Asian beauticians – poor customer service?

January 22, 2012
Eyebrow threading
Now, as I write this post I expect a huge backlash from many Asian beauticians who are truly brilliant at what they do AND have excellent customer service.  To those, please note that this is not aimed at you.  Also please be aware that my title is a broad sweeping generalisation…
I think my following rant will strike a chord with many desi girls.

Asian beauticians – poor customer service 🙁

Last week, I went to the beautician to get my eyebrows threaded.  I’d been going to this lady for a few months and by and large, she does a good job.  I ignore the fact that the she sometimes scratches my eyelids with her long nails while she cuts across with the thread, I also turn a blind (and scratched) eye when she answers her mobile phone mid-threading.
However, everyone has their breaking-point.  Mine was when I was left waiting while she conversed with friends and offered them advice on what outfits to buy from the shop she owns on the floor below the beauty parlour.  She told me she’d be two minutes, but despite my huffs and puffs in-between, she was more like fifteen.
In the meanwhile, I’d gone to check on my car, only to come back and find her on the phone, complaining how short staffed she was.  I gave her the death stare, she got off the phone and angrily hacked away at my eyebrows.
At this point, I wanted to impart some friendly advice about putting the customer first, and how she should prioritise a two-minute eyebrow job ahead of a long browse with a friend/customer who will most likely not purchase anyway.  But she looked so peeved that I didn’t dare say a word – I was alone and she had my beloved brows in her hands.  One slip and I’d be maimed.
Needless to say, I’ve not been to her since, and am currently sporting a scouse brow while I look around for another beautician.

Asian beauticians and their brutal criticism!

The sad fact is, I’m not too surprised by her unprofessionalism.  The first time I’d visited an Asian beauty parlour, it was a similar story. I went with a friend, and while the craftsmanship was great, their customer service wasn’t.  Forget asking about holidays or hobbies, my friend was told that she should get her moustache done, while I was offered a spot cream.  Both my friend and I left with beautifully groomed eyebrows but crippled self-esteem.
The poor service extends beyond eyebrows.  I remember when I got my makeup done for a family wedding.  The beautician seemed professional enough during the trial, so I booked her to do hair and makeup for my sister, cousin and I.
I signed the contract, and clearly stated that I didn’t want our pictures to be used for promotional purposes.  Ahead of the wedding, the makeup artist asked me to send pictures of any hair styles I’m keen on, so she could replicate on the day of the wedding.
However, I shouldn’t have bothered.  On the day itself, the makeup artist turned up with her teenage sister, who was going to do our hair.  Armed with GHD’s, it turned out that her sister could only do two styles, straight or curly –no bouffant, chignons or up-do’s of any sort.
The makeup artist herself wasn’t without fault.  As there were three of us, we felt slightly rushed, and vital things, like applying mascara, were forgotten.
In hindsight, I probably should have researched more thoroughly when looking for a makeup artist.  At the time, I took her certificates as read, when in actual fact she was more of a ‘hobby’ artist.
However, my bigger bugbear with this makeup artist was her attitude afterwards.  I was bombarded with text messages asking for a testimonial.  I hoped that ignoring her texts would give her the hint that I wasn’t too pleased.  When this didn’t work I had to be totally honest and say she wouldn’t want a testimonial from me!  Then I was asked whether there were any photos of me that could be used on her website…!
The thing is, despite the rush, the forgotten mascara, and limited range of hairstyles that was on offer, my sister, cousin and I looked nice, so they didn’t do such a bad job.  But the overall service and professionalism – or lack of – tainted my opinion, and I wouldn’t book her again.
Now, this post isn’t just a whinge (though it has been so far).  I want to make the point that many Asian beauticians have the skills to get the job done, but are let down by their customer service.
I’m not saying that non-Asian, mainstream beauticians are perfect – in fact some are far from it.  However, as a generalisation, mainstream beauticians tend to offer much better customer service than their Asian counterparts.
Now, upon reading this, any Asian beauticians will be quick to point out that mainstream salons charge much higher prices.  Yes, I’m aware of this, so I don’t expect coffee and cake while I get my eyebrows done.  However, a little politeness goes a long way, and keeps customers loyal.
So ladies, while I’m no beauty expert, working in PR I have client satisfaction at the forefront of everything I do.  So here are a few pointers…

My tips for Asian beauticians to up their service game

  1. If you keep a customer waiting, it better be for a good reason.  Don’t forget to explain the delay, apologise and get back to them as soon as you can.
  2. Don’t answer your phone and engage in conversation with someone else while carrying out a procedure.  Focus your attention on your client.
  3. Cut your freaking’ nails.  Not only is it unhygienic, you can have someone’s eye out.
  4. Don’t imply that your client is FUGLY (this really should be a no-brainer).
  5. Be tactful with your advice and don’t pay too much reference to excessive facial hair.  If your customer wants their ‘tache threaded, waxed or bleached, they’ll say so. You don’t need to point that out.
  6. Be upfront during trials. Be clear about what you can and can’t offer so there’s no misunderstanding on the day.
  7. Don’t do you best work during the trial, it’s the main event that counts!
  8. Don’t make your client feel like they’re rushed.  Beauty is an art-form, it takes time.
      And most importantly…
Remember, while I can’t speak for all Asian beauticians, most of you are great at what you do!  You’re eye makeup is exemplary, and you’ve been threading way before Selfridges got in on the action.  But now they’re all over it and charging a fortune because they are providing an Asian service with a very western level of customer service.  If you Asian beauticians did the same, you could justify charging a little extra and still have a happy customer.  Now that’s a win win situation.

About the Author


I’m a British-Bengali Muslim mum-of-two. My pictures aren’t filtered and neither are my words. I’m not a makeup artist, chef or lifestyle guru. I’m just me, sharing honest beauty reviews for brown skin, halal restaurant finds, travel inspo, mum life hacks, easy Bengali recipes and more. If that’s your bag, keep reading!

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