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With the onset of the coronavirus early this year, many businesses (and most small businesses) were shut down. Slowly, some began to reopen. Slowly, customers tentatively began to return. Many were glad to just get out of the house.
Smart entrepreneurs, such as some in food service, adapted quickly, offering takeout and drive-through options. When we reached our fill of home cooking and grilling at my house, we threw on our masks and cautiously began to emerge from our quarantine cave in search of somebody else’s cooking. Restaurant servers, previously devoid of tip revenue, were more than glad to start serving patrons again. Everybody seemed pretty happy!
Then came May, June, July. Some states went back and forth on their COVID shutdown phases. Some businesses started requiring masks for both staff and customers alike. Manufacturers, distribution centers and trucking companies struggled with COVID call-outs. Retail stores started showing the signs of increased sales, but lacked the restocking capability. TV news reports ran continuous daily pandemic numbers at the bottom of our screens like baseball scores. Schools were getting to reopen and many were vacillating between online and back-to-classroom formats. Parents could be forced to stay at home and school their kids … not a surprise that folks started to get, well, a little testy.
Your salon may be up and running, but policies for how to handle customer complaints will always be at the forefront of customer service. How do you soothe the irate customer? It starts with fully understanding the issue or complaint.
At the end of the day, most salon guests simply want to be treated fairly. They sure don’t want to be argued with, so don’t do it. It’s really tough to remain angry at someone who agrees with you! Make sure that you are listening and not interrupting. Maybe even take notes. If you “lose it” and start barking back, it tells the customer that they may be right and that you can’t handle it. Remind yourself that the customer’s anger is typically not directed at you, personally – unless it is. Once it gets personal, loud, or if profanity starts to fly, all bets are off. One course of action: offer them a refund. Think about the impact on customers who hear an irate, vulgar voice in your lobby. It’s not worth it. “I’m sorry that you are dissatisfied,” you offer, sincerely. “I’ll be glad to refund the remainder of your package.”
One of the most often cited tanner complaints is, “I’m not seeing results” or “I’m not getting any darker.” During the summer, many indoor tanners “double dip,” getting UV exposure both indoors and outdoors. Make sure that you explain the concept of the “tanning plateau.” Tanners can only process so much UV into a darker tan. Suggest alternative lotions with more bronzers or upgraded tanning systems, but make sure you explain the importance of avoiding overexposure and sunburn. In addition, don’t forget to monitor and record the hours of usage on your tanning lamps. Some may be at the end of their useful life and are not effective at producing a tan. Waiting too long to change lamps and/or clean the sunbed’s interior, acrylic shields and lamps will reduce UV transmission, as well.
Stay on your “A” game and keep those customers smiling … even through their masks.
A 26-year industry veteran, Joe has taught certified salon operator training for the last 15 years, as well as advocating indoor tanning in many capacities. Joe is a sought-after speaker and presenter at both national & regional trade events, also interacting with the FDA, state & local regulatory agencies. During his most recent tenure with the ITA, he served as director of membership.
Copyright 2016 ist Magazine