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The “Touch Points” of Tanning

the-touch-points-of-tanningWhat are those magic moments of the tanning experience at your salon that differentiates it from every other set of four walls that houses tanning beds? (I’m reminded of a New Jersey muffler shop 15 years ago that had four beds behind their muffler-changing bays – the “experience” has certainly changed since then!)

These days, the catch phrase for the critical factors of good service is “what are your successful touch points” of customer satisfaction? Over the last four years, my team has completed more than 400 secret shopper reports for dozens of salons from east coast to west, northern Minnesota to Texas, and it feels incongruous (love those 50-cent words) to talk about touch points because it would seem, given the rather weak results of those reports, that many of our salon consultants aren’t effectively “touching” many of their guests. Our research tells us that on average, the time elapsed between a guest’s entering the salon to their closing of a tanning room door is about 30 seconds. Apparently, there isn’t a lot of staff/customer “touching” going on.

It might be a good time to review some of the real touch points that should be executed in every salon:

The greeting
This should be real and sincere in its desire to welcome and show commitment to help the salon guest feel better than they did before walking through your door. Knowing your guests’ name can be magical to them – we all want to feel that we are “memorable” and someone remembering our name is a good start. But if that is not the case, try a compliment. There is something about anyone that can be complimented if you look hard enough (well, maybe not the “Tanning Mom”). Tell me, who does not welcome a nice comment about their shoes, or their earrings, or some other facet of their appearance? Everyone is vain in their own way. (Note: make the compliment sincere or their “great shoes” may end up metaphorically slapping you upside the head).

Ambiance or atmosphere
Gone are the days when the “beach scene” was successful salon lobby decor. Today it’s the spa look, one that communicates a professional approach to beauty and relaxation. That may require an upgrade in paint, nice plants, or flat screen TV to placate guests waiting for that space ship bed you just bought. Nice, soothing music works as well. In some salons, what works for their particular customer base is upbeat, near disco style music. A tanning salon should try to entertain as well provide guests with improved self-esteem.

Collaboration and partnership
The relationship with the tanner should be focused on making their investment of time and money worthwhile, one that they want to repeat. That means not necessarily selling someone the most expensive bottle of lotion or tanning package. Maybe they should have the best of everything; but that depends not on what you want to sell them, but what they really need at the time.

Aspiration selling
There seems to be a movement among salon personnel lately to not be as tan as is needed to model the results to which customers can aspire. If sales folks don’t want to UV tan as often, they should at the very least spray-tan once a week. No one believes a salon salesperson who looks whiter than the underside of a newborn gosling.

Safety and quality
It may be obvious, but secret shopper reports revealed that many customers were not being advised of the need for eye protection or the importance of using the proper lotion to enhance the work of the sunbed lamps.

You can and should create the unique “touch points” that differentiate your salon from a competitor’s. Because if you’re not better than a muffler shop, you’re in trouble!

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