This article is written by Leah Cohen-Shohet, Chief Business Officer at GlossGenius.
Like all relationships, the bond between beauty professionals and their clients is built on trust and communication. And just like romantic relationships, sometimes this bond needs to be reevaluated.
Breaking up with a client, especially for the first time, can be daunting. That's why it's vital to approach client breakups with the same compassion and empathy we extend to our personal and romantic ones.
That’s how to create salon cultures that are built on respect, and provide customers with best-in-class service.
From our experience at the salon software platform GlossGenius — where we work with tens of thousands of salon owners and beauty independents — here are some tips for why and how to gracefully part ways with a client.
Problem Clients Can Tank a Business
Clients should be champions of your business, not detractors. Problematic clients are demanding and disrespectful. They may try to monopolize your time with tons of touch-ups or redos, or take advantage of your kindness with requests for free or lower-cost services.
These clients can adversely affect your other appointments and your bottom line. If a stylist feels they can no longer meet a client's needs, or if recurring issues cannot be resolved, it's important to end the relationship professionally.
Set Boundaries In Writing
Establishing upfront policies and expectations is essential for salon owners and beauty independents to foster positive relationships from the outset. They also provide justification to “break up” with the client if they violate those boundaries.
Salon booking platforms like GlossGenius play a vital role in this process by distributing important legal forms, waivers, and communications policies (such as cancellation and deposit guidelines) developed to protect stylists' time and business.
This ensures that clients are fully aware of what to expect from day one. Prioritizing clear communication and transparency minimizes misunderstandings.
Steps for a Respectful Breakup
If a client becomes problematic about disregarding your salon and service policies, be clear that this is grounds for ending the relationship. Just as in any relationship, be transparent. Transparency will lead to understanding and closure.
If the client continues the problematic behavior, it’s time for the breakup: Communicate openly with the client, explaining that your business does not align with their needs.
Timing is crucial. While there's never a perfect time to end a relationship, there are times that are more appropriate than others. Avoid breaking up with a client right before a special event, or during a busy season when tensions and emotions are heightened. Instead, choose a low-stress time when both parties can have a respectful conversation.
Enforce Your Boundaries
Following the “breakup,” you might have to ensure your former client respects your boundaries. Our GlossGenius platform contains a ban feature designed to block clients you don’t want to hear from, eliminating awkward interactions if they try to book you again.
Breakups Are Good For Business Wellness
In our experience, building enduring relationships is the cornerstone of successful salon businesses. Don't second-guess yourself when it comes to ending relationships that don’t meet the mark! Instead, redirect your focus toward activities that enhance the overall health of your business.
Whether servicing quality clients, enhancing your online presence, or strategizing marketing campaigns, investing your energy wisely will result in greater long-term benefits than struggling to manage issues created by problematic clients.
As a trade-off, you’ll have more flexibility to invest your time in fostering relationships with new loyal patrons who truly appreciate your work, respect your time and skills, and keep on coming back.
Leah Cohen-Shohet is Chief Business Officer at GlossGenius.