If you are a salon professional there is a good chance that at some point in your career a client has been driven to tears while sitting in your salon chair. Either the cut is too short, the color is all wrong or the style is not at all what they had in mind. It's very common for clients to come in thinking they want a look that they saw on a celebrity and either describe it all wrong or realize a little too late that the celebrity's face shape or complexion is nothing like their own and the cut or color isn't quite as flattering as they had hoped. This has happened to all of us and it will probably happen again, but here are a few tips on how to avoid having an unhappy client.

Ask for an example.

The best way for you to re-enact the look your client is hoping for is to go off of an actual high-quality photograph. The color should be clear and the details should be in focus. A blurred action shot is not helpful. That way, you can weigh in on whether or not you think it will be a flattering look for them. And if at the end they decide they don't like it, there is the photo to refer back to; demonstrating that their new look does in fact match what they were going for.


Whether this client is new to your chair or a salon regular, don't assume you are both on the same page. It's easy to start talking and cutting away and think everyone is in agreement, but this is when miscommunications happen. Instead, between chatting, make sure you are clearly pointing out each step you are making in the process. Show them what cutting off 4 inches will actually look like before doing it. Many people have a misconception about how much that extra inch really takes off, and it is important to make it perfectly clear before making the cut.

If it's your fault, make it right.

If you weren't paying attention, made a mistake or ignored what your client asked for and they aren't happy, it's time to own up. You don't want to lose their business and you certainly don't want them going around and saying you aren't good at your job. Do everything you can to fix it if possible (if you went to short, clearly there is nothing to be done about that, but color is often an easy fix.). If there is no fixing the problem, offer them a free service next time or send them home with a goody bag of free products.

It might be time to let that serial complainer go.

If you have a client that is never satisfied, puts you down and has made her rounds around the salon because no stylist seems able to get it right, it might be time to cut ties. No one wants to lose a client, but this might be better for everyone involved in the long run.

Mistakes and miscommunications happen. But as long as you are taking every possible precaution to ensure you and your client are on the same page then your salon station will hopefully be occupied with happy and satisfied clients the majority of the time. Always handle unhappy clients with grace and respect and do what you can to rectify the problem.