It’s not “if” but “when” that you’ll come across angry or negative clients in your esthetician practice.
So what can you do?
Learning How To Respond
Before we dig in, notice that I used the word “respond” instead of “handle” or “deal with,” since it’s easy to become reactive or defensive in this kind of situation. The last thing we need is to put ourselves in a mindset that fuels the fire!
In fact, when I encountered angry clients, I’d say a little mantra to myself, “Respond, don’t react” and “They are doing the best they can” to get into the right head-space so I could work through the situation calmly.
In later years, I have learned to do some breath work prior to responding. Taking in a deep breath and counting to 5. It feels like forever, but it works! That deep breath allows me to re-center.
You might have noticed that just getting all Zen-like rarely works. An overly positive response can often trigger more conflict with a negative person. It often makes the clients more furious and puts them on the defense.
I know, because I have first-hand experience with that! My father criticizes everything and is generally quite negative. He’s also incredibly defensive. He perceives “positivity” as an argument and he likes to win every confrontation because he’s “always right.” (Yep, one of those…)
Here’s what you can do:
Get Into the Right Headspace
Before you enter a conversation with an angry client, get yourself in the right mindset so you don’t become negative or defensive, which would only exacerbate the hostility. Instead, stay calm and let the client blow off some steam.
It’s not easy to stay levelheaded when someone is rude or hostile but it’s not impossible. The most important thing is not to take the negativity or accusation personally. The client is angry about the situation and your personal feelings are beside the point.
Hear Your Client Out
What an angry or negative client is really looking for is to be heard and understood. It’s important to lend an empathetic ear and agree with them on some level. While you don’t have to agree with them completely, it’s important that angry clients feel heard emotionally.
This can feel hard because it may seem like you’re validating their negative behaviors. But you are not! You’re simply letting them know that you understand their perspective. So take a deep breath, count to 5, and hear them out.
Look For the Positive
If a client is still ranting after you have heard them out, you can divert their attention to something positive – even if it’s just making a tiny crack.
Remember, you’re not trying to sway them or get them to make a 180-degree change in their attitude. You only have to lift the mood a little or create a slight shift in the energy.
For example, if a client is angry that an employee is running late yet she loves the treatment, you can guide the conversation to focus on the service. Ask a few questions, let her talk about her positive experience, and chime in to reinforce the positive attitude.
Offer a Solution
Even if the situation isn’t your fault, you can say something like, “I’m sorry you’re not happy with your experience.” This can help you defuse the situation without taking on the blame personally.
Also, make an effort to offer a solution that’s fair and realistic for both parties. Often, such a gesture is all a client needs to feel feels heard and understood.
Last But Not Least…
Even if you handle the client gracefully and professionally, it’s still a stressful experience. After you have resolved the situation, take a few minutes to re-center yourself.
This will put you back into the right mental and emotional space so you don’t take the negative energy back into the treatment room and affect the experience of other clients.