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Professional answers to everyday questions within the hair and beauty industry.

How to overcome difficult client requests

Client requests can sometimes be more problematic than others. Most of the time you will breeze through your appointment book and see familiar faces from day to day. You know these clients and you know exactly what they expect when they come to your salon or spa.

Sometimes you may find yourself in a situation with a client in which you can’t meet their needs exactly. This could be because of the request being too damaging or unfeasible. As a qualified beauty therapist you have a duty of care to your clients. You need to ensure you are advising them with your professional opinion when it’s required.

What’s difficult is finding a way to overcome these requests and coming to a suitable compromise that both you and the client are happy with.

Be mindful and bring your customer service skills into play. Remember the client is always right but as an expert in the field you can use your knowledge to give advice. 

Your clients will thank you so don’t be afraid to make alternative suggestions, after all you are the expert. They may not have considered the knock on effects. Trust is an important factor in building positive rapport. If they feel they can trust your judgement they wont have to look elsewhere. 

They know you have their best interests at heart and that you care about them. This is the ultimate measure of how successful you will be in business. Ensure you clarify their request and be clear you are both on the same page. I’m sure we’ve all been there when we’ve left the salon with a haircut we did not ask for- don’t risk this unwanted mishap!

Scenario 1

young woman after dyeing

Scenario: A client with jet black hair comes into your salon requesting to go blonde.

How to overcome: Going from black to blonde is a very drastic change and damaging. This kind of hair colour change in stages to minimise damage and to achieve a more natural result. This is not an overnight treatment so several appointments are needed to achieve the desired lightened base.

Your client cannot leave with their desired result. Explain the risks to their hair and the inevitable breakage that will occur, it should sink in and the client will be sure to understand. After all, the reasoning is to benefit the health of your client’s hair.

Scenario 2

Scenario: As you are aware a patch test before hair colouring is a legal requirement and this step cannot be skipped. However what do you do if your client fails theirs and has a reaction? Do you simply turn them away?

How to overcome: Your client may be confused or upset to hear you are unable to use these products on them. Be sure to be clear to your client and let them know the detrimental effects. An allergic reaction is likely to take place and injury may be caused to the scalp, if a client has failed their patch test your insurance will not cover this nor will you be left with a positive reputation. Advise them of the reason you cannot proceed so they are not left feeling unsatisfied and frustrated.

Firstly, begin by recommending alternative products you have in your professional offering. If it turns out that none of these are in fact suitable discuss with your client what products, they have previously had used on their hair.

As a gesture of goodwill, create a special order to ensure you can still carry out your service and meet your client’s needs. You will be shown to be going the extra mile to cater for their individual needs and this will be greatly appreciated. Treat every client as if they were your only client and deliver the best service you possibly can. No doubt you will be remembered and recommended in the future which will have a progressive impact on your business. Do something today your future self will thank you for.

Scenario 3


Scenario: A client comes into your salon who is booked in for a manicure. You can see your client has noticeably weak nails that require some TLC, however they have requested acrylics.

How to overcome: Advise your client that it may be beneficial to give their nails a break. Just like our skin, our nails need to breathe.

Clients with weak nails are not advised to have acrylic as their natural nail will suffer and they may be at risk of infection. Your clients may be open to the suggestion of other treatments when you offer an alternative such as ORLY® Breathable.

This will provide them with the colour and look of polished, fresh nails without the need for acrylic.

If you’ve presented a solution to a client’s problem with your service and expertise, then go the extra mile and follow up to check they are satisfied with their experience.

Ensure your clients leave your doors content with their treatments and the advice they received. Leave your clients feeling positive and you will notice new clients turn into regular clients as they will want to return to your business. 

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