Retaining Massage Clients

Re-booking Our Massage Clients

One of our biggest hurdles is addressing the question of how can we retain our massage clients. We often get caught up in the cycle of looking outward to get new clients.  As massage practitioners, we are often thinking about how we can get new clients or how can we increase our booking rates. We are thinking so much about how to get new business that we completely forget the clients we already have. And, to be honest, sometimes we can take them for granted.

It is far more expensive to get new clients in the door than it is to hold onto existing ones. Most business owners don't really do the math and take a hard look at the numbers to determine true retention rate.



Here's a little exercise to help learn what your real retention rate is: go to your filing cabinet and pull out all the intake forms of clients who haven't been in to see you at your office in 6 months. How big is the pile? Is it bigger than you expected?

A thick stack of intake forms means people aren't returning for a 2nd appointment. However, this can actually be a good sign because they represent the clients who you can bring back into the fold of your business! They have already come in to see you and you have their contact info, this makes it easy for you to reach back out to them. You can send them an email, a handwritten card, or even a small gift to let them know you are thinking of them.

In my massage practice, I had an 90% retention rate. This means that 90% of all new massage clients scheduled their 2nd appointment within 1 month or less after their first one. I don't believe this was because I was the "best" massage therapist in town. I think clients came back because I created a space where we could develop a relationship.


Client Experience

When clients choose a massage therapist, they have a lot of businesses from which to pick. The deciding factor may be our location, our prices, or our reviews. However, once the client has had their first massage, if we don't do anything to WOW their experience, they are unlikely to return.

Giving that extra WOW factor helps them feel accepted and that we appreciate their business. And it's not difficult! Here are some things to try with your next client:

~ Greet them with an open smile and a handshake. Sounds stuffy right? Handshakes are a welcoming gesture that helps to put people at ease. In fact, every single appointment should start that way- Handshake and a "good afternoon/morning/evening".

Try to avoid being busy when you know your client will be walking in the door. That way you can greet them right away in a welcoming manner. Even though you don't think they will care if you're on your computer, phone, dressing the table, etc., the point is to take that extra step to give them a WOW experience. 

~ Offer a warm towel after the session they can wipe off with. Or, use a warm towel at the end of the session on their face or feet.



Are your clients appreciated? What do you do to make them feel like you are concerned about their health?

Send a handwritten thank you note. My notes were basic folded card stock that I had printed my business logo on the front cover. Inside, I included 2 business cards and wrote:  "Dear _________, Just a short note to let you know that I appreciate your new business. I enjoyed meeting you and look forward to seeing you again."


Keep a "tickler" file on each client. Write down any little thing they talk about themselves- what their kids are doing, their recent vacation, their dog's name- and then when they return for the next appointment, ask them or comment to let them know that you remember them and they stand out to you.



Call them the next day or on the 2nd day after their appointment to ask how they are doing. Many years ago when I was a newbie massage therapist, I got a massage and the next day the therapist called me to ask how I was feeling. Although it may sound corny, that phone call made me feel special and important. Ever since then, I've called all first-time appointments after their session.



~ Make a little video or a photo story of the front of your office building and your office space, when someone schedules the first appointment, email them the video/images so they can familiarize themselves with your space. It may be surprising to us, but going into a new business location can be stressful for people and if they can see what to expect, it lessens the anxiety.



~ 2 Weeks or a month after their first session, you can send them a little gift in the mail. Don't send something with your logo on it because that's not a real gift. For example, if they really enjoyed the lubricant/essential oils/music you used- you can send them a little sample. Include a note that says something like: "Here's a small gift to enjoy!"

Other ideas include a coffee mug or travel cup with an inspirational quote, a reusable tote bag, an inexpensive book you think they may enjoy, etc. Just remember- do NOT have your logo on the item because then that makes the gift about YOU, not them!

~ On birthdays send one of your massage gift certificates giving them a complimentary 30 min massage/foot scrub/Reflexology treatment. Offering a small service is more personable than just 10% off. Don't forget to add an expiration date! If you are in a state that doesn't allow expiration dates, create some nice looking birthday cards and call it a "Birthday Coupon" rather than a "Gift Certificate".



How do you retain your clients? Are you already offering your clients a WOW experience?