Keeping your cool with high maintenance clients

hairstylists: how to deal with high maintenance clients

High maintenance clients: we all have them, have had them, or will have them at some point. Sometimes it’s the client that shows up late or is a serial rescheduler. Other times it’s the client who needs your full undivided attention, 12 beverages, and 3 extra towels while they are processing. Regardless of the kind of high maintenance client they are, they have a tendency to offer up a free headache and have you dreaming of the minute you’re home on your couch with a tall glass of red wine. Let me give you a few pointers on dealing with these specific types of clients:

  1. Anticipate their actions.

    Typically, after a few appointments with a high maintenance client, you can start to memorize their patterns. Figure out how they maneuver through the appointment and act accordingly. I have a client that is always, and I mean always, 15 minutes late. So I book her appointment 15 minutes before the actual allotted time and I allow for a few extra minutes, just in case. This saves me the stress of cutting her appointment time in half, running behind, or having to tell her I can’t do her hair that day. It’s a pretty simple fix for a problem that can prove to be very stressful.

    I have another high maintenance client who needs 3 towels, eyeglass covers, 2 glasses of tea, I glass of water, probably needs to use our microwave a couple of times, and wants me to pick her magazines out for her. I used to get really flustered because I wasn’t prepared time wise to heat up water twelve times and run in circles around the salon for the duration of her processing time. Now, I just prepare myself. I grab the magazines before hand, I set my station up with everything I know that she will ask for, and I preheat the water on our Keurig so the tea doesn’t take forever to make. She’s happy, I’m at ease, all is well.

  2. Don’t double book them.

    I used to think if they were high maintenance I could double book them to get “away.” Boy was I wrong on that one. These clients are going to be taking up extra time, they’re going to need more of your attention, and they are most likely going to exhaust you to a certain extent. I highly recommend giving yourself extra time with these clients, for them and for yourself. If you have 15 extra minutes of downtime during their service, the last thing you’re going to want to do is be applying another color. That would just be self sabotage.

  3. Determine if the headache is worth the profit.

    Heres the real kicker: You need to discern the difference between a high maintenance client that is worth your time, and one that isn’t. Your priorities should lay first with clients that are low maintenance, high profit. Second with low maintenance, low profit. Third with high maintenance, high profit and lastly with those that are high maintenance, low profit. At the end of the day this is your business and if they are high maintenance but low profit, the headache won’t be worth the pay and you won’t feel good after the service is finished.

There is no way to completely avoid high maintenance clients, and honestly some of them are great even with their quirky tendencies. I’m lucky enough to have a clientele that I love, even the high maintenance ones. As you’re starting out and building your clientele you will have to come in contact with them far more often than once you’re established - but if you keep these tips in mind the next time you have one on your books, you should coast through the appointment much more smoothly. Got any good stories of high maintenance clients? Comment below and tell me all about them!