When Good Hair Goes Bad: How to Rebuild Trust When Something Goes Wrong Behind the Chair

Rebuilding trust with salon client

So, you’ve made a mistake and your client is unhappy. 

First of all, it’s okay: You’re human! Whether it was an error in judgement, a result of miscommunication, or something else entirely, no stylist is immune to having off days every now and then. Let’s face it: sometimes mistakes just happen.


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Once you’ve taken a deep breath, you can get focused on fixing your client’s hair, and, most importantly, mending your relationship.

Trust is a Key Ingredient in Hair Stylist-Client Relationships

Stylists are many things to their clients—in addition to being hairdressers, we are also friends, confidants, and even therapists at times. But at the base of each aspect of these multifaceted relationships is trust and communication. 

When something happens that breaks this trust, things can end badly. Maybe you had a formulation mishap and accidentally mixed up the wrong color. Or maybe your interpretation of “honey blonde” was different than what the client envisioned. Even though none of us are immune to tactical mistakes and they certainly can and do happen, the biggest reasons clients lose trust in their stylist really comes down to communication.

Whatever the case, something went wrong and the damage has been done. So, what’s a stylist to do?

How to Rebuild Trust When Something Goes Wrong

If something goes wrong behind the chair, there are a few things you can do to rebuild trust with your client. Make sure you have a strong foundation to begin with and, when in doubt, always be open and honest.

Master the hair consultation.

One of the best ways to protect your relationship with your client comes before she even sits in your chair. In order to build a strong foundation and avoid jeopardizing trust down the line, we always recommend that stylists start with a hair consultation.  

Although this is more of a preventative measure, consultations are key for building—and maintaining—a strong sense of trust with your client. If you have explained to them your process from start to finish, what you can realistically achieve during the appointment, and gone over pricing and future session goals, you can make sure that your client’s expectations are aligned with the results that you can deliver. 

If you can master the hair consultation, your clients will sit in your chair feeling much more relaxed knowing that you've educated them on the whats and whys of the session. This will also be your number one safeguard if something ends up going awry during the appointment. If you can fully educate your client and set realistic expectations ahead of time, they’ll be far less likely to be unhappy with the results.

If it’s not feasible to have the client come for an in-person consultation, digital hair consultations are always an option.

Be open and honest.

Whether or not you’ve had a thorough consultation, everyone still has their off days. And, communication aside, sometimes slip-ups just happen. 

When you find yourself in the heat of the moment, remember that the best thing for your relationship with your client is to be open and honest. If you know something went wrong because of your mistake, your client will be upset, but she will respect you a whole lot more if you address it and attempt to make it right rather than send her on her way unhappy. 

No one is ever proud to admit that they’ve done something wrong, but it can truly go a long way in regaining your client’s trust. Take the time to explain exactly what went wrong so that you can work out a solution together. From there, make sure to realign your goals and expectations and clearly explain the steps you’ll take to get to a mutually agreeable final result.

Maintaining Your Hair Stylist-Client Relationships

Having mishaps behind the chair is not fun and it can be detrimental to the relationships you’ve built. But, by setting yourself up for success from the beginning and being open and honest with your clients, you can maintain a healthy relationship and recover from any missteps along the way.

Want to learn more great tips to help deliver the absolute best client experience each and every time? Download our free Client Experience Tips PDF, which will help you create a salon experience your guests crave. Better yet, join the Society Membership, which will deliver valuable content right to your inbox each month!

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