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Have you ever heard the phrase, “you have two ears and one mouth for a reason”? Well, it’s really apropos to this month’s Sun is Life® topic: Handling the Dissatisfied Salon Guest.
When we cover this subject in our Sun is Life classroom sessions, many students reference the salon guest type who is dissatisfied with their tanning results or maybe, is not pleased with an EFT draft process or policy. Well, I have to tell you that the old axiom, “the customer is always right” may not be the absolute solution. That’s where the “two ears” part comes in.
Listen. Yes, listen. When a guest is expressing dissatisfaction, do not interrupt – hear them out. Perhaps ask a question or two and absolutely do NOT fold your arms in front of you while you speak! (This gesture subliminally indicates that you are on the defensive and blocking out whatever is being said.) Think about a “palms up” posture that would imply “Feel free to open up to me; I’m trying to help you.”
So, let’s dive into the guest’s perception of unsatisfactory results. Several points will come into play.
First, did you or your staff explain the tanning process, ask the guest about her expectations and then explain the approximate time it takes to not only obtain a cosmetic tan indoors, but also how often she will have to continue UV sessions to maintain it?
Here’s an example. Prior to a trip to Cancun in about a month, Guest A comes to your facility to get a base tan. Your staff explains what it will take to achieve that and recommends a session schedule. Guest A buys a ten-session package and starts the next week tanning on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She comes in the following week on Wednesday and Friday, but then skips a week and returns the following Monday, complaining that she’s not seeing the results she expected after five sessions (thus illustrating the importance of proper record-keeping.) You can offer that the staff explains to all tanners how the tanning process works, how long it takes to develop and maintain it. You have to use the product to get the results! Nonetheless, you can offer a free session to keep the guest satisfied … after reviewing the process with her again!
Another frequent complaint comes from the guest who notices the ends of the lamps in the sunbed are dark, and remarks that the lamps must be old and that is why he is not seeing results. End-darkening is a natural process that occurs when the lamp is ignited (lights up). Each time the lamp is started, tiny particles from the filament are loosened and adhere to the inside wall of the lamp. This affects neither the lamp’s life nor the UV output, but more observant guests may still perceive that the lamp must be “old.”
Typical 100W lamps will average about 700-1,000 hours of effective use. Make sure to log the date of each lamp change and monitor the hours of use. The lamps will have the steepest decline in UV output in the first 100 hours, and then remain quite consistent over the next several hundred hours. A UV meter may assist in tracking decline, but recording the hours of operation is also helpful.
So, to sum up, make sure the guest understands that end-darkening is a natural process and that your salon follows the lamp manufacturer’s replacement guidelines.
When it comes to handling the dissatisfied guest, there are no absolutes; but remember to listen and be confident that you have factual information to support your suggestion for resolution. And as always, consider Sun is Life® Certification to help make the process easier on yourself and your team!
Get the Facts with… Sun is Life
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.
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