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Last updated: November 09, 2018

When the Customer Isn’t Always Right

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Your relationship with clients is based on mutual respect and trust, with the burden of responsibility on you to maintain this relationship. But what if your client doesn’t reciprocate that basic decorum? A member of the BTC community has a client who schedules appointments, but continually misses them, showing up with his two kids 15 to 30 minutes before close.


Once arriving, things only get more irritable: “His kids’ hair is full of dirt and oils that we could wax a semi-truck and he will not allow us to wash their hair. He stands right next to us as we are cutting and nitpicks everything. If I tell him to sit down, he gets upset.”


After everything, the client only tips $2. Being that this BTC member works in a commission-based salon, they are ready to say “Goodbye.” We asked the BTC community: should this client be “fired” or is the customer always right?



1. Put yourself first
“I refuse to cut dirty hair. Explain to him that it puts undue wear and tear on your shears and when we spend $400 plus on them, we will not put them through that! Also, you are not out of bounds to say, ‘Your appointment was at 6, we close in 10 minutes, I don’t have time to do their hair as I need to get home to my own family.’” – Tina Sauers


2. The law is on your side (possibly)
“Sanitation laws apply in many states. Long ago in beauty school, the local senior living facility would bus in their occupants. The lady who sat in my chair had a greasy, yellow, crusty scalp. I was about to proceed with disgust, but my instructor told me I was not to because it was unsanitary and the senior home should have been taking care of them before bringing them to the school. If schools won’t partake in uncleanliness, why should we?” – Michael Allison


3. Stand your ground with a smile
“Having done hair for 35 years, I would never say ‘I wouldn’t mind losing a client.’ Clients of all kinds are our living. Explain (your expectations) firmly, do not tell him to go somewhere else, thank him and hope you’ll see him again. You will sleep well, he knows what to do now and you did not turn away a client. Be firm but remember to be kind.” – Libby Tichy


4. Would others put up with this?
“Anyone who shows up late should not be served. Our time is precious and showing up late is so disrespectful. Also standing over your shoulder while you are doing your profession is also disrespectful. You don’t see me standing over my mechanic, telling him he’s changing my oil wrong!” – Kathryn Slater-Plumstead


5. Know and demand your worth
“I deserve respect as a professional. This man consistently books appointments and shows up late. This is outright rude and disrespectful! I am here for people but not if they refuse to respect my time and abilities over and over.” – Victoria Stevens 


6. Talk it out
“Maybe he is an overwhelmed single parent. Maybe one or more of the kids has a disability that makes it difficult for everyone to get out of the house in a timely manner. Maybe he refuses shampooing because he knows he is running late and is trying to save the stylist time. Or maybe he is just an a**. Regardless, a little communication is all that is needed. Silently seething solves nothing.” – Karen Matthews Cumens