Setting Expectations with Your Clients

We all have that one client. That one that is loyal and sweet, but they are always asking for a free product or service. We do our best to please all clients, but you are tired of it! You do not work for free, but you do not want to risk losing your loyal client. What can you do? Is this normal?

Well, you all may have a high maintenance client or a few, and I know exactly how you feel. This is in fact a common occurrence in many businesses. I have a very sweet client that most of my colleagues did not want to service due to her demands, physical challenges and for her inability to provide decent gratuity ( usually leaving a $1.00 tip on a $140 service. I know, tip isn’t mandatory, but it is greatly appreciated, right? ). This particular client is probably one of the sweetest people I know, but she is very picky and demanding. When her service was done, she would often request more to be done. For example, she would get a massage then would ask for a little more on her neck or back and wanted me to make up time if she had to take a restroom break in the middle of her massage.

Honestly, in the beginning I would massage her for a few extra minutes, but for every appointment she began wanting more and more. It is like that saying, you give someone an inch and they will take a mile. She always requested to be the last client scheduled since, in her mind, it gave her more time to ask for freebies. At the end of each service she still wanted to talk which would leave the front desk completely upset because we all were kept there late and still had to clean up and sanitize everything. I knew I had to address this, but I did not know how to approach her and I also did not want to lose her as a client. I found this to be even more difficult because after all of those times I said ‘yes’ I did not know how to switch it to ‘no’.

Well, this was not an easy task, but it was definitely liberating. Despite feeling upset, you can not put full blame on the client. You also can not use that pent up emotion when addressing your client. You just have to simply lay down the rules and expectations. I eventually let my client know that if she was going to continue scheduling services at that time then we would no longer be able to carry out our conversations for that long since it was keeping staff from going home. I let her know that we would definitely be able to schedule time for that outside of the spa like at dinner or something, but it was very important that we stayed on time and on track during the appointments. I also asked that she refrain from drinking a lot of water until the end of her service and to take a restroom break before the appointment. Since normally she would just tell me she wanted her usual areas massaged there was not much clarity which would allow her to add on areas during the massage. I wanted to keep the blame on the rules and not on her, so I let her know that the owners of the spa were asking that we get a clear plan of that service before hand and to refrain from adding additional services which then added time to the service.

As for her tipping, we are still working on that! On special occasions she would increase that tip by .50 cents. What the front desk began doing was asking if she would like to include gratuity with her purchase. I found that helps let clients know that the option of adding gratuity is there. You can go in different directions with this. If you feel that your services require a tip then I would advise that you include it into your policies. Bringing it up to a client face to face will possibly rub the client the wrong way and you do not want to do that. Be sure to sit with your client before the service to create a game plan so that you will know exactly what areas are needing to be treated. Setting your expectations and standards in the beginning is best. If you give-in to every single want that a client has and are a  “yes man” it becomes difficult to put your foot down when you decide to change things up.

It does not matter which service or treatment you are doing, lay down your expectations and rules and do not ever feel bad for that. If clients can not accept the rules then do not feel bad if they decide to get their treatment elsewhere. You know what your service is worth and trust your gut. Be nice and have integrity because that will take you far. Send us your stories or questions. We would love to hear them or any other topics you would like for us to go over.