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Basic Tanning Certification
Indoor Salon Certification
Regulatory Information
Business Resources
Salon Operations & Procedures Course Chapters

Salon Management
Hiring and Training Employees
Understanding Customer Behavior
Customer Relations
Operating Costs and Revenues

Selling Services and Products

Advertising, Marketing and Promotions
Creating an Image
Yellow Pages Advertising
Ten Steps to Profitable Print Advertising

Chapter 4: Customer Relations

Most retail experts claim that customer service is the best way to build and keep a strong, loyal and productive customer base. It's a claim that makes sense, too. If the only thing you have to offer is a tanning service, you're not providing your customers with anything that every one of your competitors doesn't offer as well.

The service is the minimum you can offer. If you want to go beyond the minimum and achieve success you must provide your customers with something more; you must enhance the basic service at your salon so that they feel that it's not only a good place to go to tan, it's the best place.

When customers walk in your door, they should be greeted immediately on a first name basis, if possible. The ability to memorize names is an important asset in working with clients. They should be made to feel as though you are expecting them and are happy to see them. The customer always should be escorted to his or her tanning room. This provides a feeling of importance. When clients are done with their sessions, they should be complimented on their looks and asked if they enjoyed their session. All employees should be trained to follow the same routines with clients. This keeps the atmosphere professional as well as discrepancy-free.

Make certain the clients understand what they can and can't expect from their tanning sessions. False claims by employees obviously can cause a myriad of problems that you eventually will have to confront, and that promises to be an unpleasant and possibly costly experience.

Established customers are the rock upon which your business is built. Not only do they support your salon financially with their loyalty, but they also have the ability to bring in new customers. Word of mouth is the most important part of any business' advertising campaign. You'll want to do as much as sensibly possible to maintain old customers.

According to a Rockefeller Foundation Study, only 4 percent of all customers are lost because they die or move. The majority of customers (68 percent, according to the study) are lost simply because they don't like the employees' attitudes. The main point to remember is that your customer is your most precious commodity and should be treated as such. All customers should be offered a refreshment before they leave your salon. This is a good time to ask them if they have seen the new line of products you have available, whether they be clothing or lotions.

New Customers

If someone just walks in to check out your salon, you should give them the royal treatment. Answer any questions as thoroughly as possible and show them around the salon and explain your equipment and services. You even may want to offer them a complimentary tanning session just for coming in.

Telephone inquiries are very important as well, since tanning salons seem to get a lot of them. Always be cordial and enthusiastic regardless of whether you're busy. If you are too busy, ask them if they would please hold for a moment, and you will be glad to answer any questions. If you get tied up, have another employee talk to them. Never let them wait for an extended period of time, and never ask them to call back later. Offer to call them right back and make sure to do so. Phone manner is extremely important in the tanning business. If you can convince all the customers who call your salon to come in, you'll really be in business.

Minimum Service Standards

In order to offer the highest quality service to your clients, you and your staff should strive to achieve minimum standards of service. The following recommendations are meant to serve as a model and may not be sufficient for some salons. Whatever standards you decide on, however, make sure they are written out clearly and that all employees have read and understood them.

  • Greet Every Customer When He Or She Walks In The Door. This is critical. You will want everyone to feel comfortable and welcome when they enter your door. Even if you are working with another client at the time, take a moment to look up and acknowledge their presence by saying something like, "Hi, I'll be with you in a moment." It only takes a minute but is very important. Remember, this person is spending his money on a luxury service--make him think his money is well spent. After all, it probably is.
  • Address Clients By Name Whenever Possible. This obviously will not be possible for a first time visit. Remember, the more comfortable and welcome you make the client feel, the more likely he is to return.
  • Talk with Every Client Before He Or She Walks Out The Door. After the client is finished in your salon, be sure to ask him or her how the session was. Was it comfortable? Was it relaxing? Never let anyone out the door without a brief chat. Let your clients know you are interested in them. This will continue to put them at ease and reinforce the chance that they will reschedule another session.
  • Clean Every Room After Each Use. This is extremely important. Clients must be confident that they are in a spotless and sanitary environment. Tanning beds and rooms must be thoroughly cleaned.
  • Client Use Of The Telephone. It is recommended that you install a phone in the client waiting area for local calls only. This is an extra service that will make clients feel welcome.
  • Beverage Service. At the very least, you should install a coffee machine and water cooler and offer free refreshments to clients who are waiting. Additionally, consider offering a cold beverage such as juice or bottled water. Clients often get thirsty after a tanning session. Even if they have to pay for it, clients will view this service as another bonus.

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