Massage & Bodywork

JANUARY | FEBRUARY 2017

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AVAILABILITY Being unavailable sometimes is just unavoidable. You may have had bookings during the exact date and time someone was hoping to see you, or you may have been away from the phone or out of the office during the scheduling of your client's appointment, causing you to lose potential business from even the most loyal customer. Nevertheless, offering regular clientele scheduling priority can go a long way toward getting repeat business. Online appointment scheduling is a foolproof way to ensure that even if someone isn't there to answer the phone, clients can still make appointments. Offering this, in addition to phone or text responses, always ensures you're available 24-7. STUCK IN A RUT As massage therapists, sometimes we can't help but get a little too regimented in our routines. Getting stale in what we do can sometimes lead clients to think of exploring other hands and techniques to see if the grass really might be greener. While we certainly don't need to reinvent the wheel in our practice, sometimes changing something as simple as the order in which we massage can freshen up our sessions. For example, if you usually start at a client's posterior, change it up to the anterior; or, if you usually work from head to foot, try foot to head. These simple changes in routine can feel like a completely different experience for someone. And don't forget about continuing education. Picking up a new technique or modality can expand your toolbox and make leaving you more difficult for clients to do. Still, those subtle changes will not always be enough to keep clients from wandering away. Consider freshening the appearance of your office space, brands or scents of oils and lotions, and music to make clients feel like they're entering a new space. Think of those changes and potential expenses as an investment in client retention, as well as client expansion. MONEY TALKS Nearly everyone likes a good deal. Even the worst massage can be rated high enough above unsatisfactory to cause someone to return if the price is right. Sometimes a competitor offering a coupon or discount that seems too good to pass up can lead a faithful client to stray. A great way to offset a competing coupon or discount offer is to give regular clients a special reward card. After so many sessions, a reward or punch card earning them the option to upgrade a service or extend session time can be used as a gift of gratitude, ensuring steady income for you while patrons work toward earning extra points for their card. 82 m a s s a g e & b o d y w o r k j a n u a r y / f e b r u a r y 2 0 1 7 By Tera Johnson-Swartz WHY CLIENTS STRAY … and How to Keep Them From Doing So Have you ever learned about a current client receiving bodywork from another massage therapist and felt like they were cheating on you? We've all been there. First, the feelings of irritation and annoyance for the client who would even think to replace you kick in, followed by an overwhelming sense of insecurity and self-doubt questioning your skill, or lack thereof. But there's no need to be embarrassed. It happens to all of us. Oftentimes, there is little rhyme or reason as to why a regular patron goes to another therapist, even for just one or two sessions. Whether it was because you were unavailable for a time they needed you most or simply wanted to experience a little change, it is important to look at each occurrence as an opportunity to learn a little more about your client—as well as yourself. When we look a bit closer at some of the more frequent justifications for clients at large, it's important to be open to understanding the whys. Keeping an open mind and providing a future solution on your part can be what separates your business from the rest and, in the end, might be your saving grace. Here are some examples of why clients seek out other therapists, along with some ideas on how to provide a solution.

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