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Massage Today
October, 2011, Vol. 11, Issue 10

The Importance of Being Your Own Client

By Jenn Sommermann, LCMT

Have you ever wished you could experience one of your own massages? Over the years, I have yearned to know what it feels like on the receiving end of one of my treatments. But of course, that's impossible.

The closest I came was receiving a massage from my friend, Maryann, who several people said was exactly like me. After I received my massage, I was disappointed ... not in her work, but in the idea that we were alike. You see, you can never really tell what it feels like to be your own client. But is that really true?

If you have followed my blogs and articles or have ever taken one of my classes, you know that I believe success is one-third business skills, one-third marketing and one-third hands-on skills. In fact, when polled for the number one reason people frequent an establishment, location topped the list. What this says to me is that the actual treatment is only part of being your own client. There are countless ways to "experience" your work through your own eyes. In fact, I encourage you to do so on a regular basis.

With customer service being paramount yet severely lacking in many businesses, having the opportunity to experience your work is a great way to discover areas for improvement. It is the savvy practitioner that learns from being their own client and makes the necessary changes. Just how you go about this task starts at the beginning of therapeutic relationship.

Put yourself in the position of a new client coming to you for the first time and run through the following:

  • Listen to your outgoing message. Is it friendly, warm, unrushed? Does it offer a call to action?
  • Use your website and go through the "request an appointment" process. Was it easy to schedule?
  • Call your office staff and make an appointment or ask for information. How quickly did they answer the phone? Did they have a smile in their voice? Was the call rushed?
  • Fill out your intake forms. Are they current? Are they easy to complete? Is there enough space for the answers?
  • Enter your office with fresh eyes. Is it clean and organized? Is it well lit? Are there materials available? Is the bathroom stocked with enough supplies?
  • Note what things look, smell and feel like. Is it quiet? Does it smell of any odors that might offend someone? Are there oil stains on the chairs, walls or carpet?
  • Lie on your table and look at the ceiling and under the table. Do you need to dust or paint or replace the carpet?
  • Use all the facilities/equipment at your office (shower, sink, hydrocollater, blowdryer). Is everything in working order?

This is not an exhaustive list, but gives some ideas to get started. You can also elicit the help of a good friend, family member or colleague and ask them to run through the process from beginning to end. Sometimes called a "mystery shopper," this person goes undercover to find pitfalls or accomplishments. Choose someone who will be brutally honest with you. The point is to learn possible areas of improvement, not to learn how wonderful you already are. Have them call for an appointment at some random time. See the process through, all the way to rescheduling another appointment. Once completed ask them:

  • Was your call returned promptly?
  • Were the directions to the office clear?
  • Did you find the information you needed on the website?
  • Were you greeted in a professional manner?
  • Did you know what to do once you entered the office?
  • Were the instructions for disrobing understandable?
  • Was the facility clean and uncluttered?
  • Did the linens smell fresh and laundered?
  • Was the temperature of the office comfortable?
  • Did you feel comfortable with the entire process?
  • Was there a place for your belongings?
  • Was there anything that made you feel uncomfortable or uneasy?
  • Is there anything I could have done to improve the experience?

Note that neither of these lists has anything to do with hands-on skills. These are business applications that can make a client's experience wonderful or miserable. You have the power and if you take the time to test the waters, you can learn and make the necessary adjustments.

Annual analysis of your practice is a must. More frequently is fine but at least yearly, try to be your own client. This is even more important and valuable if you have staff. In fact, if you have staff, a semi-annual review is imperative. All of this takes time and doesn't actually make you money, but the importance can't be under-estimated. Retention is the name of the game and if you would return to your own practice, chances are your clients will feel the same way.

Stay focused.


Click here for more information about Jenn Sommermann, LCMT.

 

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