resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
Kansas Achieves Licensing Law
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed House Bill 2615 into law on Friday, May 13, 2016. HB2615 includes provisions for the licensure of acupuncturists in the state of Kansas.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
April, 2009, Vol. 09, Issue 04
Make Your Client's Experience Memorable
By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT
A plethora of competition, coupled with a struggling economy makes for tough business times. There is no doubt that our massage industry has experienced a population explosion since the turn of the century and rivalry abounds. There are probably very few, if any, massage therapists who are the "only ones" in their town. Now we see competing spas and franchises opening up in record numbers at every cross street and massage schools turning out graduates in record numbers. Added to these quantitative challenges is a tough fiscal period. Most of us have been affected in one way or another. The weekly client may now only come every two weeks, or the monthly client may now only schedule for every five weeks. Some clients may have dropped out altogether, in order to pay for their higher priority items. It will get better but it's challenging now, to say the least.
What's a therapist to do? I know I paint a bleak picture and you may be wondering what can be done, if anything. In my opinion, it all comes down to the client experience and what your clients will remember about you. There's a saying that 'no one will remember your words or your actions, but they will remember how you made them feel.' Think back over your life and I am sure you will agree. The specifics about people, places and events may be fuzzy but the feelings linger. The feelings are what created the memorable experience. The same goes for a massage session. It must be memorable and lasting, in order for your clients to want to return. After all, isn't that what we want? Client retention is the key to business success. Turn your massage session into a memorable experience and your clients will return more frequently.
At this point it is necessary to objectively look at the services you provide, including the business side of your practice. The experience starts long before a client walks into your treatment room and unfortunately, this area is often overlooked. Instead, I see therapists flock to hands-on continuing education, adding modalities to their bag of tricks, in hopes of becoming more successful. While a varied arsenal of techniques is imperative, it rarely brings clients in your doors or gets them to reschedule. It is the "little things" that clients rave about, tell their friends and come back for. Below are some things to consider when assessing the experience you provide for your clients.
Assessing Their Experience
Is it easy to reach you on the phone? Do you actually answer your phone or at least, return a call within a few hours? This tiny detail is so critical to a client's happiness, especially in today's fast-paced world. It is easy for a client to just try another number or book with a therapist who calls back first. I recommend routinely checking voice mail and returning calls every two hours. Clients will leave messages if they know you return calls promptly.
Is it easy to find you? And are there clear directions for what they should do once they get there? Not all of us can afford an assistant to greet our clients when they walk through the door. Most of us have clients enter an empty room and wait. That's OK, but what is the atmosphere when they arrive? Is there something to read or clear instructions regarding paperwork? Do you have a sign directing them to the lavatory or to refreshments (water/tea or fruit)? This is precious marketing time and a great opportunity for your clients to read about other modalities you offer, products you sell or the benefits of consistent massage therapy.
I won't address the actual massage, as I feel this is so individual and personal. I am also not a technique coach and don't feel this falls into my area of expertise. That said, you must consider a few things regarding the treatment. Did you provide a place for your client to put their things? A hanger for their jacket? So simple but overlooked and often replaced by just a hook. I don't know about you but I don't like to hang my nice leather jacket on a hook. Is the room warm or cool enough. Nothing turns me off faster than being cold. With inexpensive table warmers, there is no excuse for a client being chilled.
Did you offer a music choice or a lubricant choice? Clients like some choices and control, especially on their dime. This is a joint venture. Include them in the process. You are not "doing a massage" to them; you are entering into a healing session with them. How much are you talking? Rule of thumb: answer a question but don't ask another one. Engage only as much as they want and don't initiate conversation. Silence is really golden and very healing.
What is the last thing that happens when you end a session? Do you ask for feedback? Rather than just ask, "how was your massage?" (which is likely to illicit a vague response), be specific. "Is there anything you liked about your session or anything you would like added next time?" Planting a seed about a "next time" is a powerful message. To that end, do you ask a client to reschedule? Do you offer water/tea or fruit? Do you offer the client any exercises or take-away information? I like to walk my clients out the door, instead of just saying goodbye and having them exit on their own. Somehow the image of me waving goodbye from the front door seems more hospitable and welcoming for their return. Again, simple but many of my clients have commented on it.
An experience means different things to different people. In a sea of massage therapists and with clients becoming more savvy and conscious of where they spend their money, it is imperative to create lasting memories. Look beyond the treatment to what else you offer; and if it is average, work to improve it. Simplicity goes a long way. Still at a loss of what to do? Go get a massage from someplace new. Be a detective and look at all the details of their practice. Does something stand out? If so, replicate it. If not, you at least got a massage and can be the role model for your clients.
Click here for previous articles by Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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