The customer is always right. Right?

A tired person

Wrong! And no matter whether you’re a salon owner, booth renter or a solo hair or beauty specialist, you’ll probably agree with us. However, being aggressively adamant about proving a client wrong isn’t going to bring your business any benefits. In fact, you’ll probably begin to lose customers at an alarming rate by doing so. Then again, you’re the licensed professional and you know your trade better than all of your clients. So, which route will you take?

But what exactly does the saying “the customer is always right” mean, what types of clients should you pay special attention to and how should you approach them with the news that they may actually be in the wrong?

What does it mean exactly?

Stop and think for a second – what is the goal of the hair and beauty industry? To provide amazing transformations? Great customer service? Delicious coffee? Two words – customer satisfaction. Now, if a client is not content with their visit, they’re going to have complaints in regards to what you did wrong. If you try to confront them, then expect to hear the magic phrase “but the customer is always right!” – to which you probably lower your head and apologise.

However, this way of thinking is very flawed – your customers aren’t always right, especially when they’re dishonest, have otherworldly expectations and simply choose not to take heed of your recommendations. Now that we have that covered, just who exactly are these people?

  • Dishonesty: untruthful clients are never right – the most renowned ones are those who say “I have 100% virgin hair” or “I don’t have any allergies”. In most cases, they simply don’t take into consideration the consequences of getting a chemical treatment in their current condition or just don’t want to pay too much. Remember to never take their word for it – you’re required to do a strand and patch test if you work with harsh hair chemicals. Failure to do so will result in professional negligence that can cost you your career.
  • Otherworldly expectations: usually, clients who take inspiration from photoshopped hair and beauty transformations and fake DIY videos come to mind. They walk into your business and request a sunkissed level 7 balayage in one sitting because they saw that it’s possible somewhere on YouTube. Oh, and they have patchy remains of what looks to be henna. Yeah…that’s not going to happen!
  • A “know better”: they’re the epitome of a headache. This type of client may call your business or simply walk in and ask about your colours. You tell them the price and they’re shocked. “How could you charge so much? Colours DO NOT cost that much!” They claim that an at-home colour kit from Sally’s costs only a few pounds and that your prices are pretty much robbing clients of their money.

How should you approach them?

Disarming clients who have a mindset that they’re always right is a dangerous game. Be too aggressive and they’ll concoct ways to tarnish your brand image (most probably by leaving negative reviews of your business online), but be too soft and they’ll walk all over you. So how should you go about informing clients that they’re not always right? First off, make an assessment on what type of client they are.

  • Dishonest clients: even before arriving at your business, you should already have a way of disarming such clients. On your social media fan pages, booking page and website, have a section that explains the importance of informing the salon team of one’s hair history, allergies and other health conditions, and how failing to do so can cause unpredictable outcomes. Additionally, send new customers this information via Versum’s SMS/email messaging system.
  • Otherworldly expectations: customers who come into your business and request that you provide them with impossible treatments are some of the most difficult clients to deal with. With access to so many DIY and crazy, one-sitting transformation videos, it’s no wonder that they have such expectations. Instead of bashing such clients, educate them! Explain the processes of bleaching and applying colour and mention how this kind of transformation is gradual. Also, consider showing pictures of failed hair treatments.
  • A ‘know better”: just like clients with otherworldly expectations, those who claim to know better than you need to be educated on the matter. Avoid getting into a conflict and make sure to keep your cool. If the client is upset about your prices, explain that you’re a certified specialist and that you utilise professional products. Mention how professional and store-bought products differ in quality and how it can affect the treatment outcome.

When it comes to explaining to the client that they’re not right with their way of thinking, remember to go about this professionally. Laughing or ridiculing them in any way can earn you a negative review, leading to a wonderfully tarnished reputation. Instead, send customers educational materials that back your expertise using Versum. Improve client communication, manage bookings and your business altogether with one tool!

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