Hairdressers Journal
Hairdressers Journal


Should you tell a client if you’ve made a mistake?

“I believe honesty is the best policy and goes a long way with clients”

“I totally believe honesty is always the best policy and when it comes to mistakes in the salon honesty goes a long way. Luckily in my 38-year career I have only made a few mistakes – cutting a fringe a bit too short, or a little bit of colour seepage or bleeding from a wrap or foil. Every time something has happened, I have sat down, given eye contact and spoken to the client. The consultation is absolutely essential as it sets the tone for the appointment and details what you and the client expect, so you both know what the outcome will be. If they are insistent on wanting a certain style or colour that isn’t going to suit their face shape or hair, I will always be honest and suggest an alternative or something similar. The client is accepting my professional advice and putting their trust in me and I am not going to break that trust. If a mistake occurs, I believe it is always better to explain what has happened straightaway. If the client goes home and decides the mistake means they never want to come back, at least I’d know I was being honest. You’ve let them know the mistake so there shouldn’t be any surprises, but some people won’t be happy and we have to accept that. The best way to approach it is with eye contact, good communication and a solution. We’re all human and mistakes can happen everywhere and as a society we have to learn to take responsibility and accept what happened. People will respect you and admire you for owning the situation.”

“Being too honest can cause unnecessary stress and worry”

“Robert Lobetta once said: “If you’ve never made a mistake, you’re not working hard enough!” And that is very true. Everyone makes a mistake at some point. It doesn’t matter how experienced or qualified you are. Sometimes it’s something you’ve done, sometimes it’s a chemical reaction you weren’t expecting. It’s not always necessary to tell a client what is happening during their hair appointment. The consultation is when you will discuss any issues and explain what you will be doing, products you will be applying and techniques you will be using. If a mistake has been made, it’s not necessary to tell the client unless to return for a correction. I’d never let a client leave with an obvious mistake, but sometimes a little white lie is all that’s needed. Being too honest can cause stress and worry for the client when there is no need. If you’ve made a mistake and have to talk to your client it’s glaringly obvious. I’ve had foil bleeds where I’ve not told the client and just corrected it during the toning process. However, I would tell the client if there was a situation where time was running out and they would have about it, explaining how it happened and how you’re going to correct it can enhance your expertise and professionalism as no one is perfect. Whatever happens, keep calm so your client doesn’t see you panicking in the mirror. Arrange a complimentary follow-up to see where to go next and offer a goodie bag of products to help repair the hair.”

This article appears in the May 2021 Issue of Hairdressers Journal

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This article appears in the May 2021 Issue of Hairdressers Journal