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Losing a client can really shake up your confidence and put a dent in your professional progress. It never feels good to lose a customer, unless you were already trying to show them the door. Alas, it’s a part of business. Are there any special rules of engagement (or disengagement) when you find yourself in a client break up?  Should you head into confrontation mode or do as Gwenyth might, “consciously uncouple”? How can you separate yourself from up in your feelings and switch into a more detached business one? How will future clients benefit from your current negative experience, turning your perspective from bad to good? What might this departure say about you, your service and work ethic?

Break ups happen for a reason and rarely overnight. Your client relationship is no different. Sometimes you hit it off and ride into the sunset. Other times it might end with all the drama of a Bachelor rose ceremony.  So what happens when a client stops calling and starts seeing someone else? Are you inclined to call the old ex and check in to see what went wrong? Was it me or was it you? Or are you willing to accept that breakups are a part of life and remove yourself from any guilt that might come up for you. No stalking, please! We advise to do what you can to keep things from getting awkward. If your client ends up in the station next to yours or another one down the street, wish them well. Leaving things open ended and without blame allows for future opportunities. You never know when and where you might reconnect. 

Most of the time a client will make a switch simply based on a factor of conveniences. Forget about customer loyalty and know it’s more about a client’s inability to commit. The clients’ services get prioritized by the thrill or spur of the moment impulse. There’s also something we call, “the grass is always greener” syndrome. Just like nail pros, clients can find themselves in a rut. Checking someone new out is the only way to scratch the itch for reinvention. 

Now we always welcome the chance for self-reflection in business. A client leaving here and there is really no big deal. If several clients are jumping ship at the same time, maybe there is something more to it. Take time to regularly check in with your clients and your work while the going is good. Is there room to improve my business? Have you gotten a little lax and your service needs a little pep infusion? Or maybe is it the actual nails? Are you behind on the current nail trends? Are nails falling off? Do you need to reconsider your products of choice? Maybe you want to try some new classes, pick up a new nail art technique, or brush up on continued education? Some disgruntled clients will leave without a word. Once they’ve left; it’s too late for a heart to heart. If you’re a new nail tech trying to build a clientele, reach out to one of your satisfied clients. Seek out someone who you trust. Text them or chat them up. Let them know that you're always trying to improve yourself and might they help you with some feedback? Don’t be afraid of the truth. Be transparent, tell them your concerns, how much you value their opinion. P.S. Don’t ask this of every client. It won’t be productive. Just ask the ones you have a steady connection with. A nail pro with full books is barely going to bat an eyelash if and when a client falls off. When one does leave, now is the time to pick and choose a better replacement. It’s a true testament to your talent when someone leaves and can’t get back in. 

THE 50-50 RULE
For every client that sits in your chair, expect to keep half of them if you’re new to the business. This is the 50-50 rule and it’s not a bad one. We’ve said it before and we’ll repeat it here, every booked client is an incredible marketing opportunity. You’re just one social media snap away from every one of their acquaintances.  Switching out sets or during maintenance is the best time to casually check in. Invite their feedback and their best friends in for service the same conversation. Anticipate their lifestyle needs and you just might have a client for life. 
Notice how your work is wearing. Come clean and be honest with yourself. A healthy relationship takes two people. Don’t take any of the clients’ needs for granted. This is a great way to prevent cheating. Clients will come and go. It takes time to build the relationship and settle into familiarity. People might not recognize what value you’re offering until they try someone else. Over time you’re going to see the results. If you’re looking back on several years of low client retention, something might be up with your foundation.  You don’t have to figure it all out on your own. Reach out to a fellow pro who has a business set up you admire and ask for guidance. You can always reach out to YN directly, we’d be glad to help.  

**This is an adaptation from our YN Biz Talk playlist on YouTube, Biz Talk: My Client Cheated on Me! which originally aired on December 3, 2020. 

***Follow our YN YouTube Channel and click here to watch the full discussion: