How to deal with sick clients (with samples)
This question divides beauty professionals across the world – should we refuse service to clients who come up for their appointments and are sick? Should every kind of sickness be treated the same? And if we don’t want ill clients to visit the salon, is it fair to treat their cancellations like every other, fees included? Where do you draw the line between caring about your own wellness and being disrespectful and inconsiderate towards your clients?
It’s important to understand that as a salon owner, it’s your responsibility to establish clear rules for customers to follow. Let’s take a look at how to do it properly.
Tip: Establishing a solid set of salon procedures helps with many difficult situations. Download this checklist and create your own effective salon procedures manual!
Two sides of the same problem
Deciding on what your stance on the problem should be is not an easy task. On one hand, letting sickly clients into your salon may end up with more people getting infected. If any team member gets sick, you’ll lose income for all of their appointments until they get better. What’s more, the situation is also dangerous for other clients, especially if they are minors, elderly or have immunological issues.
On the other hand, people get mildly sick all the time and if you were to refuse every client with a running nose, you would quickly go out of business. Common illnesses usually develop quickly, making it really hard to tell if tomorrow morning you will feel better or worse, so oftentimes, customers have to make a difficult, last-minute decision And then it seems like they simply can’t win – techs and stylists get understandably upset when a client comes up coughing and sneezing, however, they also get upset when a customer cancels their appointment late. The explanation that you were sick is usually treated as a poor excuse. So where is the golden mean?
How salon policies can do the trick
Remember, when we talked about the importance of writing and displaying your salon policies? As a salon owner, you can – and should – create your own rules regarding many important topics and situations, and dealing with sick clients should be one of them.
Instead of threatening clients with fees for late cancellations when they are sick, offer them a little add-on to their treatments if they reschedule it on time. It will encourage them to be more thoughtful and make them feel less at a loss when they have to give up on an appointment.
Now, depending on whether you are completely against providing services to clients who are feeling unwell or you are more tolerant, you can go two different ways with your policies (more on in a minute). Nonetheless, the first rule of any salon policy is to display it properly! Publish your policies on your website, social media pages and hang them somewhere around the reception area. Remember to inform your clients whenever you are changing or updating your rules. A social media post will not be enough, use your Versum to send bulk messages to all your regulars.
Strict sick clients policy
If you are strictly against providing services to sick customers, you have to be especially careful when wording your policy. You have to ensure clients that it’s not your caprice – you have the safety of your staff, other clients and your own in mind.
Strict sick clients policy sample:
We care about the safety of our clients. That is why we ask you to be considerate and reschedule your appointment if you are sick. If you do so at least 12 hours before the scheduled appointment, we will provide you with compensation in the form of an additional conditioning treatment added to your rescheduled appointment. If you show up and we decide that your condition may be a health hazard for other customers, we reserve the right to refuse the service.
Tolerant sick clients policy
Being more tolerant still doesn’t mean you should provide services to everyone, so know when to draw the line. It’s best to ask clients to reschedule if during the last 24 hours they experienced symptoms such as:
- high fever
As for the common cold, mild cough and sneezing, include in your policies that for safety reasons, you may wear a mask to avoid germ exchange.
Sample of a tolerant sick clients policy:
For safety reasons, we politely ask our clients to reschedule their appointments if during the last 24 hours they have experienced symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, high fever and/or chills. If you do so at least 12 hours before the scheduled appointment, we will provide you with compensation in the form of additional conditioning treatment added to your rescheduled appointment. If you experience symptoms of a mild cold and still want to come, please inform your service provider so that they can take special precautions to make the appointment safe for both of you (the service provider may want to wear a mask to prevent germ exchange).
If the client is problematic…
Unfortunately, regardless of your well-written and lucrative policy, it may happen that there still will be clients cancelling late and using sickness as an excuse. To distinguish such cases from customers who actually had an emergency situation, you should always mark cases of late cancellations in your Versum customer records. Then it will be easy to notice a tendency – if there are two or more late cancellations with a poor excuse, simply send that client a message saying that due to their numerous late cancellations, for their next visit you require a non-refundable deposit. You can also reduce the number of bookings they can make, down to zero in the Versum online booking system, forcing them to contact you in person.
Keep yourself safe
Working in the service industry, you are basically sentenced to come in contact with countless germs every day. It’s crucial to talk to your doctor about ways to protect yourself – ask them about a flu shot, daily vitamins and natural ways to boost your immune system. Proper hygiene and disinfection, especially during the colder seasons, are a must. Have plenty of disinfectant wipes and spray on hand and wash your hands thoroughly between clients. Remember to educate your staff on the issue and inform them whenever you decide to introduce a new policy in your salon.
Dealing with sick clients is not an easy task – and believe it, it is not pleasant for your customer either! It’s best to be considerate, yet conscious – some clients are honest with you, some just try to cover up their mistakes with poor excuses. Keep a careful eye on your Versum customer records, take up your vitamins and hopefully, both you and your salon will stay healthy!