Whether you are a hair salon pro who has spent years behind the chair or are a newbie fresh out of beauty school, dealing with unruly, rude, or horrible clients is likely to be the hardest part of your job. There’s nothing you love more than building relationships with your clients and giving them the cut and color they die for each visit. But dream clients aren’t the only types of clients you have to handle.

Inevitably, you will have clients that aren’t happy with you or your services, clients who clearly have a bad attitude from the get go, and clients who expect you to work magic far beyond your already awesome skill set. In these cases, there are several strategies you can use that can help you handle these difficult, horrible salon clients.

Handling Horrible hair stylist clients
Handling Horrible hair stylist clients

Set Up Clear Expectations

One of the first things you can do to with every client is set up clear expectations through concise consultations. This is especially important for new clients who you don’t know and are unsure about. If a client with deep brown hair comes in and states she wants you to make her a perfect, platinum blonde in only an hour, then you gently want to tell her that going blonde is a process that takes months, not hours, but you can work on achieving that blonde bombshell goal together. Your client’s reaction here can tell you whether it’s worth your time and effort to take them on or if they will soon edge into horrible-client territory.

If their reaction clearly shows they don’t understand your hair advice and work process, then it might be best to suggest they find another stylist. Always, the best way to deal with horrible clients is to prevent them from becoming horrible clients in the first place. It’s important that you never put yourself in a position of trying to live up to a client’s unrealistic hair expectations, which can lead to trouble down the road.

Bring in Backup

Let’s say that you did everything right in the initial consultation, but your client is unhappy about the results and goes into full meltdown mood, despite your attempts to appease or comfort them. In this case, sometimes the best thing to do is bring backup to help calm the client down. Often, a fellow stylist or a salon manager can act as a voice of reason by offering an outside opinion. Your backup can assure the client that you did an excellent job or can offer realistic suggestions about how to fix the issue.

Often, talking with someone else can make the client feel like they are heard and understood, and then it is easier to come up with a solution, whether that means the client walks away feeling better or both parties agree on a compromise.

Have a Refund Policy

You also want to make sure that you have a clear refund policy, which can make dealing with horrible clients easier. If you agree that the results are not what you or the client wanted, then this is clear example when a refund might be the best option of dealing with an emotional or rude client. Also, if you feel as if you can correct the situation through additionally services, then you can offer a discounted price for the entirety of the visit.

However, if you gave the client exactly what they asked for and they are determined to be unhappy or even worse, cause a scene, then it’s often best not to offer a refund. Asking someone to leave your salon is never an easy or comfortable situation, but sometimes it’s the best course of action.

Practice Empathy

Last, it's always important to practice empathy and remember that your clients are people with needs, desires, and inner lives. It’s possible a horrible client isn’t all that horrible but had a tough day at work or is having issues with their spouse. While it’s never fair for a client to take out their problems on you, offering some support or asking if they are okay can sometimes transform a horrible client into a real person