It’s a summer Friday afternoon and it’s rained for what seems to be the last two weeks. You’ve got several spray-tan appointments set up at your salon and business has been steady all day with UV-tanners waiting (needing) to feel the glow. A nice-looking couple walks in and has a seat in your lobby. You greet them with a smile, but not recognizing them, you ask, “How can I help you?” They smile back, indicate that they are just waiting to meet someone, and ask to use your restroom. What do you do next? Not a comfortable spot, for sure.[gap height=”15″] Most of you are probably familiar with the similar issue that cropped up recently in a well-known “coffee house.” Next dilemma: Same scenario, it’s rained a lot and your tanners are lining up in your lobby to get some color. As you greet them and begin to send tanning times to the computer, you overhear a political conversation. The direction of the conversation doesn’t align with your views, and you feel compelled to ask the folks to leave your business. Again, you’ve probably heard about a similar situation that recently received a lot of media attention. [gap height=”15″] I came upon this last one this morning on my newsfeed: the manager of an eatery did not like the message on the ballcap of a customer and asked him to leave. Strong in his convictions, he felt compelled to rid his place of employment of the customer. And, the owner of the restaurant felt compelled to “86” that manager, as he didn’t follow the company’s standard of tolerance. Although we probably had difficult situations in the indoor tanning industry over the last four decades, those that have cropped up this year put a much different spin on how we conduct business. It’s a new day in the world of customer service! [gap height=”15″] Probably among the more difficult issues that we have had to contend with is the customer who comes to a tanning facility for a UV session and has obviously been at a bar quaffing several (if not, too many) of his favorite IPAs. He’s loud, obnoxious, and causing a public disruption in your lobby. To make matters even worse, you’ve got three new customers at the counter signing up for your “Platinum Package.” This is the tanning special you’ve been heavily promoting to direct folks to join your yearly EFT membership. But “Happy Hour Hal” threatens to push these three out the door in shock and horror, as you allow him to amble back to bed No. 3 just to clear him out of the lobby. Yikes! [gap height=”15″] While teaching the IST Sun is Life® Training and Certification program around the country over the last several years, I’ve had the opportunity to discuss this particular issue with my students. Look, it’s a difficult situation for sure; but you simply cannot allow this type of customer to override prudent problem-solving. You have to make “Hal” understand that allowing him to tan in his current condition will put him at risk for erythema (sunburn), as alcohol may have that effect on UV exposure. Explain that you will be glad to have him come back tomorrow for a session, but it’s not happening today. More than likely, allowing the inebriated customer to tan will result in the loss of the three people who were in the process of becoming new EFT members. Perhaps, those people also have daughters (over age 18, of course) who they had planned to purchase memberships for. Now, you’ve potentially lost six new members! [gap height=”15″] For a greater understanding of customer service, professional salon best practices and a host of other educational information, sign up for Sun is Life Training at sunislife.com. [gap height=”15″] I’d like to hear from you on the relatively new issues that led off this column. How would you resolve them? Email responses to firstname.lastname@example.org
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It’s a new day in the world of customer service!