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If you work in the beauty industry chances are you have had to turn away a customer. If you haven’t I’m sure you have had customers that you wish you could have turned away.

How do you know when you should turn away a customer? And how do you do it and keep the peace?

It is important to mention that this article pertains to permanent makeup procedures, skin needling, laser rejuvenation or any other treatment which penetrates the skin. Regular old facials are not what we are talking about.

I spoke with longtime industry expert Zara Naderi and asked her for advice of how and what to do when you are not sure.

It is very important to do a thorough consultation with every single client before beginning any treatments. Even if the customer is a regular customer it is important to properly complete a consultation form every time just in case the client has begun taking any new medications or has recently had a treatment elsewhere that could impact the one you are about to perform.

Whilst checking for contraindications it is important to note any medications that could cause blood thinning. Did the client have a big night drinking last night? Are they currently on their period? Do they have young skin or mature thinner skin?

Perhaps they have some terrible previous work from another salon and they want you to ‘fix’ their brows or eyeliner or whatever it is they had botched previously. Of course we all want to help our clients but you should never take on a job that you are not confident you can achieve results you are happy with.

Depending on the severity of complications you may have to turn the customer away either forever for this treatment or until you can clear them for a treatment at a later date. This is never news that the client wants to hear. Yes it might make them angry or upset. They might ask why such-and-such salon will happily perform the treatment when you say no. Do not let that sway your decision. As Zara says “Your reputation is not worth the price of one clients single treatment.”

So now for the hard part. Saying no without starting an argument or creating a disgruntled client.

Firstly : Explain to the client your concerns about the treatment. Don’t just say ‘because I don’t want to’ but back it up with your professional knowledge of why it is a bad idea. If it is because you are not experienced enough, tell them. It is always easier to say ‘its not you, it’s me’.

Secondly : Where possible offer a solution or alternative treatment they can try. If the client is on medication that could cause excessive bleeding or is pregnant and this is the only reason you do not want to perform the treatment you can request that they get a doctors note clearing them for the treatment before proceeding. If they have terrible previous cosmetic tattooing you can suggest that they try removal of the remaining pigment first, or you can suggest another artist who may be willing to complete the job for them.

Thirdly : Remember to be nice and practice those people skills. If you kill them with kindness they cannot complain about being turned away out of professional responsibility. Consistency in customer service is key to upholding a professional reputation. Even when you are saying no.

1 : Explain concerns about the treatment

2 : Solution or alternative treatment

3 : Courtesy is key to good service

Have you had to turn away a client before? Let me know your experiences and what has worked/not worked for you!

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