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Last updated: December 01, 2017

Clients on the Phone: What’s Your Salon Policy?

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It’s a modern-day salon etiquette dilemma—what to do about clients who can’t stay off their phones. As a stylist, do you suck it up and work around them, or insist they pipe down? We polled the BTC Community for some professional stylists’ opinions. Here’s what they had to say.


Put Down the Phone—Period
Some BTC members feel that talking on the phone should never be allowed in the salon, no matter what.


“I was cutting a guest’s hair and her purse was on the floor under my station. Her phone rang, and with no warning she lurched forward to grab it, and my shears came within a micro inch from stabbing her in the eye! At that moment, we started a no-phone-during-service policy!” – Gayle Running


“I turn off my phone while working on clients—they should have the same respect unless it’s an emergency!” – Lori Stewart


“This is so RUDE! There’s no excuse. Put the phone down! Period.” – Sherie Meyers


Give Clients a Little Leeway
Some stylists say they are a little more accepting, as long as the conversation is kept short.


“I’ve always been understanding if it was a very necessary call and done very quickly. Otherwise I ask people to stay off the phone, and I do the same.” – Jayne Doh


“I don’t mind briefly, if it’s really important—maybe their kids. Hey, I live that life, too. But when it’s mindless jibber jabber that lasts longer than a minute, I step to the side and set my shears on my desk.” – Radine Kretlow




“I don’t mind it as long as the conversation is short and to the point. Now, if they’re just chatting and catching up, I don’t appreciate it.” – Jannali Wood Ouzounian


It’s 2017…Get Used to It
Other stylists actually don’t mind clients on their phones. Some even prefer it!


“OMG here we go again. It’s the age of the smartphone—give them a tap or nod to move the phone to the other ear, keep quiet and do hair…end of story.” – Louanne Gingras Nixon


“I don’t mind…it saves me from talking lol.” – Valerie Kennedy


“If I can work on them while they are on the phone, I don’t mind. Just don’t answer the phone while I’m rinsing your color.” – Felicity Breuer


When They Just Won’t Zip It
So how should you handle a disruptive client who won’t put down the phone? Some salon pros are very upfront when it comes to addressing the issue.


“I’m a nail tech, and I have a notice on my desk that says, ‘please limit phone use during service.’ If they do get on the phone, I will usually stop the service and say that I’ll wait until they are done. It typically works, but I trust that they do respect my time and business.” – Brooke Gilliam


“We have a ‘no talking on cell phone’ sign posted [in our salon]. People love it, and so do we. Go outside and take your call!” – Dee Lanah


“I always simply say, ‘Sure, if you need to take this call, I’ll ask that you sit over here and I’ll start my next client.’ If there is no next client, I go in the back, look busy and make them wait.” – Jennifer Long 


A “Subtle” Hint Never Hurt Anyone
Not a fan of such a direct approach? Other stylists are a bit more…subtle.


“When they get on the phone and talk for longer than to say, ‘I’m in the salon—I’ll call you later,’ I start on my next customer. The minute I put down my tools and walk to the waiting area, they usually hang up.” – Sandy Lanier Rogers 


“Luckily it seems like when that happens to me I’m always blow-drying, so I just turn the dryer up to the highest/loudest setting and continue…” – Kailynn Monroe


“I just let them know if their cut isn’t perfect, I get haircolor on their phone or miss a spot, it’s on them. It’s a warning…if you want to talk, fine, but be warned that I can’t do my best if you have your hand up to your face.” – Dee Bonet