Trying to Stay Professional

by Joni
(Near Boston)

We hate it when they book...and they don't even know it!

We hate it when they book...and they don't even know it!

Help! We have a busy 5 chair salon and one very busy manicure station. The problem is with a few clients. We all dread them coming and deal with them the best we can, but even clients that seem to be on the same schedule are now asking to change appointments and not be here when the obnoxious clients are. How do you nicely get clients to quiet their conversation so only their stylist can hear it?

We have a loud gentleman who is transgendering that likes sharing with the entire room. Then you have much more proper older ladies who get their knickers in a twist. We have other offending clients as well. We politely tell them we have a lovely waiting area with all the latest magazines but they keep on walking to the closest chair and begin talking to their stylist while they are working on a client. These behaviors keep happening no matter our gentle nudging! No one wants to lose clients. What are we supposed to do?

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Oct 17, 2016
Setting Client Boundaries
by: Christy

Well Joni, this does sound like an issue! It's a tough line to walk between appeasing all clients and knowing where to draw the line.

To me, the line is the point of offensive behavior affecting regular clients or the obnoxiousness of one or two upsetting clients and the staff.

I know we are supposed to take whatever comes through our doors but sometimes a real line has to be drawn in the sand, for the good of the whole. Pandering to the PITA (pain in the ass) only empowers them to continue their selfish behavior, where everyone else suffers.

It happened to me recently when I splurged on a pedi with the works, which I may do once a year. I was sat next to a woman who spoke loudly on her phone THE WHOLE TIME about personal things. I went in there to relax and came out more stressed! I waited for the staff to stop her but no one did anything. Probably because she was the loud type of person who would make a scene.

I don't want to go back there so I would say, yes, by letting it go the staff lost business.

But what exactly can you say? You said that you have already tried to coerce the clients in the proper direction and they are not taking the hint.

It's going to take someone on your management team who is "centered and non-threatening" to establish the needed boundaries. The person should have the authority to make the request and be able to calmly do so while holding the ground.

We never want to call anyone out where others can hear. The next time your loud, over sharing client is doing his thing have this person lean over and politely say, " Ladies, I need you to hold down your conversation. The stylists are having a hard time hearing their clients."

If the client doesn't take the message or gets attitude you now have cause to "fire your client." After she has checked out, calmly inform her that your salon will no longer be accepting her appointments because her disruption in the salon has cost you business. It's happened for a while now but we can't allow it to continue.

She may cause a stink and bad mouth, etc. but believe me, people already know how she is and won't be surprised someone finally took action!

As for the lady who goes to her stylist while she is working on someone can politely ask her if she could hold her conversation until she is done with this client. But if possible, the stylist needs to set that boundary for her own good. All she has to say is, "Oh wow, I can't wait to hear about that. But we need to wait until I'm finished with Ms. Wilson." Then set a physical boundary by going around the chair to place her back to her. That sends a strong message without being confrontational.

And as a last resort for the salon floor intruder, make it clear they are in the way by cleaning around them, sweeping their feet (by accident of course) bumping into them, or spraying water or hair spray around them so they can feel it. THEN it's easy to say, "Mam do you mind having a seat in the lobby while Sarah finishes with her client."

Setting boundaries is never easy but they sure do keep a salon moving more smoothly! Good luck and stay strong.

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