Secret To A Busy Practice
So, what is the secret to a busy practice? How can we get massage clients to re-book another appointment? What is the secret to a busy massage practice? Why do so many massage business owners struggle with re-bookings? I'd like to share with you this little secret that seems easy but is difficult to practice. Hopefully, you are already asking clients if they want to re-book another massage session before they leave your office. But here are a few scenarios that are bound to happen when you have a new client.
The best way to get a massage client to reschedule is by creating a space where the client feels like the session is about them. If they feel that they are getting special attention and care, they will want to come back because your presence makes them feel good.
I'd like to share a couple scenarios that we all see at one time or another in our business. It is how we respond to them that can demonstrate professionalism and help our clients feel more comfortable using our services. On the flip side, how we respond can also create uncomfortable feelings and they are unlikely to re-book with our business.
Scenario 1: A new client shows up 10 minutes late to the massage office. Not only is he late but he is also annoyed because he's late. Traffic was worse than usual and he knows he's going to miss some of his time on the table.
Scenario 2: A new client shows up for her appointment but she had written it on the wrong date and she missed the email reminder. She shows up right after a client has just left and you have another client coming in shortly. She's very sure she wrote the date and time correctly and is irritable because she was really looking forward to her massage.
How would you respond in these situations? How have you responded?
These scenarios are based on real life examples that I've experienced from both the perspective as the massage business owner and from that as the client. In the situations where I was the client, the reaction of the massage business owner made me feel unwelcome.
What Not To Do
In scenario 1, I was late to my appointment due to traffic. I expected the massage therapist had good boundaries about her time. When I arrived, I knew I was going to get less time on the table. I apologized and let her know I understood my time would be shortened. She acted annoyed and huffed at me which further added to my stress.
In scenario 2, I had written down the wrong time or she did. Of course, I was pretty sure I had written down the correct appointment time. When I showed up, she was visibly aggravated and told me that I was wrong because she knew she had written the correct time.
A Better Way
Here are better ways to handle these situations that I have found to help my business stand out. Experiencing these situations as a client has helped me to learn sensitivity for my own clients.
Scenario 1: Don't take it personally that the client is late for traffic. When a client has shown up late from traffic, I have good boundaries with my time so wasn't worried about his lateness affecting my next client. I sympathized with him and ignored his obvious aggravation (which had nothing to do with me personally). He was able to calm down and enjoy the rest of his session.
In scenario 2, which has happened with new clients a couple times over the length of my career, I apologized to the client and said that I could have written the wrong time. Both times, I gave the client 1/2 off their next appointment to help smooth over their aggravation.
Apologizing and offering the discount did not hurt my business an the new clients became long time regulars. The difficult part is letting go of our ego. Instead, we can try to diffuse the situation to help the client feel comfortable and welcomed.
It is true there are people who will try and take advantage of situations so you want to keep firm boundaries. However, more often than not, these are honest mistakes that we all make.
Different Than Other Businesses
Massage is a personal service and we work with people in a way that is very different than most other businesses. This is why it is more important than ever that we learn to develop professional customer service skills. When the client feels comfortable with us, they will become regular clients and our business with flourish.