When you can (and should) refuse service
Beauty salon owners still debate over this: should you ever refuse performing a service and if so, under what circumstances is it okay to do so? Should a client always be king (or queen) as long as they pay for the treatment? Should you listen to all of your customers’ requests, no matter what?
Actually, it’s your duty to provide services only if you can be sure about their outcome. What you need to understand is that there is a huge difference between illegal discrimination (refusing a service based on client’s age, sexual orientation, gender identity, intersex status, race, religion or disability) and taking responsibility for your client’s health and well-being, as well as your business’ security and reputation. When is it appropriate to refuse service and why should you learn to do it more often?
Tip: Do you need some guidance regarding writing your salon procedures manual as well? Download this checklist and you won’t miss a crucial bit of information.
When it may put your client at risk
The most obvious case is when a given treatment may affect a customer’s state of health, or the other way around – a client’s condition might have an unexpected effect on treatment outcome.
Allergy or intolerance of any kind
Allergic reactions are not a joke. Although rare, they may be very severe (extensive swelling, vomiting and fainting) and or even deadly (respiratory issues). Before you start any chemical treatment, it is wise to do a skin test. It is also important to write down any cases of a client’s previous allergic reactions in your Versum customer records, so that you can be extra cautious when providing a new treatment for that particular client.
State of health
Many beauty procedures (such as chemical peels or semi-permanent make-up) have numerous contraindications and require a signed form to be performed. It’s either because the products used contain ingredients that may have a negative influence on the client’s health – or that the final outcome may be affected by the client’s state.
Doing a semi-permanent makeup session during pregnancy will be a great example here, as it covers both of the cases. Firstly, it may be dangerous for the client – even though pigment used in microblading is medical-grade, it still has trace amounts of chemicals such as iron oxide and nickel, harmless for adults, but potentially dangerous to fetuses. Secondly, hormonal imbalance may cause a pregnant woman to bleed more during the microblading, causing the pigment to dilute – which may ruin the whole effect. Both of these situations are extremely unfortunate for both the client and service provider.
You should always include contraindications of every service you provide on your website and have clients sign the form for the most restricted ones. Make sure to do in-depth consultations, explain why do you require signing such an agreement and what are the potential risks of being dishonest.
If you are not sure whether someone’s condition may disqualify them from getting the service done, it’s perfectly okay to ask for their doctor’s note – better safe than sorry – and being able to honestly confess you lack expertise in that matter is truly a mature thing to do.
Many services are not meant for minors and are restricted under the age of 18 or 16. Some salon owners allow teenagers to get them done under the allowance of their parents – however, you have to remember, that many beauty product manufacturers set a strict over the age of 16 rule, or the insurance is invalid.
In general, children’s nails, hair and skin are not fully developed, and therefore more prone to damage and complications. It’s also questionable whether a minor should make a decision that may affect them for a longer term (such as bleach or a permanent colour). The parent’s right to make this decision in their name is even more questionable. You can refuse the service stating you cannot be certain about the influence the service may have on the minor in the long term.
When the client has proven to be unreliable
It’s not only the safety hazards that may restrict you from fulfilling the client’s wish. You should also think about your business, as not every client is a client worth having.
For all the cases mentioned below, it’s crucial to remember three things:
- Firstly, to avoid clients stating they have been treated unfairly, you should write down your exact approach on given cases in your salon policy. In general, you want to avoid a situation in which there is room for interpretation for why you have refused service. Write down your rules, stick to them with no exceptions and always refer to them when explaining reasons for refusal.
- Secondly, you should always be prepared to show evidence of the reason for the refusal.
- Lastly, make sure to keep track of all your clients’ appointment history – for both potential evidence and to be able to tell if a customer is a notorious salon offender. Versum customer records will be perfect for this.
History of late cancellations and/or being a no-show
You can refuse a service to a client who cancelled their appointment too late or has not shown up at all more than once. Using Versum, you can note any case of a late cancellation or being a no-show in customer records.
Trying to leave without paying, defaming your business online and other disrespects
If you have had a case of a service theft (client refusing to pay for a service they were provided with), a client has been blackening your salon’s reputation online or purposefully did anything else that might have hurt your business, you can refuse to perform a service as well. Remember to take screenshots and save security camera records (if you have such) in order to have the potential evidence.
Cases of being dishonest
If someone keeps giving you false information on their state of health and hair, nails or skin history even though you informed them about potential consequences of such behaviour, they are putting you at risk. However, you have to be very careful when refusing services due to such dishonesty, as it’s very difficult to gather evidence.
When the client breaks the law or your salon’s rules
Finally, you are in the right to say “no” to any client who tries to force you to go against the law or your stated policies.
No one can insult, blackmail or harass you, your staff members or your other clients. Of course, it’s best to include information on it in your salon policy, however, even without it being included you are in the right to ask the offender to leave. You are also legally obliged to refuse entry and service to an intoxicated person.
Ignoring your salon’s policies
If you have properly written and displayed your salon policy and one of your clients keeps breaking the rules consciously, you can deny them service as well. However, it’s important to remember, that your policies cannot stand in conflict with the law – so make sure they are not discriminating. A no-kids policy is an exception here, as you are not asking parents to keep kids out of your salon because of age discrimination, but because of health hazard.
Refusing service is not about your laziness, arrogance or cowardice. It’s just the opposite – you are proving that you truly care about your clients, putting their health and comfort over your financial aspirations. Never feel ashamed to ask for a doctor’s opinion first or to refuse a service if you don’t feel comfortable doing it. However, for the whole process to be legitimate, be conscious about your rights, write down your salon policy and make sure you are gathering all the needed data in your Versum system. Grab your free account here!