More Flies with Honey: Venting about clients equals baaaaad juju

Twenty-five years ago there was really only one well-known massage studio in town. They had about eight regular practitioners and a long list of Rules. That list was the angriest looking piece of paper I had ever seen. It had all the things this studio was not and did not do. Of course, they had the obvious policies about sex (not here), payment, and cancellations. This list was typed and went on thoroughly for about 20 items. Fine. A little strident, but fine, it’s good to be clear.

Then there were the “impulse” rules. Evidently one practitioner or another had been offended or angered by a client. So, that practitioner marched on out and added a new rule to the list, by hand. Or the practitioner had heavily underlined or circled a part of one of the typed Rules.

There I sat, reading the Rules, getting tenser by the minute, absolutely convinced I was going to offend and have a special rule put on the list just for me. Not a good atmosphere for client or practitioner.

I’m older now. I’ve been in customer service for a while. I get where they were coming from. But now I know no one has to go there. And I really don’t think any one should.

Complaining about a client to your clients poisons your business. Posting a vent on your business blog or social media, or sending a “firm” letter to “clear things up” to all your clients, is a really bad idea. While you may not be angry at all your clients, your anger is what they all take away from it. Your clients may even agree with you, but the subconscious questions seeping into all their future dealings with you are,

  • “What do they say about me when I’m not around?
  • Who do they talk to about me?
  • What happens if I do something wrong?”

Trust is eroded and the comfort level takes a nosedive. That’s not what you are about. Is it?

There are plenty of private, practitioner groups on social media platforms. That’s the appropriate place for venting. Being a wellness practitioner can be a lonely job and you need a place to blow off steam. It’s healthy. But then, my darlings, you have to let it go. Make it better or quit picking at it. Dwell on it too much and you sink.

You will always have one of Those Clients. Through experience (occasionally painful), I have learned that Those Clients have often truly misunderstood the Rules (whether it was an offer or a policy). And sometimes I have found that it was me who completely misunderstood what it was Those Clients were asking for. I blew it. It was my bad. I either missed an email or wasn’t listening or was distracted by a shiny object. And you will always have A Client that you just cannot work with properly. Yes, there are people out there who will take advantage of any little loophole. They are fewer than you think. More often you will find that Those Clients simply see things differently than you.

And for the buggers who are out to pull a fast one, they are your best teachers. They teach you to be clearer and they teach you to be gracious. We can all use a little refresher on those things.

We’re coming up on a busy time for all of us. You will be talking to your clients a lot, creating offers for your gift certificates sales, and thinking of ways to attract clients’ attention. Be positive, think through your offers, and have a friend read through your stuff for loopholes. Be as clear as you can, and when a particular client situation comes up, deal with it individually. Update your policies if necessary, but try not to take it out on all the rest of your clients who already interact with you quite well.