resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
Turning a Blind Eye to History – and Reality
The American Medical Association is taking the Supreme Court's Feb. 25, 2015 decision exactly as it always does – by turning a blind eye to history, legal precedent and reality.
The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine
My Masters thesis was titled, "The Challenges of Integrating Eastern and Western Medicine," which highlighted several reasons why it is hard for these two worlds to mix.
Low Back Pain in Professional Golf: A Common Muscular Relationship
Every sport creates its own unique demands on the body. Some sports require such a myriad of body positions that assessing pathology is often difficult and unpredictable.
A View From the ER
The University of Western States has inked an innovative agreement with local nonprofit health system Legacy Health whereby UWS sports-medicine fellows can experience observational clinical rotations in emergency-room settings within the Legacy system.
How Much Do You Know About the Benefits of Birds Nest?
Edible bird's nest is the nest made by the Swiftlet bird of Southeast Asia that is usually prepared as a soup and prized in Chinese culture as a healthful delicacy.
PCOM Granted Regional Accreditation
Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) recently announce it has received regional accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). This achievement reflects five years of hard work on the part of faculty, staff, and students.
Animal Acupuncture: A Case Study in the Treatment of Traumatic Injury in the Equine
The rise of animal acupuncture in the U.S. began in the early 1970's as a result of the work by members of the National Acupuncture Association in Westwood, Calif.
Medicine is Clumsy, Don't You Be
All medical systems have clumsiness in them. If the technique isn't, the practitioner is. Everyone in every form of medicine is striving to improve. That is why we call it practice.
The Tide is Rising in the Acupuncture Profession
Former President Ronald Regan said, "When the tide rises all boats float." The tide is rising for the acupuncture profession. Many forces outside the profession are helping the tides to rise.
A House Divided?
The American Chiropractic Association's House of Delegates voted on 30 resolutions at its annual business meeting in Washington D.C., but two in particular took immediate center stage due to their controversial nature.
5 Simple Steps to Create an Effective Marketing Calendar
In the educational experience of most healthcare practitioners, business and marketing are overlooked topics.
Sleep, Less Sleep or No Sleep?
I had a dream I wasn't getting enough sleep. It was a very realistic dream, even though I was probably slightly awake and not really deep dreaming. Most likely I had been dozing, caught in that twilight of sleep and wakefulness.
Integrating Art with Clinical Practice for Patients with PTSD: The Artemis Project
Are you restricted by those one-on-one clinic dynamics? Why not join colleagues and clients in experimental group settings? Three of us volunteered to do just that in Austin on behalf of women veteranss from all branches of the service.
Term Limits: What's in a Word?
It was the French historian and philosopher Voltaire who once declared the Holy Roman Empire was neither holy nor Roman nor an empire.
Talking to Patients About Lumbar Facet Denervation (Medial Branch Neurotomy)
Lumbar facet denervation, more appropriately termed medial branch neurotomy (MBN), is a procedure that may be considered when patients suffer from recalcitrant non-radicular axial back and/or leg pain.
The Acupuncturist's Problem
I want share with you some observations and insights into what seems to be the most common problem my colleagues in the acupuncture profession struggles with. If you also struggle with this problem, I hope you get a valuable "aha" moment from reading this.
5 Tips for Using Pinterest to Market Your Practice
Pinterest is a very popular, but often under-utilized, social media platform where people can bookmark, or "pin," fun and interesting things from all across the internet.
Applying the Thin Skull Principle
The "thin skull" principle, also known as the "you take your victim as you find them" principle, is a legal principle that can be summed up by the following statement.
Functional Hip Impingement (Part 1)
Every time I sit down to write an article, I realize how much more there is to know about musculoskeletal pain. I also learn something new every time. (I want to give special thanks to Lucy Whyte Ferguson for assisting with this article.)
Marijuana, Apathy and Chinese Medicine, Part 1
This article was written in response to the unheeded acceptance of marijuana as a harmless substance that potentially does good when used for the medical relief of pain.
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 more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.
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