Tanning Salon Professionalism
· Customer rapport
· Customer complaints
· Customer service
Professionalism is defined as the standing, practice, or methods of
a professional, as distinguished from an amateur. A professional
is defined as a person who is expert at his or her work. Finally, a
profession is defined as an occupation requiring advanced education
As the indoor tanning industry moves toward becoming more professional, in order to
be considered a true profession, it is necessary that all of us privileged to work in the
indoor tanning industry seek to advance our knowledge of the “science of tanning”
and in the professional operation of a fully compliant tanning salon.
To a customer, walking in and seeing a familiar smiling face behind the counter is
one of the things that helps them to feel comfortable when making a buying decision.
Building rapport (a harmonious relationship) with the customer will help them
understand that you are sincere and are leading them in the right direction.
It is important to take the time to make a client feel comfortable about the decision
they have made to tan at your facility. Make sure to initiate a conversation when
they come in to tan, even though they may not need to purchase anything. Start off
by remembering their name, shaking their hand, and of course greeting them with a
smile. As you get to know your clients you will remember things you can ask them
about their family, job, pet or anything else they may have told you.
When a client is tanning for a special occasion, like a vacation or wedding, always
ask detailed questions about the status of the event and wish the customer good luck
and invite them back to continue tanning after the event. Tell them to make sure that
they bring photographs of the event to share with you. If the client is vacationing in a
tropical area, be sure to warn them about the intensity of sunlight in the tropics and
suggest that they consider purchasing appropriate sunscreen products to take with them.
The old adage “the customer is always right” is particularly true in the indoor tanning
industry when it comes to handling complaints because tanning is a business built
primarily on referrals from customers. It is much easier to keep a customer that
currently patronizes you than it is to try to regain one that has left. The majority of
customer complaints, even those that may start off with the client being very irate, can
usually be handled in a calm, mature manner. A good strategy is to “kill them with
kindness” when handling customer complaints.
It is important than employee never argue with a customer and it is recommended
that they listen carefully to the customer in order to determine the reasons that they
are unhappy. When the employee does not have the authority to resolve the problem,
the customer should be politely informed that the owner or manager must be
informed of the situation.
Consider working up a list of past complaints and develop methods for handling them
should they happen again. New employees can practice “role playing” exercises so that
they will feel better prepared regarding how to handle certain complaints that may arise.
There are situations in the tanning salon where the customer is not always right and
they involve issues relating to their safety. For instance, if a client states that they do
not intend to wear protective eyewear while tanning, they must not be allowed to
tan. Also, a client must never be allowed to tan longer than the MTI (maximum timer
interval) posted on the tanning unit for any reason.
Anything that would adversely impact the safety of the client is the responsibility of
the tanning salon, not the client and, therefore, in these situations the client is not
Your philosophy of customer service should be to provide necessary information to
your clients in the most friendly and professional manner that is possible. They should
be educated about your equipment, tanning packages, lotions and their phototype/
subtype. In addition, each new client should sign a Client Release and Informed
Consent form in order to make sure that you have properly covered the risks of
In addition, you want to give your clients as much information about the “science
of tanning” as possible without overloading them with more information than they
are able to comprehend. Each client has a different educational background and,
therefore, a different threshold of understanding. It is important for you to stay up-todate
with the latest information so that you can deal with all levels of clients. It is
important to understand that if a question arises and you are not sure of the answer
that you tell the client that you will find out the answer for them. This is a much
more professional approach than “guessing” and possibly providing the client with the
It is the responsibility of all employees to work within the company guidelines of
professionalism at all times. Should there be a situation where an employee of a
tanning salon feels that they have been instructed to operate in a manner that is
against federal and state regulations and not in the best interests of the client, it is
incumbent upon the employee to bring the matter to the attention of the manager or
owner for resolution.
Finally, the client deserves an appropriate and professional level of attention from
the time they enter your facility until the time that they have completed their tanning
session and leave. Saying “goodbye” when they leave is just as important as saying
“hello” when they arrive!
The highest standards of cleanliness should be maintained at all times. Your clients
should feel comfortable that they are tanning in a clean and properly sanitized
environment. This pertains not only to the tanning equipment they will be using
but also to the entire salon. It is important to make the cleanliness of the facility a
major factor in the training of new employees. The owner or manager must set the
guidelines for the cleanliness of the salon and routinely check to make sure that they
are being adhered to.
It should be noted that overall sanitation should be looked at. Check the tanning bed rooms
for such things as goggles, lotion bottles and packets, towels, socks, underwear, large dust
bunnies, cobwebs, etc. All of this makes for an unsightly salon and ruins the experience for
A good “pop quiz about cleaning” is to ask yourself if the salon is ready for an FDA
or state inspection at all times. If every aspect of your tanning salon is ready for the inspector, then you are most certainly ready for your valued clients. Your customers
deserve the very best you can offer and they should never be given anything less.
It may be helpful to create “checklists” to help remind employees of tasks that are to
be completed by the end of a shift. Put on the list the mandatory things that must be
done daily as well as less critical tasks that can be scheduled during the slower parts
of the day if time allows.
Any employee who wants to be considered as a true indoor tanning industry
professional must act responsibly and proactively when it comes to maintaining a
clean and inviting tanning salon environment.