unspoken rule of thumb for us as hairstylists. Our clients come to rely upon us not only for good hair services, but for a safe space to vent their problems. Obviously, it’s important to draw boundaries; you can’t solve problems for other people, but you can listen, and you can keep a secret. This is vital for any business relationship, especially a client and hairstylist relationship. If your client finds out you told what they said to someone else, they may get angry and never come back to you, or you may even cause harm. Stay professional, stay grounded, be a good listener, and keep your mouth shut.
Overworking yourself. As the old saying goes, “pressure breaks pipes.” It’s important to take supremely good care of yourself in this business. It is just as important to network as it is to exercise or go to therapy. You must balance your life needs with your work as much as you possibly can. If you neglect yourself, you won’t be able to work as effectively, you won’t make as much money, you’ll be in a bad mood, you’ll feel physically bad, and you’ll sabotage your success. Slow down, take time for you, and exemplify the “beauty making” you wish to bring to others.
It doesn’t take much to keep clients happy, but it does take focus and energy to bring your best self to work. Keep making a good impression and don’t let yourself settle into routine if you want to keep more clients coming back.