Dealing with Difficult Clients: Part 2-The Complainer
Updated: Sep 22, 2019
(who always comes back to see you)
Okay so, to be super honest with you, this is my least favorite difficult client type. I'm not talking about someone who is complaining because you did a poor job, I'm talking about that client who loves to come see you, but complains about your work frequently. Confusing, right? I had this client once who no matter which lash artist she saw at my studio every other week, I would get a complaint email from her about the service like clock-work after every appointment. This went on for a year before I finally “broke-up” with her. This is what I learned, and what I do differently now.
Clients who seem to never be happy with your work, but continue to come see you regularly, obviously like your work to some extent. If this wasn't the case, they would just find someone else. So why are they complaining so frequently?
They may be unrealistic either in terms of: what is possible for their natural lashes, or how many lashes can be applied in the timeframe they booked.
Piggy-backing on the point above, for some clients, this is a huge luxury expense and because they perceive it this way, they expect an unreasonable result from the service. This is why cheap clients are usually the hardest clients.
They may be an anxious person who struggles with perfectionism. And, it has nothing to do with you. Many times, these clients are trying to fix an internal issue with an external solution. Honey, lashes are awesome, but they don't replace therapy!
How do you handle this?
If they complain to you directly or to your manager, that’s good because it means you have the opportunity to communicate with them, and, if possible, correct the issue. If the client leaves you a bad online review but still wants to come see you, I recommend having the difficult conversation and ending that client relationship.
Steps to handling:
Receiving the complaint
If the client emails or texts you their complaint, I recommend getting old fashion and giving them a call. There is way too much that can be misinterpreted through written communication. For example, call and simply say, “ Hi Jane, I got your email about your disappointment with the retention of your lashes after your service last week. I would love to chat with you and figure out what is going on.”
Listen without interruption or explanation. As women, we have a tendency to be frequent interrupters. Nix this when handling complaints. Put your phone on mute if you can’t control yourself. Do what you have to do to just be quiet and listen while they speak.
Validating the need in the complaint. For example, “I hear that you are a busy person and you want your lashes to last because you value your time and would like to come in as least as possible.”
Trouble-shooting and offering a solution. Keeping with this example, “My goal is also to have your lashes last as long as possible. Did you keep them dry for the first 24 hours? Did you have a facial or massage recently? Have you been cleaning them?” If you find out that their home care was the issue, re-educate them about home care and encourage them to follow it for better retention. If after speaking with them and troubleshooting, it does not sound like it was a heavy shedding or home care issue, offer them a complimentary 30-45 minute touch-up.
Getting agreement on the solution. “Do you feel comfortable with that solution?”
Following-through on the solution.
Following-up with the client to make sure it is resolved. A day or week after the solution, send them a follow-up email asking if their problem has been resolved and ask if they have any additional questions. Clients love follow-up because it shows you really care.
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