In the massage industry, most customers move between therapists until the perfect one is found. The number of therapists and spas available means clients can afford to be picky, and means that you, as a therapist, must work especially hard to hold onto your client base.
As a massage therapist, keeping clients coming back is the key to your success. New clients are important for growth, but it’s your regular clients that will position you to accept such growth.
Loyal clients feel cared for, appreciated, and valued. They feel comfortable in your presence and enjoy effective communication. They consider you part of their health and wellness goals and feel confident that should they recommend you to a friend, you’d give the exact same respect.
Loyal clients trust you, feel confident in your capabilities, and believe you’re something special. And this takes work. The good news is the work will pay in dividends.
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU FOSTER REPEAT BUSINESS
Repeat customers are the foundation on which profitable businesses are built. They make a business robust, with repeat customers likely to spend more over time and are more likely to refer others. Every time a customer returns, they are more likely to come back again and again, and this means zero acquisition costs. It’s like having an unpaid marketing team working for you round the clock!
Statistician W. Edwards Deming famously said, “Profit in business comes from repeat customers, customers who boast about your product or service, and that bring friends with them”. Develop your core base of returning customers through elite and personalised attention, and you’ll be amazed by the results.
HOW TO ENSURE REPEAT BUSINESS
Fostering repeat business and loyal relationships means paying close attention to customer service from the offset. From a local ad, to a follow up call, every detail counts. Encouraging repeat business requires:
Massage therapists communicate in a number of different ways throughout the consultation process. From the initial client interview to the massage assessment and treatment process, clear verbal and audio communication is crucial. Good massage therapists pride themselves on screening and assessing clients to determine the best treatment for each individual. They then explain their recommendations to the client, and fairly and ethically negotiate a treatment plan.
A CLEAN, CALM AND WELCOMING ENVIRONMENT
The environment in which a massage takes place is almost as important as the massage itself. From the waiting area to the massage room, everything should be perfect, creating an atmosphere that’s calming, welcoming, organised and clean. Music should be soothing, reading material appropriate, and temperature comfortable. The massage table should be fresh with crisp clean sheets, or warmed plump towels. When you speaking, it helps to be sound subdued, genuine and caring.
A massage therapist should commit to the highest standards of practice, which includes respecting the privacy, modesty and dignity of clients. Professional boundaries should always be met and any personal information kept confidential. Clients come in all shapes and sizes and not every client feels comfortable taking their clothes off. Supporting them and being sensitive to their worries and needs will go a long way in making them feel more comfortable.
BEING OPEN TO FEEDBACK
Not all clients will be happy with the massage techniques you choose and they should be able to freely discuss this with you. If you listen to negative feedback in a positive manner, you have the chance to rectify a problem that could otherwise turn them off coming back. If need be, throw in a free service to appease any ruffled feathers.
THE LITTLE TOUCHES
A cup of green tea while waiting, hooks to hang clothes, an ever-ready smile, eye contact – these are all little touches that combine to make an enjoyable experience. Think about everything you would like to see when getting a massage, and be sure to offer this and more for your clients.
EDUCATING YOUR CLIENTS
If you notice problem areas and have advice for your clients, don’t be afraid to share it. Talk to them about the root of their troubles and communicate ways in which to avoid the problem happening again. It may seem counterintuitive to offer advice that will keep your clients off the massage table, but by showing you are knowledgeable and that you care, they’ll come back to you when something does happen and will be quick to recommend you to others.
Not all advice will be taken on board by your clients of course. Have a read of our blog post on what to do when clients ignore your advice if you find yourself getting frustrated when your professional help is ignored.
Talk to your clients about pressure/technique/pain etc. and you’ll be given instant feedback. Some clients are too shy to ask for a harder or softer approach, and by asking, you can ensure you’re giving them exactly what they want, when they want it.
Don’t just rely on your clients to book future appointments. If you haven’t heard from them after a few weeks, give them a call and see how they have been getting on since the last massage. Suggest another session and they might be happy to book on the spot. If not, suggest you’ll call back again soon.
Everybody loves a freebie and if it means getting a person back on your massage table it’s not really free at all. Have your clients fill out a form at their first appointment and use it to send discounts or bonus value on holidays, birthdays or periodically. You could also start a loyalty program, offering something like ‘get your fifth massage free’.
Things change and appointments sometimes need to be rescheduled. If a client says they are running late or that they need to reschedule, remind yourself that it might be out of their control. Be accepting of the changes and try to find a time that will better suit. Showing you are flexible and acknowledging that their time is precious will make your clients feel cared for and valued.
VALUE YOUR LOYAL CUSTOMERS
The bottom line is this – the more you do for your customers, the more likely they are to come back. Get to know your clients and use this information to ensure you’re part of their life. Do you have a client with osteoarthritis? Then share a link with them regarding how massage can help manage pain. Have a client that’s grieving the loss of someone they love? Send them a card. Remember – marketing to existing clients is just as important as marketing to new clients.