We Are Sunshine

All Eyes on Sanitation: Strengthen consumer confidence with enhanced cleaning protocol and education

Wednesday, May 6th, 2020

While we don’t know how the situation will have evolved in the time between this article being written in mid-April and you reading it in early May, it’s safe to say that the coronavirus crisis will have a lasting impact on most facets of everyday life for people around the world.

Whether conditions have grown closer to normal or continued to regress in the past few weeks, businesses of all kinds are still feeling the effects. In such unprecedented circumstances, the best we can all do now is focus on the aspects that we can control. Beyond preserving your health and establishing financial security, one of the best things you can do as a business owner is recognize the societal changes that will occur and react accordingly. Believe it or not, there are ways for professional tanning businesses to come back stronger than ever.

Among the countless ways that human behavior will be altered for months, years, or even decades after the health threat completely wanes, one of the most significant will be collective sensitivity to the way we interact with public places and the other people in them. For instance, TV personality and bar and restaurant expert Jon Taffer has suggested that restaurants will have to change their seating arrangements to ease apprehension about human interaction.

While close contact with people isn’t the primary concern for tanning businesses, expectations for cleanliness and sanitation will certainly become far more pronounced in the current climate. Cleanliness has always been the No. 1 thing people look for in a salon, but now clients are going to examine your business with a new set of eyes when they return. They’re going to expect changes, as well as reassurance. But, it’s your choice to view that as either a problem or an opportunity. Most people are undoubtedly still going to want to tan and use the other services professional salons offer. The question is where they are going to do it. And while some might be exceedingly paranoid about everywhere they go, that means they’ll only ever consider going to salons with the very highest standards.

In the coming months, your approach to salon cleaning and sanitation, and the way you communicate with your clients about it, can make all the difference. Professional salons with properly trained employees have already been doing it the right way, and by enhancing your efforts and making sure your clients know about it, you can sustain their trust and further separate your business from competition that doesn’t live up to the same standards.

You also have the opportunity to show and tell your clients and communities about the differences between your professional tanning business and other businesses that offer some tanning services. It stands to reason that businesses that require tanners to clean the equipment themselves and don’t have adequate staffs and training will have a hard time maintaining any level of confidence from customers under these circumstances.

Smart Tan Members, on the other hand, have the best training – including standard-based instruction on cleaning and sanitation – and a full staff of Tanning Consultants that could also be referred to as a Sanitizing Team. By making the right changes in your protocol and educating your community about it, you can strengthen your position by outshining other businesses that aren’t making the commitment you are.

“We know we’re going to get the recognition. I don’t care that you have the brand new beds. We have good lamps, maintain our beds and the salon, and it’s spotless. That puts us out there as a leader of the pack. People are chasing us. We welcome the scrutiny. Let’s set the standard,” says Hugh Colgrove, owner of Paradise Island Tan. “I want to take the opportunity – because people are really looking at it – to push how clean we are and advertise that.”

Even if you’ve always provided a preeminently clean environment, it will be important to take measures to combat new sensitivities. Steps should include enhancing your cleaning and sanitation practices, even if they’re already diligent, paying extra attention to the areas that impact the perception of cleanliness, and maximizing efforts to tell your clients about what you’re doing to keep them safe make them feel comfortable.

“Everything in terms of cleanliness is going to be bumped up. Salons who didn’t realize cleanliness is the main factor in being successful are going to realize that now,” says Mike Lipsky, owner of Sunburst Tan. “To compete, you’re going to have to be the cleanest salon, along with customer service. Cleanliness is going to come to the forefront to be a successful salon. That’s the way it’s always been, but it’s really going to sink in.”

Now is also a good opportunity to think about additional factors that distinguish you from other places that offer tanning services. Most notably, that means the way your staff members interact with customers. With clients becoming more conscientious about the safety of the places they visit, your professionalism and education as a whole will also be more highly scrutinized. As you consider how to better meet your clients’ needs and make them feel more comfortable, there’s no question that having better educated employees with the most knowledge and superior customer service skills will still do more to instill confidence than anything else.

Click here to read the entire article in the latest issue of Smart Tan Magazine online.