Happy Client, Happy Business: Here’s How to Handle Difficult Clients

Whether working in a spa or as a freelance esty, you’ll come across some unhappy clients at one point or another. It’s essential to know how to handle difficult clients while still keeping your dignity and staying professional.

Keep your team and others safe.

Although you’re dealing with a difficult client, you need to keep others safe. If this client can’t be handled, call for assistance from your manager, or if you’re a freelancer, leave the situation. It’s not worth the measly tip.

Handle the situation in private.

Just because the upset client isn’t enjoying themself, it doesn’t mean that others have to be affected. Some things should be kept private and, in this case, the client’s issue. 

Truly listen to the client’s problem.

Many people forget, especially during an ‘issue,’ to truly hear the person. Listen to their concerns. You may find that the situation can be easily resolved.


This may be difficult for some, especially if they know they are right and not the problematic client. Sometimes all a person wants is an apology, whether they need to hear you say that they were right or simply knowing that you listened to their concerns and acknowledged the issue.

Do what you can to try to resolve the problem.

Were they unhappy with the facial? Ask your manager if they can provide the guest a voucher for an upgrade during their next visit, or if they have an issue with you, allow them to come back and have a better experience as you’ll know them better this time around. And, of course, kill them with kindness. 

Put yourself in their shoes.

From a business standpoint, an issue may not look the same as the client’s view, so take a moment and put yourself in their shoes. 

Do you see it bothering you if you were the client? If so, let them know that you see their point of view and work together to come to a compromise.

Keep a record of everything.

Keeping a record of the issue and how it was or wasn’t resolved is an excellent way to save yourself if they come back again. Maybe that reminder will create a better experience the next time around. 

P.S Avoid jotting down unprofessional notes in their profile, even if you really, really want to!

Stay cool, calm, and collected.

As I write this, I’m thinking of people I’ve run into through the years that I tried my darndest to stay cool, calm, and collected. As I quietly and kindly excused myself from the situation, it gave me a moment to gather my thoughts and continue with the person. It may sound difficult (and it totally is at times!), but be the bigger person.

Suggest another Esty.

In the unfortunate event that you are the ‘issue’, it may be a wise decision to suggest they try out another esthetician at the spa or another freelancer that can hopefully give them a different experience. 

If you have to cut ties, do it.

Sometimes you just can’t make people happy regardless of what you do. If this difficult client has recurring issues, maybe it’s better to cut ties completely. Thank them for their business and rip off the bandaid. 

If you remember all the tips or only a select few, you need to know how to handle demanding clients before running into a problem. It takes one bad review that could affect your business, so take a breath, adjust your hair and handle it.


Check out LNE & Spa Magazine for more in-depth tips and advice on how to deal with difficult spa clients and handle negative online reviews.