How to provide welcoming, professional, first-rate services from the minute the client walks in the door
Getting a massage is a special experience for your clients. Many people use their massage as a get-away from their troubles. Others view their massage as a luxurious treat to themselves. Those who need massage therapy for pain relief may see their massage time as a serious and important part of their healthcare needs. Whatever the case, your clients will want their massage appointment to be positive and welcoming from beginning to end.
While you may have perfected your massage technique, have you thought about the “extras” that can improve your clients’ experience? Have you ever looked at the experience through your client’s point of view? If not, consider these tips for giving your clients the best appointment possible, from start to finish.
Tip #1. Make your surroundings welcoming
Creating welcoming surroundings. Most people come for a massage because they want to relax and take a break from their busy lives. Be sure the interior design of your entire facility—from the waiting room to the rest room to the massage room—communicates a warm welcome. Choose soft lighting, soft music, and comfortable furniture.
When designing the “feel” of your surroundings, think about your website, mobile site, and other marketing materials too. Marketing materials should convey the same warm feeling. You want people to feel a sense of welcome whenever they think of your facility.
Tip #2. Cleanliness is critical!
Clean the massage room. Clients do not like to think of the person who was on the massage table before they were. So do not leave any evidence of previous clients. Store any used linens out of sight. Thoroughly clean your tables, especially any residue left behind by massage oils. Clients will feel more comfortable if they know the massage rooms are well-cleaned in between clients.
Clean the waiting room. The waiting room is usually the client’s first impression. Keep it clean! Straighten up magazines, dust all surfaces, and keep your own personal belongs like coffee cups and purses out of sight. Update your furniture as it starts to show signs of wear. And remember to check the state of the bathroom frequently. Clients will be put off by a dirty bathroom.
Keep up your personal appearance. Be sure your clothing and hair are neat and clean. Your fingernails should be clean and well manicured, as should your toenails if you are wearing open-toed shoes. Be sure your teeth are clean and your breath is fresh. When delivering a massage, you work very closely with your client, so you want to be sure to be sparkling clean and free of any odors.
Tip #3. Customize and Communicate!
Before the Massage. Even if you have the best Swedish massage technique in town, you could lose a client if you do not communicate well. Remember, every client’s needs are different, so you need to customize your sessions around what the client needs. Most massage therapists have clients fill out an intake form first, in which the client can express his or her expectations, as well as any health concerns.
Rather than just reading the intake form, be sure to take the time to discuss the intake form verbally, in order to make sure you understand the client’s goals for the massage. If the client is self-conscious about anything, use this time to find out how to make them feel more at-ease. Explain to the client that you will periodically ask questions during the massage in order to gauge how it is going for the client. And emphasize that the client should speak up during the massage if there are any problems.
During the massage. Most clients do not want their massage therapists to be overly chatty. It is best to take the client’s lead. If the client is talkative and seems to want to talk during the massage, then by all means, make conversation. But if the person simply wants to have a quiet experience, then limit your talking to the questions you need to ask them about the massage. Some of the questions that you should gently ask during the massage are:
- Is this too much pressure
- Are you comfortable? Is the table comfortable?
- Let me know if anything is causing pain or discomfort.
- Is the temperature in the room too hot or too cold?
After the massage. After the massage is over, make sure to talk with the client to get their feedback. Did the massage help with their intended goals? Were there parts of it that could have been better? What worked the best? This kind of conversation will help you if the client returns to you again. It also communicates to the client that you care about the outcome and hope to work with them again.
Another way to encourage a return visit is to share a little of your wisdom with the client. Provide home care tips, suggested mobility exercises, or other advice that may help them feel good in between massages. Being generous with your knowledge helps to build loyalty.
Bonus Tip: Avoid uncertainties about fees and tipping
Have you ever had a misunderstanding with a client about the cost of a massage? Clients do not want to be surprised by the cost of their massage. Be sure that your marketing materials, price lists, coupons, taxes, and any specials are very clear to the customer. Many times clients don’t know whether they should tip their therapist or how much to tip. If you provide a small chart with suggested tips in a tasteful frame, this will help alleviate the uncertainty among your clients.
This article was provided by the Harris School of Business. We hope it has helped you to look at your massage practice with fresh eyes and to consider some of the finer details in the massage customer experience. The Harris School offers massage therapy training at five locations in New Jersey and Delaware. Our program is committed to providing our massage therapist students with the skills and knowledge they need to pursue a career in this field.