When Your Client Demands a Fix & It's Not Your Fault

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Who doesn’t want every client to fall in love with them? You gotta agree there’s not a lot out there that feels as good as when a client says to you:

“Dawn, you’re the only one who can do my hair. No one, I mean NO ONE has ever been able to get it right like you do!”

I love those clients. They make my feel like I've fulfilled my calling and I'm a magical goddess.

But then there are those times when clients come back unhappy, even when I did exactly what they asked for.

I’d go to the backroom and tell the other stylists all about it:

“I can’t believe Cindy is back for a fix, She asked for chestnut brown and now here she is saying it feels ‘too red’!”

A collective “UGH!” from my co-workers had me feeling validated in my annoyance.

It felt good to be validated that I didn’t do anything wrong, it wasn’t my fault. She should have told me ahead of time that she doesn’t like warmth in her hair and she shouldn't have asked for chestnut brown.

But here's the thing, Cindy didn’t know the difference between warmth and red. She was unaware that the chestnut brown pinterest picture she brought in had warm undertones in it and… well I don't need to explain this to you, you get it.

But that’s the thing, clients don’t get it. I assumed (big oopsie!) that Cindy understood something that was second nature to me as a professional.

And as the professional I needed to step up my game. But I didn’t want to, I thought that if I took responsibility for the fact that I didn’t communicate clearly enough, that it was my fault that her hair was “red”. That somehow I hadn’t done my job , and it equated to being incompetent.

Taking responsibility for something that’s not your fault can feel like you’re assuming blame.

But not stepping up is no way to live or run a business.

Think about it, if someone rear ends your car... since it’s not your fault will you sit around and not get your car fixed?

Of course not. You didn’t cause the crash, but it’s still your responsibility to take it into the shop. Otherwise you’ll just end up sitting around being mad at the person who hit you and blaming them for the reason you don’t have a car to drive.

This can reflect with taking responsibility with our clients too.


I know you have had your own Cindy happen to you too... It sucks, but know that if you take responsibility for it, it does not mean you’re at fault.

Let me repeat that:

Taking responsibility for something does not mean you’re at fault for it.

It doesn’t make you look like you aren’t talented and skilled. It actually does the opposite.

If you take responsibility for a miscommunication, lack of understanding or whatever it is, you can wow your client and turn them into a lifelong raving fan.

So when I went back to Cindy this is what I said:

“I understand Cindy, I should have mentioned to you that in order to achieve this chestnut color I do need to formulate with warm tones. The red you are seeing in your hair is a result of those warm undertones that are needed to create that shade of brown. What that means is for a lot of people it appears red to them. Especially in certain lighting. 

It sounds like that isn’t something you want and I want to make sure you’re happy and love your hair, so I know this may not be the answer you want to hear, but I believe it's best we look at other shades for you hair colour to avoid having a colour that doesn't make you feel amazing. Would you be open to doing that?“

Do you see how I took responsibility for not educating her but didn’t assume fault? It’s a learning curve, but I know you’re cut out for it. And if you want a little more guidance check out my video below:

It’s not just about doing hair, it’s about educating our clients and if you take the time to do so, whether we “get it right” the first time or not I guarantee that if you take responsibility for your unhappy clients you will make lifelong fans outta them that can’t shut up about how great their hairstylist is.