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Creating Good Business Buzz
What do patients really think about working with you? Rarely do you hear the whole truth. Those who improve may be candid in their gratitude.
Is the New Medicare Reporting Exemption Right for You?
What you've heard is not a rumor – there will be exemptions for providers of Medicare patients, with no penalties assessed for offices that do not do Quality Payment Program (EHR, PQRS, MACRA and MIPS) reporting.
New Relationships, Old Trauma: AOM & Other Healing Strategies
Being in love is one the most beautiful and enjoyable experiences. Most of us are willing to pay almost any price to have that experience, and still often find it elusive or fleeting. Navigating the ups and downs of loving relationships are often challenging — even for the most psychologically balanced among us.
Balancing Spring Challenges
As the winter months come to a close and warmer spring weather appears, patients may begin to present with new challenging pattern presentations.
An Unexpected Diagnosis: The Result of Lacking Communication
A couple years ago I had a case that showed me the importance of open communication between health practitioners. We need to show up with less fear, and let go of our judgments so we can do better for the patient.
Bill With Confidence: Learn What to Collect
Q: I am trying to understand what I may collect from my patient when there is insurance. Do I have to accept the amount allowed by the plan or may I collect up to my billed amount? Please note, I am not a member of any insurance plan.
A Daily Strategy for Heavy-Metal Detox
In modern society, we are constantly exposed to heavy metals such as cadmium, lead and mercury. These heavy metals have no essential biochemical roles in our body, and conversely, can cause us a great deal of harm if they build up to toxic levels.
Eczema & Acupuncture: A Sound Solution (Part 1)
Eczema affects approximately 3.5 percent of the global population and is one of the most common skin complaints seen by dermatologists.
Why I Quit Doing House Calls
My father was a chiropractor who did house calls, so when I became a DC, I figured doing house calls was part of the job. My March article recalled my experience as a small boy, accompanying my dad while he went to patients' homes to treat them.
A Major Role in Back Pain: The Multifidus
Back pain affects roughly 80 percent of the population at one time or another and is one of the leading causes of doctor visits.
Is It Time to Rethink Mental Illness? (Pt. 1)
Invariably, patients will ask their chiropractor about depression or various mental illnesses. Some practitioners will reflexively offer a cervical adjustment, suggest St. John's wort or contemplate a referral to a specialist.
Women's Hormones: A Western & Eastern Perspective
Sometimes it may seem that you require a degree in medicine to understand hormones and how they function.
Universal Design: Principles & Practice
In many respects, universal design serves as the core of ergonomics. It's also a good tool to use when designing a return-to-work program for injured and/or ill patients. Let's take a closer look at universal design and why it should matter to you and your patients.
An Integrated Approach to Chronic Pain
Findings from a unique Medicaid pilot project in Rhode Island involving high-use Medicaid recipients from two health plans were recently presented to the state's Department of Health, demonstrating stellar outcomes with regard to medication use, ER visits, health care costs and patient satisfaction.
The Visual Error Scoring System: A Concussion Tool
Postural stability and oculomotor function are the most easily recognized physical indicators of neurologic motor dysfunction associated with concussions.
News in Brief
ACA Adopts New Governance Model; ACA 2017 Awards; CCA Helps Calif. DCs "Share the Love"; $1 Million to Help Advance the Profession; D'Youville Raises the Bar on Anatomy Education; ErRatum.
Raditation & Your Smartphone: Is it Worth the Risk?
If radial arteries could talk (and in my experience they can to some extent), they would say, "Step away from the smartphone." At least that is the message I am receiving loud and clear as I feel the pulses of many patients.
Clearing Blocks: A Way to Improve Cosmetic Acupuncture
As a Five Element acupuncturist who teaches facial acupuncture classes nationally, I was surprised to learn that one of the basic principles I was taught in school is unfamiliar to most acupuncturists.
Taking the Chiropractic Message to the Press
"There is no better place on earth to have a news event," the National Press Club boasts, and it's easy to understand why: Every year, the 108-year-old Washington, D.C.-based organization hosts countless press conferences on the hottest topics impacting America and often the world.
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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