Controlling. Bitchy. Demanding. Just plain hard work!
There's a million how-to blogs on how to deal with them….
But when a client turn 'toxic', well that's a whole other quandary!!!!
We need our clients.
They're our bread and butter.
They're why we do what we do.
But what then do we do???
My judgement is clouded by thoughts of paying bills and my reputation as a professional?
So how do I terminate a toxic client???
or if your reading this as a client - are you a toxic client???
First you have to identify what determines a toxic client?
- Does your stomach drop when you look at your diary and see him or her booked in?
- Does he/she constantly take up more of your time than everyday clients?
- Is he/she disrespectful of your time? Always late with no apology?
- Are they constantly questioning your prices? Wanting a discount? Or moaning about other salons being cheaper?
- Do other clients find them obnoxious and irksome?
- Do they cancel at a seconds notice regularly and expect you to drop everything to re-book them?
- Do they spend the entire appt complaining about everything from the music to the temperature, the type of coffee you've served and the perfume of the client sitting next to them?
- Never offer to pay for a forgotten appt.
- And the number one traits of a painful toxic client - they bring their kids with them like it their god given right! No asking as to if it's ok, or apologies when they trash your salon!!!
If you have said yes to 3 or more of these, you've got yourself a toxic client!
The problem with these clients is not whether you can cope with them long term, but the damage they are doing in the meantime.
To you personally, and to your business…..
Any client relationship should be a partnership - a happy one - not to make you their own personal stomping ground.
I once had a client that was so toxic, other clients refused to come into the salon while she was there!
I had to book clients around her. But didn't for long!!
As our clients are what give us profit, it can be hard to say goodbye to that revenue, but here's why you should…..
- They drain you emotionally. Clients who are disrespectful and full of negative energy just eat away at your own work satisfaction and happiness. Even when you love your job, and the money it brings in, don't disregard this drain of your positive energy. Positive energy you need to share with the rest of your deserving clients.
- They are generally not helping with your bottom line like you presume. Yes, they pay at the end of each service (you hope), but because of the emotional drain, how much time is spent after their appt *bitching about them to other staff or friends *questioning your own ability and wondering ARE their constant complaints valid? *How many potential new clients have you lost because you have said your unable to accommodate them as your booked up, only to have Ms. Toxic not show or cancel at the last minute so you now have lost revenue from their appt, plus the one you couldn't fit in? Then their next appt you give away to little Ms. Toxic also could of been utilised by another/new client. All this tearing away at your bottom-line.
- They can sabotage your confidence. Because the constantly question your technique, your products or your pricing, it can impede your own self-esteem. You start to question your own behaviours, techniques and quality. 'Maybe its my fault Ms. Toxic is constantly unhappy?' As a business owner, you don't have time for this self sabotage.
- They damage team spirit and enthusiasm. Its difficult enough dealing with these types of clients as a boss, but having them criticise or berate employees, makes your staff feel insecure and fearful of their job security and then there is a whole other drama to deal with.
- Finally they hurt you reputation. You know the old saying in salons, if your unhappy please tell us, but if your really happy please tell everyone. We that does not apply to toxic clients. They're never happy, and they'll tell everyone that. They're never satisfied and will blame you for that and tell anyone that will listen. Potential clients will question your professionalism, not Ms. Toxic's tongue.
*My favourite was to tell her I was taking a long break from the business so would not be rebooking her and that the rest of my girl were booked up permanently with their own clients.
*A gentle email or text stating that you feel you can no longer keep her happy so maybe it would be best if she tried another salon to see if she was happier there.
*Cancel two or three of her appts in a row so she understand how you have felt. Normally in this time they have had to go elsewhere and hopefully will keep going there. If she phones again just keep saying you have nothing available for several weeks. I know that sounds a bit bitchy and mean - but hey - sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.
*Or if you have the courage, tell her the gods honest truth. Most of us struggle with this one as none of us like confrontation, but if you can, just tell her that you no longer enjoy or respect the relationship you have and feel its best to sever the client/salon relationship at this time.
The bottom line is, you'll always, and I mean ALWAYS be better off with out them. Spend your time, your energy and enthusiasm finding new clients. Ones that will love and appreciate what an amazing job you do. The customer service industry is hard work. Only those in it will ever realise the brain strain that goes into it. So don't sell yourself short. Your so worth only the best and the best deserve you.
Stay positive out there and love what you do.