At one time or another, all business owners encounter the bane of their existence – an aggressive customer. You’ve probably had a salon guest come in and demand that they tan longer than the recommended time. Or, someone walks in who is clearly not “in control.” Of course, you don’t want to turn any customer away; but are there times when that is exactly what you should do? It’s okay to say, “No, we can’t allow you to tan for the full 15 minutes. For people with your skin type, we recommend a six-minute session.”
The tanner profile questionnaire you ask each guest to complete assists you in determining their session times. With an existing customer, you know their tanning history and can adjust their session time based on prior use. However, greater care is prudent when starting a tanning program for a new client. She may look like she tans every day, and will probably tell you she does. However, you’re not able to see the parts of her body most susceptible to overexposure. It is therefore a good practice to start her with less than the maximum time and increase the session ties as she continues to tan with no ill effects.
When a guest comes into the salon, don’t ask “How long do you want to tan today?” After you access her client information, give her the correct tanning time. Allowing a guest to “pick her own session time” is an injury claim waiting to happen! We often hear of tanners who are unhappy with the time recommended by salon staff. You know those tanners; they say, “I’m paying for a full session, so I want a full session.” Or, “I’ve been tanning every day for 20 minutes at the salon down the street. If you don’t let me, I’ll go somewhere else.” Remember, you’re providing a professional service and your clients need to respect your recommendation. Salon operator training courses help you with the process of skin-typing for each individual tanner.
Most of your staff will not be comfortable dealing with someone who is aggressive, nor will they want an unhappy guest filing a complaint with management. They will probably believe they’re avoiding a bad situation by giving in to the tanner’s demands. However, it’s very important to remember that you and your staff, not your guests, are the professionals. You have the training necessary to operate the equipment in a responsible manner. While having every tanner sign a waiver is an excellent business practice, waivers are not fail-safe. Again, as a professional in the tanning trade, there are times when you must say, “No.” Discuss with your staff how you expect them to respond in these situations and make sure they know you’ll support their actions.
Jenny is Vice President of Universal Insurance Programs, based in Phoenix, AZ. She works with new and existing salon owners to determine and provide insurance coverage for their unique business models. Contact Jenny with any questions regarding your insurance at 800.844.2101 x1480 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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