The client is always right.

Well, yes and no. In the service industry, we must always strive to please our clientele and go to whatever lengths we possibly can without compromising our integrity, putting them or ourselves in danger, inconveniencing other clients, or losing income flow for ourselves or the studio. There are times that can be very trying with certain clients and you may not be able to please one or two clients, but you will have to let it go.

In those cases, the stars are just not lining up. It could be that the client has very unreasonable expectations about you and the studio and nothing can be done about that, or it may be that you and the studio are just not a good match for this client. In any case, you do what you can and always be polite and up front.

Some problems can arise from differences in personality and/or style with teacher and client. Sometimes the solution can be as easy as switching the client to a different teacher in the studio. Sometimes a regular client in a group class which suddenly gets several new members may feel they are not getting the same workout, etc. This is a hard one, especially when the class is a beginner/intermediate and is open to all. You want to give as much as you can to the long-time client, but you also want to be open to new people coming to the studio and trying new classes. Sometimes there is nothing to be done except to ask the old client to take some privates at a discounted price until the others catch up a bit. Sometimes you can see if another day or time will work for another class. If they choose to stay in the class, you as the teacher must do all you can to accommodate all levels and keep everyone safe. This takes a lot of creativity and energy. Most times if you show the client that you are really looking for compromises and another way to meet their needs, they really appreciate it and will be more patient and flexible.

To sum up, when dealing with difficult clients who get emotional and are demanding, always, always give them your full attention and understanding. Listen to them and don’t be too quick to interject or to say there is nothing to be done. You might be surprised that you may be able to find a really nice solution for you, the studio, and the client.

The most important piece is that you do not ignore or marginalize the concerns and wants of your clients, however unreasonable they seem to you. In the end, you may not be able to accommodate them, but at least you have really listened, talked, and tried your best to figure out a solution. This will make a huge difference and impression on most clients even if they don’t end up staying at the studio.

~by Jennifer Gianni

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  1. LizRidley

    Thanks Jennifer – I always need reminders not be become defensive. And the advice about not being too quick to interject – that hits home with me too. Being open and honest is key. Liz Ridley