It’s the ugly truth and the awkward truth. The time will come in every nails techs career when they have to fire a client. Two in particular come to mind for me. Today I will share with you my reasoning and my method for letting two of my clients go.
The Time Waster:
This was early on in my career. Probably about three years in. I was working at a tiny local spa at the time and had only really been there for a couple months. She was lovely at first. Then as many tend to do, she started to spill her life story to me. Cheating husband, two kids, hates her job.
The red flags were all in the details. So much drama. Always someones else’s fault never her own. She would constantly be late for appointments. Then the dreaded no shows started. I had a young son at the time and was just building my client base. So often I would have to arrange for my mom to come and watch my boy while I went and did nails. The sheer inconvenience of her not showing and having my mom come for nothing was outrageous. Nothing is more precious than someones time. Also, why I believe we should do nails in a timely matter. Time is important, we don’t get a lot of it and it should be respected! End rant…..
So after the third no-show, with no call or text, I had enough. I spoke to my boss at the time and asked her advice. “Off the team” she said! She was so confident in her decision. I had never experienced this before, I was mostly worried that if I let the bad client go, I would be losing out. In fact, it was the opposite. By letting the bad client go, I was making room for a good one to take her spot.
I didn’t have the nerve to do it myself so I asked my boss to do it for me. But I listened and took notes!
She called her. Very calmly and politely told her that she would not be able to make appointments at the spa anymore. As she had no-showed three times it was “company policy”. Thank you. Click. Done. It was that easy!
I was shook. What was her reaction? What did she say? What would she tell others?
The fact is, it didn’t matter. By letting her continue to treat me that way, I was inadvertently telling others that it was OK to not show or always be late for appointments. And at the end of the day, I don’t stand for that. Off the team!
She never spoke poorly of me. Or if she did I never heard about it. It certainly did not affect my client base in the long run. And honestly, I never saw or heard from her again. The end!
The Unhealthy Relationship:
This one was the hardest for me. I definitely have build some amazing relationships and friendships over the years. Sometimes I see my clients more than I see some of my closest friends.
This one woman in particular was older than me. Almost a motherly age. She had been seeing me for a little over a year. As the months passed I started to notice certain behavior from her. Behavior that really mimicked alcoholic or drug addicted tendencies. I have had experience with these “types” in my past.
It progressively got worse. As this condition usually does. At one point she was so inebriated in my chair that she was having a hard time holding still. Like, swaying back and forth while I am trying to do a french manicure. Not fun.
I managed to get her nails to a clear gel fill stage. Wiped them off and told her that we could not continue today. I put a different spin on things because I knew she was in no state to argue with me. And I really wanted to try and avoid a big scene in the spa.
She was mad. I mentioned that clearly there was something else going on in her life and perhaps today just wasn’t the best day for nails. She left and slammed the glass door so hard on her way out I thought she would break it.
I assumed that was the last I would see of her……
About a week or so later she came back to the spa. Without an appointment, but just to talk to me. She apologized for her behavior and proceeded to tell me that she was in fact an alcoholic and had been struggling for many years. She also told me that I was one of the few “friends” in her life.
But we weren’t friends. I knew that. I felt sorry for her so I accepted her plea to have her back as my client. I definitely went against my better judgment on this one.
She was well-behaved for a few appointments and then it happened again.
This time was worse than the last. She was very unstable. Stumbling and falling all over the spa. She was getting changed in another room (because of a spray tan) and I could hear her crashing into furniture and knocking equipment over. That was it, it had to stop! Just the sheer fact that she was an insurance liability in the spa. What if she hurt herself? And I Knew the state she was in. I couldn’t live with myself.
I got her fixed up and sent her on her way. While she was leaving I immediately sent her a voicemail and explained the issue. The legalities of it all and how it was effecting other clients in the Spa.
With a heavy heart I wished her nothing but the best but told her we could no longer continue our esthetic/client relationship.
I never heard from her again. I do believe she moved away to seek help. I can only hope.
There will always be one that needs to go. That is the awkward truth. It’s the hard reality of this business. But we really do need to make the right judgement call. Do what is right for our business, but also take care of the needs of others. Essentially that is our job as a service provider. Well, a good one anyway.
Please comment below if you have ever had to fire a client. We have to stick together! Please reach out if you ever need any advice. I have come across quite a few different experiences in my career. I would love to shed some light on any topic you may be struggling with.
Love you guys!
Cheyanne- The Nail Lamp Tramp