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How to Deal with a Non-Compliant Client

How to Deal with a Non-Compliant Client


We’ve all had them. The clients who don’t follow instructions. The ones who just want a quick fix and not an education. The ones who insist on talking over you and think they know more than you do. The ones who, after ignoring your all your advice, complain that they’re not seeing improvement in their skin. These are the non-compliants. And here’s how you deal with them.


Manage expectations

Clients come to you because they want to improve their skin and they need help. Most will be compliant as long as they understand how their actions or inactions will influence their results. Discuss exactly what they can expect through the process. Make sure they understand the potential for flaking and peeling. And ask questions to determine whether or not the treatment is right for them. Do they have an important event in less than 30 days, for instance? The clearer the process, the less likelihood for confusion or dissatisfaction. Vivant has created educational material to help you here. Provide your clients with our “What To Expect” booklet and ask them to read it thoroughly.


Set the ground rules up front

After a thorough discussion of the plan, procedures, and expectations, have the client sign an agreement stating that they will follow the plan for at-home care including using the appropriate products as recommended by you.


Ask for payment in advance

A client who is invested, not just emotionally but monetarily, will be more likely to take their treatment seriously. Offer your client six sessions for the price of five if they will pay in advance including the products. Your client is more likely to stick to the program, and you get your money up front.


No secrets

When Dr. Fulton was treating acne patients, he would ask them to bring in their makeup to the initial session. He would then review with them the reasons they should not wear it. You may not need to go that far, but you do need to find out what acne clients are using on their skin and encourage them to go without the makeup, or at least use products that are non-comedogenic. Explain the reasons for avoiding these products and how wearing them will affect their results.


Document It

Take a photo before any treatment. If your client later feels they have not seen improvement, you can show them the photo to document. Results are always more dramatic when you can easily compare before and after. It’s also a good idea to ask your client to put their feedback—good or bad—in writing. It’s not unheard of for clients to heap praise initially, only to turn around and give negative comments if something arises later. Having it in writing gives you some backup. 


Just say no

There will always be those few who, for whatever reason, just don’t want to comply. In these cases, it may be better to suggest they see another skin care professional.