By Crystal Rooney, Spray Tan Artists Forum
Years ago, I was shown a video on the psychology of perceived value. They set up a restaurant with simple, undecorated card tables and metal chairs. They brought in a study group to evaluate. Seating was open table. Meals were served using paper plates, plastic utensils and plastic cups. The meal consisted of a salad, steak, vegetables, potatoes a dessert and wine. Wait staff dressed in plain clothes with only name tags.
When the meal was finished people were asked to rate it and tell them what the meal was worth to them in value. The average rating was three out of five, and the comments about the food were average to poor. The majority of people gave low ratings to the quality of the food. People stated they would pay an average of $10 per person for the meal and it was not remarkable enough to return.
The very next day, using another study group, they decked the restaurant out. They used seating service, lavish tablecloths, candles, china plates, silverware and wine and water glasses. Waiters had uniforms with crisp red aprons. They served the same exact meal.
This time, the average rating was close to five out of five and the comments on the food were all above average. People also mentioned that they would return and recommend them to friends. In addition, people commented on the environment and the wait staff. But the most profound change was that people were willing to pay an average of $25 per person for the meal.
How can it be that the value changed by more than double when it was the same exact same food? Perceived value. The worth that a product or service has is in the mind of the consumer. The customer’s perceived value of a good or service affects the price he or she is willing to pay for it.
When a customer perceives value in your spray tan and services they are much more willing to pay your asking price. Two variables we have in sunless are our products and services. Our products include the solutions we use and our equipment. Our services include the look and feel of our salon, spray rooms, amenities and customer service.
Decreasing value could include: cold rooms, standing on stained towels or sheets, uncomfortable surroundings, a lack of privacy, spray solution on the walls, intake and floor, leaky spray guns and taped paper signs all over the walls. Any of these factors will immediately decrease the value of your spray tan in the mind of the customer.
But you can add perceived values to your salon. Warm and inviting rooms with amenities such as disposable garments and single use nose plugs invoke a sanitary environment. Add a spa-like feel to the room with charming aroma that encourages clients to return. Choose decor that is aimed at relaxation and rotate it yearly. Complete cleanliness checks between clients instead of at the end of the day. Keep quality and fresh solutions and equipment that’s functional and pristine. Also, be sure to write things down about each customer’s experience, so you remember everything when they return.
Customer perceptions of your worth and value play a big role in what customers are willing to pay you. You can easily command the higher average in your city for your sunless services, despite your location, if you get it right. Visit a few spas and high-end salons and check out their environment. When you come back, reevaluate your space. Make the investments and changes to up your worth and value – it can and will pay off.