The Customer Is Never Right – My $1300 Mistake

I’m sure you’ve all heard the saying “the customer is always right.” Of course in reality, the customer is hardly ever right and it’s up to us to make them happy in spite of that fact.  Even though some clients may just be down right nasty rude people it’s important not to argue with them. And this may sound strange, but don’t apologize either – simply come up with a solution. When dragon clients hear you say things like “I am so sorry” it’s only vindicating their power trip and at the same time making them more angry because nothing is being done to make them happy again. Most often all a client really wants is a discount, a free treatment or a refund. But before you offer any of these things, offer other alternatives. If the client is still angry and persists, then a refund may be necessary but my personal policy is to not allow that person back again (depending on the circumstances of course).

Before you make any final decisions, take a moment to think! As a business owner I havepics-from-phone-300
been in some very uncomfortable situations with angry clients. I found it best to listen to the facts and concerns from both sides (the client and the technician) then set a date for resolution. Sometimes a client could yell and do anything to intimidate you in order to get his or her way. When you’re faced with a nasty client like this, blood pressure rises, fear may build, heart starts racing and your body goes into stress mode. When your body is in this state, it cannot make good decisions. Instead, let the client know you need to look this over, investigate or think about what you can do to help. Then get away! Even if it’s just in another room for a while. If possible, try to resolve another day.

Once I had a client get a free, yes free L.E.D. therapy treatment on her face while she was laying under our Zerona laser treatment. The L.E.D. therapy is anti-aging and boosts collagen in the skin among several other beneficial things. However, it cannot penetrate the skin properly unless the skin has been exfoliated and is clean and dry. She had makeup on, therefore the L.E.D. light basically did nothing. The technician had good intentions by throwing in this added free treatment thinking that it could introduce it to her and make the laser treatment more relaxing.img_2671

However, a couple days later she showed up very upset that this free treatment gave her Melasma (dark pigment on her skin). This was literally impossible. After I examined her skin, there was no sign whatsoever of darkened skin. But, it didn’t matter to her because she was insane and wanted my business to pay for a “blue peel.” I actually had no idea what this was at the time, and because she was irate I made the mistake of saying “I’m sure we can get you a peel if there was damage to your skin.” Then she left happy, only to return later with the bill for a $1300 blue peel from her dermatologist. Even more angry when I was shocked by this bill, she persisted that I told her I would pay for it.

Please learn from my most expensive mistake and abandon your post to go think. If I would have took her bill and paperwork said “I’ll look this over and get back with you.” I could have come to my senses, denied her bill and moved along without loosing $1300. This was when my business was new and only about six months old. Being a nail technician prior to opening my business, I never really had to deal with management and front end operations like this before.

So, in my state of stress and ignorance I obliged the client. Stupid right? Did it do any good? Nope. She never returned, she didn’t refer family or friends and all it did was take a giant chunk of the money out of my new business bank account.

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