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Massage Today
August, 2007, Vol. 07, Issue 08

The Importance of Reactivating Clients

By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT

Where, oh where, have my former clients gone? This is a question we all ask ourselves. Whatever happens to some clients? Was it something we said or something we did or didn't do? In order to be successful and have a full practice, it's important to understand why clients stay and why clients leave your practice.

Some of the answers might surprise you. Some reasons make sense and others are beyond our control. Whatever the answers, information is power and it's imperative to the success of your business to understand what is happening and what you can do about it.

So, you have been seeing a client for several years and, all of a sudden, they disappear. They don't reschedule and they don't call. What happened? Well, short of asking them (and I do suggest that therapists survey some of their closer clients for these answers), you cannot assume you know the answer.

Some of the reasons clients discontinue treatment are: relocation; job change; loss of job; they are not getting the same value or perceived benefits; they are not interested in trying new modalities in health care; loss of interest; they found a more suitable therapist for them at that time; they are no longer satisfied with the services; they had a bad experience; they don't have a good reason and finally, you are out of sight, out of mind.

As you can see from the list, some things have nothing to do with you and would not warrant you trying to reactivate them. If a client moves out of state, unless they come back to visit friends, you are not likely to see them on your table again. Depending on how long your therapeutic relationship has been, you may have known about their relocation in advance.

I have found that when most clients discontinue treatment, they do so because you have slipped from their minds and consciousness. You know the saying, "Out of sight, out of mind." Nothing could be truer in the massage industry, especially in the absence of pain. If your client is in pain, massage may be at the forefront of their minds. If you provide relaxation and maintenance massages, you easily might slip from people's minds as they go about their daily activities.

So, what to do? REACTIVATE THEM. After all, reactivating is easier and less expensive then drumming up new clients. Since you already have enjoyed a therapeutic relationship with these people, they trust you, they like you and they have an affinity for massage. In essence, they are already trained. All you have to do is plant the seed and call them back into your practice. You might need to provide an incentive, but it's well worth it.

Here is what reactivation looks like in my practice. When I have not seen a client for about two months, I send a handwritten letter. I find the personal touch is better and clients seem to respond more favorably than an e-mail or phone call. In it, I say that I am thinking of them, that I hope they are well and taking care of themselves and that I am here for them if they need a massage. That's it. Sometimes I follow it up with a phone call a week later, but often the phone is ringing before I get the chance.

The response is amazing. I have about a 75 percent reactivation success rate. My former clients are delighted I thought of them and wished them well. They are surprised I took the time to contact them and they usually are very anxious to resume the therapeutic relationship.

Reactivation does not have to be complicated and can be very successful. If you go through your files on a monthly basis, you probably can find a few clients each month to reach out to. I send about two or three reactivation letters each month and it keeps the energy of the practice flowing. If you really believe in taking care of your clients, this step should be very easy for you.

Now that you have them back in your practice, you must keep them there. Remember, they probably dropped off because you were out of sight and out of mind. So how do you fix that? Well, that's a topic for another article.

Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.


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