How-To: Break Up With a Client

Chief Business Officer for GlossGenius Leah Cohen-Shohet shares her advice for knowing when to break up with a client this Valentine's Day.
Chief Business Officer for GlossGenius Leah Cohen-Shohet shares her advice for knowing when to break up with a client this Valentine's Day.
Courtesy of GlossGenius

While love may be in the air this Valentine's Day, it may also be a time for a break-up. 

Regardless of how long you've been in the industry, you've likely dealt with an uncomfortable client relationship. Maybe they push boundaries, behave rudely or your personalities just don't match. While some individuals may encourage continuing to serve said client for the sake of income, the industry is changing and encouraging beauty professionals to develop a clientele that suits them. This may mean it's time for a client break-up. 

Here, Chief Business Officer for GlossGenius Leah Cohen-Shohet shares her advice for knowing when to break up with a client. 


Beauty Launchpad (BLP): What are some signs that you need to break up with a client?

Leah Cohen-Shohet (LCS): Here at GlossGenius, we strongly believe that your clients should appreciate and build up your business, not break it down! Clients who are begging for a breakup are often overly demanding and disrespectful — and most importantly, can take up your extremely precious time with redos, touch-ups and constant special requests. Put simply, bad clients can have a serious impact on your business’s bottom line. In the self-care industry, time is money — and why not invest that time into building relationships with loyal clients who celebrate you and keep coming back?

BLP: Do you have any stories or anecdotes about client breakups? How did they go and what was learned from the experience?

LCS: We frequently hear from GlossGenius customers about memorable client breakups. One business owner conveyed that her complicated emergency C-section experience was made even more difficult by a client who was desperate to book a color touch-up. The client was calling and texting non-stop, sending constant messages to her business and personal social media page — and even going so far as messaging the pro’s husband on social media. When the business owner finally got in touch with the client and reminded her of her maternity leave, her response was that she was aware but figured she could still squeeze her in since it was just a quick service! Clear boundary violations like this one are a surefire sign that a client is not the right fit for your business. This pro did not regret respectfully parting ways with a customer who didn’t give appropriate consideration to her personal needs and time. She now gives that time back to clients who treat her with kindness — including one who had meals delivered to her home in the wake of a family illness. This business owner further bolsters positive relationships by giving her most loyal clients complimentary add-ons to treatments, birthday gifts and client anniversary gifts.

BLP: What steps do you recommend taking to break up with a client?

LCS: The best learning I’ve taken from our GlossGenius community is to keep it respectful, but keep it moving! You should let your client down gently and tell them that you’re not a good fit for their needs, then be sure to take steps to keep them off your books. Your salon or spa software may be your best friend in this regard. GlossGenius’s Ban feature allows businesses to bar problematic customers from making appointments moving forward. Make sure to swiftly “set and forget'' that Ban, and you’ll be good to go.

BLP: What advice do you have for beauty professionals regarding breaking up with clients?

LCS: Don’t hesitate! Some professionals will second guess themselves when it comes to severing client relationships. I would challenge them to think about how much better their time can be spent as an alternative to working with a difficult client. You could be servicing a client you love, building up your social presence to court new customers or developing a marketing campaign to drive appointment volume. In my opinion, investing your energy back into wonderful clients and the general health of your business is worth the loss of a customer you don’t have chemistry with.

BLP: What are things beauty professionals can do to help build a loyal clientele, so they can minimize breakups?

LCS: My best advice for finding quality clients that “get” you is to project your personal business brand to the world. Customizable GlossGenius booking sites help the right clients find you and determine if you are a perfect fit for their needs. GlossGenius also offers templates and an AI writing tool that can help you push out branded messages via text, email and social media. Additionally, I’ve observed that clear policies and expectations are key. GlossGenius booking sites enable businesses to take deposits, distribute important forms and waivers and communicate rules that protect their time and business. In short, client compatibility is so much easier when customers know what to expect!

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