Do's, Dont's and Tips to Keep Even Your Unhappy Clients Coming Back Into the Salon and a Checklist!


While there are innumerable benefits, perks, and rewards that go hand-in-hand with working in the beauty biz, there’s on harsh, undeniable reality that exists along with this – at some point, you’re going to deal with a disgruntled customer.

No matter how premium your services are, how A+ your customer service is, and no matter how amenable and gracious you are, you’re going to run into an unhappy, angry, or wronged customer at some point – it’s an unfortunate and avoidable risk, and it’s also just a beast of this business.

Perhaps, in your time in the beauty industry, you’ll run into a customer who was actually wronged, or maybe, you’ll run into a client who feels wronged through no fault of you or your business.

Either way, you can avoid a lot of trouble, heartache, and headaches by knowing how to handle an unhappy customer.

Take it from us, it’s more than vital to your business to know how to diffuse a bad situation, and most of the time, disgruntled clients will still feel positive about you (and your services) if you have the right attitude.

Check out some of our go-to tips below to help diffuse any and all grumpy customer situations – when the time comes for you to deal with a frazzled, fired-up customer, you’ll be glad you read this article. If you're in a hurry, download our PDF checklist and keep it in your back pocket!

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Keep Calm and Press On

This is the ultimate secret to dealing with a rude, angry, or upset customer.

While you should never let someone walk all over you, disrespect you, or make an unwelcomed scene at your establishment, if you can stay calm and keep your wits about you, your angry-customer-situation could quickly diffuse and actually be resolved.

The issue with feeding off your customer’s energy and getting equally fired up is that the anger, frustration, and grumpiness can snowball into a big, verbal mess, which is even harder to bounce back from to find a positive solution. Responding to a customer in a hostile way – even if they’re being absolutely hostile to you – typically escalates the whole situation and just further frustrates everyone.

Be the bigger person, be a solid business owner, and keep your head on straight – the calmer you are, the easier it will be to disarm the ticking-time-bomb-client in front of you.


Don’t Count it as A Personal Attack

This is a hard one to keep in mind, especially when you have a client freakin’ out at you, yelling, or even being insulting. 

But it’s vital to remember that there’s nothing personal about this angry client.

Maybe they’re angry because of a mistake your staff made, maybe they’re disgruntled because a service went awry on accident, or maybe they’re just a volatile person (hey, it’s a real possibility). 

Regardless, it’s not a personal attack on you and once you realize and process that fact, you’re likely going to be able to handle it from a much more logical, reasonable place.


Time to Implement Those Listening Skills

Have you been practicing your active listening?

Now’s the time to whip out the best listening skills you’ve got because an unhappy client is going to know when you’re not giving them your utmost attention.

Be patient. Hear them out.

Summarize the issue in your own words and see if they agree with you so you can best diagnose the actual problem. Use your body language to show them you’re paying attention – keep up eye contact, nod patiently, keep your arms uncrossed. Overall, try to show that you’re a patient, attentive presence who’s there to listen and solve a problem.


Sympathizing Goes a Long Way

Once your client knows that you’re listening to them, make sure they also understand you feel for them. Even if in your heart-of-hearts you know that your client is in the wrong, you have to remember the business you’re in, and client reviews of you and your business matter so much to your biz.

Try to show your clients that you care.

Even if you can’t solve the problem and even if (worst-case-scenario) you lose the client, at least they’ll feel like you cared about the issue, about what wrong, and tried your best to make it right.


Recognize When You’re in the Wrong (and Do Your Best to Make Up For It)

Listen, we’re all humans and we all make mistakes.

Setting your pride aside and being gracious enough to apologize when you’re truly in the wrong is going to make the biggest difference in how you diffuse a situation with a client. Truly, even if a client’s complaint or tirade isn’t logical and isn’t your fault, taking a hit to your pride and apologizing graciously can go a long way.

Apologize that the customer had the experience they did, tell them you’re sorry that they didn’t enjoy their service – whatever the apology sounds like, make sure it’s direct, sincere, and straightforward (even if you don’t feel that you’re actually in the wrong).

Once you’ve apologized, try to do your best to make the situation right.

Comp their service, offer them a discount, let them know that you’d do anything to keep their business. If you’re not sure what would make it right, try to work with the client to see what would help them feel less disgruntled. If it’s viable and within reason, do what you can to make that happen.


Following Up is Vital

The reality of a disgruntled employee is that even after they leave your establishment, the issue isn’t over. 

Perhaps you successfully diffused a situation, maybe your customer even left feeling a lot better than when they came in – that doesn’t mean you can just sigh, wipe the sweat from your brow, and forget about what happened. Do your best to follow up with that customer.

Wait a day, a few days, or a week, and then follow up. Maybe you email them with a discount code thanking them for their cooperation. Perhaps you just send them a kind message letting them know you appreciate them as a client. Whatever you choose to do, just make sure you’re taking the time and making the effort to reach back out to ensure you didn’t lose a client over a teeny squabble.


Learn From the Situation & Use the Feedback

Whether the situation results in a total success, you find a solid middle-ground, or even if you can’t fix the problem and you lose a client, make sure you’re not just dismissing this situation and forgetting about it.

Use that situation as a learning experience. 

Figure out what wrong and how you could have made it right. Review your actions and ask yourself questions:

 Did I handle this correctly? How could I have made this right? Did I do anything to make this situation worse? 

Realize where you went wrong, what you could have done, and try to analyze how you can better your behavior and how you respond to unhappy clients. And don't forget your PDF of tips and tricks!

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