Massage & Bodywork

November/December 2013

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service on ABMP's consumer site, are some of the best places to market yourself. These sites cater to a narrow group of local search users who are looking specifically for massage therapists and bodyworkers in their area. To massage therapists who are just getting started with online reviews, McMillan recommends "registering your business consistently with all review sites you are aware of and asking customers to review you." Another way to find out which online directories you should list your business on is to ask clients where they typically leave reviews. You may even discover, as McMillan did, that clients have left reviews for you in unexpected places, such as company bulletin boards. "You may learn of some new place you're getting reviews you weren't aware of," he says. "I've been reviewed at local businesses and colleges without knowing it because they have an internal system." Building Links A link from a high-quality website (such as a chamber of commerce or a city government website) will do more for your practice than multiple low-quality links from websites that don't get much traffic. Search engines also look for relevance, which means the websites that link to yours should be related to your industry or location. If you are a member of ABMP, make sure your business and website are listed in its online directory. If your city has a website for locals or visitors, ask to have your business and website listed there as well. Building Citations Citations (sometimes called web references) are mentions of your practice's name and address on another website. If an online directory lists Rating: 2.5/10 "How does he stay in business?!?!" Responding to Negative Reviews No matter how exceptional your service is, there's always the chance that a client might leave disgruntled and vent his frustrations online instead of telling you in private. So, what should you do if someone leaves a bad review on one of your local business pages? See it as an opportunity. Take the initiative to contact the client and find out why he had a bad experience. Then, ask if there is anything you can do to make it right. Rather than resist negative feedback, allow yourself to grow from it. "Never delete a negative review or reply to it with anything negative," says spa owner Nancy Reagan, "even if it is unfair or untrue." How should you respond if someone leaves a negative review online? "First, address the real problem," Reagan says. "Repeat back what the client has told you and ask any questions to make sure you understand the entire circumstances. Thank the client for bringing the problem to your attention. Apologize for the problem, and remember not to take the situation personally. Lastly, offer the client the opportunity to let you remedy the problem." The most effective approach to reduce your risk for negative reviews is to continually work at providing the best service possible to each and every client who walks through your door. Carl McMillan, owner of Becoming Whole Wellness in North Carolina, hasn't yet had to respond to negative feedback online, but he knows what he would do if he did. "If it comes up, I would contact the client, offer him another session at a reduced rate, and find out what we needed to do better," he says. McMillan's key to avoiding negative reviews is ensuring client satisfaction up front. "How we work with our clients may be why we don't have as much negative feedback," he says. "We do an intake and outtake with our clients to ensure their satisfaction. We ask what their goals are, how we can support an intention for them in a session, and offer suggestions on what we see. We pay attention to our clients and offer a mindfulness most are not used to receiving." See what benefits await you. 63

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