As a lash extensions specialist, I get to chat with some of the coolest people on the planet. They’re all on time; they’re all happy to learn more about the lashes and how their eyelash extensions will look when they’re done. There is a common problem that arises: clients who come in late.
As a lash artist, you're probably used to dealing with a lot of different clients. While some are perfectly punctual and easy to work with, others can be less reliable. (This is especially common if your clients do not pay deposits or refuse to do so when asked.) But no matter what type of client you get—and even if they're late for their appointment—there are still ways you can ensure that everything goes smoothly.
There are a few different ways to deal with late clients. One of the simplest is to set a time limit for every service you offer, and communicate this to your client before they book their appointment. If they're late, you can either lash them in the remainder of the time left or reschedule them for another day—it's up to you!
Be sure to Enforce your Policies
If you have a no-show policy in place, it's important to enforce it. Your clients need to know that if they aren't on time for their appointment, they will be charged the full amount of their service. Make sure your policy is clear and well-communicated so that your clients understand how you'll handle late arrivals. If a client does arrive late (or doesn't show up at all), always follow through with this part of your policy.
That said, there are some situations where it can be difficult to enforce these policies: maybe there was an emergency or; maybe someone else needed help right away; maybe the bus was delayed or canceled altogether. These things happen sometimes—and they're not entirely out of our control as business owners—but we still need to have some kind of system in place so that we can live up to our word when something comes up that prevents us from being punctual ourselves (or even finishes ahead of schedule). In saying that, show leniency where you know the tardiness of a client was out of the ordinary and due to unforeseen circumstances.
Make sure you have a policy in place and your client is made aware of them from their first visit with you.
If a client is late, remind them of the policies if there is an issue when needing to end their appointment early for the next client.
Enforce your policy consistently, even with the occasional late client.
Don't let a few late clients ruin your schedule for the day, try to keep space between each client - recommended for a break for your body anyway.
Show Understanding to your clients
When a client is late, it's important to get specific about why they were late. It might be because of traffic, or perhaps the client had another appointment that ran long. Whatever the reason may be, at this point it's not your job to assign blame or say "it's okay." Your job is to communicate with your client in a way that communicates respect and empathy for their time as well as yours. Some examples of what you can say include:
"I'm sorry that you got stuck in traffic—what happened?"
"I know how hard it is when an appointment runs long; did everything work out?"
What to do if a client is ALWAYS late?
These clients differ from those who come late due to an outside circumstance. If a client is always late, despite you enforcing your policies and letting them know that you will run behind with your other clients if they continue to do so, you may fire them if their tardiness is getting out of hand. I propose a professional email or letting them know at their last appointment face to face if you are comfortable and safe to do so. Let them know your reasons why - always with compassion and understanding. If they insist they will never be late again or will at least give you a heads up that they will be late, try to give them the benefit of the doubt if possible. Sometimes some clients are better off going elsewhere so you can gain a new client who respects your policies and how you run your business.
What to do if you are running late with appointments?
As a lash artist, you want to make sure that your clients are on time and you are on time. This will save you at the end of a long day, and it will also send a strong message to your clients that you won't put up with flakiness.
If you are running late to an appointment: call them! Don’t wait until they arrive, because then it just makes things worse for everyone involved. Say something like “Hey I am running about 15 minutes behind schedule today I am so sorry about that!” Then try not to make them wait too much longer than necessary before their appointment (if possible!). If they need to reschedule, do not charge them again for their next appointment, take it on the chin and accommodate their requests so as to keep them happy.
You may feel like you’re being a stickler for punctuality, but this approach can actually be good for both your business and your clients. If your clients know that you take lateness seriously, then they’ll be more likely to plan accordingly. And if they don’t show up on time, then at least you won’t have to deal with their excuses. Don’t let tardiness wreck your schedule—set clear expectations ahead of time so everyone knows what's expected!