Being Open With Clients

By: Adriana Nakamura



There are many times when a client’s expectations about the results they will get from our services are unrealistic. That’s why it’s our job as professionals to be open and honest with them from the start about what will work and what won’t. If we can communicate this way with each client, we can hopefully avoid misunderstandings, upset feelings, and having to spend valuable time fixing our own work.

Whenever I think about client expectations, I always remember a client I had in esthetician school. She was a sweet lady and was probably in her mid to late 80s. She came in for a brow tweeze and trim. As we went through her consultation form, I asked her about her expectations regarding her appointment that day. I had the feeling she didn’t want her brows overly arched or filled in, and I was right.

She said she just wanted a cleanup. She mentioned she never cleaned up her own brows anymore because she had difficulty seeing what she was doing. Great, expectations understood.

As I was about to start, she said she’d like me to tweeze any gray brow hairs I came across because she didn’t like them. Her brows, just like the hair on her head, were about 90% gray…I thought she was joking and laughed, but she was very serious. Silence. I stood there for what seemed like forever trying to think of a tactful way to say that if I tweezed all of her gray hairs she’d be left with nothing. I almost didn’t say anything. I thought about just doing what I could and ignoring her request.

But I thought better of it because I knew she would say something about me not giving her what she wanted. I finally told her I wouldn’t be able to tweeze all her grays because if I did, there would be gaps in her brows. She was surprised (yes, she really was) because she genuinely didn’t think she had that many gray brow hairs. We eventually agreed that I would clean up and trim her brows, as well as tweeze just a few of the grays (she insisted).

If I had just given her what she wanted, it would have been a disaster. I think that experience was good for me. It helped me realize how important it is to be honest with clients. In the years that followed I encountered many similar situations. And with each one I was open with my client and gave them my honest, professional opinion regarding what they wanted to do—even if it was something they didn’t want to hear.

Being open and honest with your clients may be difficult at times but it’s necessary. Once you can do it with confidence, you will be in a much better position to give them the best service you possibly can.

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