Time can be an uncomfortable subject. It can get more uncomfortable when we or our clients are running late.It is bound to happen. We find ourselves working more slowly or having to do more work than we expected. When it does, it leaves our client waiting on us. No wonder when they run late they expect us to be forgiving also.
This creates a sticky situation for us all. The best policy is to be up front about time issues. Letting clients know that you will do everything possible to stay on time creates an environment where they feel you have their best interests at heart. I have cards printed for the salon. They are an apology of sorts. The card reads, “I am sorry for the inconvenience of running behind. Please accept this $5 discount towards your next service and my apology.” Whenever I run behind, which is rare, I will hand the client one of these cards. They really appreciate it.
On the other hand, clients also run into snags in their day. We need to handle these issues with grace so as not to offend or upset a client or risk having them go to another salon. One way to handle the conversation is to simply say, “I’m sorry your day is not going well. I’ll do whatever I can to help you catch up and we can reschedule any part of the appointment that we don’t have time for.” You may shorten the duration of the service to fit if needed. The important thing is to charge for the entire appointment. This is a time that you have set aside for them. It is time that you cannot get back. It is gone. Most clients understand that if you are not working you are not being paid.
You may be feeling flustered or irritated. The more you use your interpersonal skills to ease the tension, the better the situation will turn out. Part of our jobs is to smooth out the rough spots in our client’s lives. We just need to make it better for a while. It takes very little effort to offer a kind word or take a deep breath. So the next time you feel irritated that a client is late, look at it from a different point of view. Make it easy on your client, let them get away with just a little bit more, but collect the full fee. You will be smiling later—so will your clients.