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Massage Today
February, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 02

Scottie, Beam Me Up

By Perry Isenberg

I can't wait for the phrase, "Scottie, beam me up" to have some real meaning in our lives. It would be great to have been able to be "beamed" home from the AMTA Convention in Phoenix in September 2000 instead of relying on airlines.

I fly approximately once a month, and overall consider the airlines to be "very good" business organizations.

I have never been part of a company as big and complex as a major airline, and I have definitely not been responsible for the safety of millions of people each year. I suspect running an airline is an unbelievably difficult, mostly thankless job. Each day brings hundreds of problems and complaints. There are so many elements out of one's control: the weather, labor unions, airport facilities, uncooperative customers, etc.

Like everyone, I've faced departure delays for one reason or another. As a monthly traveler, I take it all in stride. I've learned not to get too upset, because it does not solve the problem and, as I've said, I think major airlines are pretty good at what they do.

That's about enough consideration and praise for the airlines, because they are, in my opinion, lousy at customer relations and customer appreciation.

Don't be fooled by mileage points, etc. One marketing department started it and the rest all followed. These programs end up costing us all money. Believe it it's true.

At this point, I will cite an example of bad customer service, in the hopes that you will incorporate the opposite into your practice.

My trip home from Phoenix involved a connection through Las Vegas back to Ft. Lauderdale. I sat in the Vegas airport for an extra hour and a half because my red-eye flight was delayed. I stayed cool, because after all, there was nothing I could do about it. Here's the rub: once in the air, they announced the showing of a movie, then walked up and down the aisle asking for $5 for the required headset. You've got to be kidding! You'd think that after a two-hour delay (for a red-eye, of all flights), someone in charge would offer the movie compliments of the airline. This particular airline scores a big fat zero with me, and I will avoid doing business with them in the future, for that very reason.

Next time you're late for a massage or you keep a client waiting in your office, do something to acknowledge the inconvenience. Give them extra time on the table, a small discount, a certificate for a free service something. Follow-up with a quick handwritten note, reiterating your apology and emphasizing how much you appreciate their business.

You may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. This client is worth some serious business, aside from the customers they'll refer to you. Consider a client who sees you monthly at $60 per session. $720 a year for 10 years is $7,200. Assume they'll bring at least one more client to you - add another $7,200, who also brings a client for 10 years - another $7,200. All told, the effort to keep the client is worth more than $21,000 to you.

I'm sure you can see my point. Always go out of your way to appreciate your client and never, ever take them for granted. You say you don't, but you probably do, so change your ways and thank them after every session. Start slow, one patient at a time. Real customer service is doing more than expected. Don't wait to show your appreciation until there's a problem. Simple inexpensive gestures (yes, even an hour of your time is an inexpensive gesture) will make your service fun to do business with and will be worth thousands of dollars over your career.

Until next month, be healthy, be good, and stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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