While some people prefer the term 'customer service', I find the term client relations more…
We all want a full book of clients, right? Especially regular clients…those who keep coming back again and again. But getting each client to return can seem a little daunting, and if you don’t have a solid rebooking strategy in place, you’re very likely letting money walk right out the door. While I could talk for hours on this topic, let’s stick with the top 5 reasons your clients aren’t coming back.
#1 You didn’t deliver what was promised or expected
When someone sees your website, grabs a brochure, checks out an ad, calls you directly, or has any other first interaction with your business, there are expectations made immediately based on how you present your business in that way. Your branding, explanations, service descriptions, the way you speak, all of those things create a promise that you deliver a very specific result for them. Whether that’s pain relief, luxury, relaxation, wellness training, or whatever your business is about, it needs to be clear in that interaction, and then you have to deliver it in the service and experience. This is why consistency is so important in your business, especially in your branding and the client experience. You have to make a promise of what problem you can solve for them, and then you have to deliver on that promise. Clients don’t return if you don’t deliver on their expectations.
#2 A lack of professionalism
This is a big problem in our industry. I completely understand that we might be kind of a laid back profession in some ways, and especially if you’re a solo therapist, you get a lot more leeway to let some things slide. But being laid back and not some corporate robot, that’s not the same thing as being unprofessional. What I’m talking about is acting as if, because you’re the business owner, it’s a free-for-all and you can just do whatever you want. It’s forgetting that you’re there to serve the client, not the other way around. It’s in how you speak, how you dress, how you present yourself and your business. Again, it’s not about being some starched, corporate robot. You can dress casually, but iron your clothes and make sure there’s not holes and stains on them. You can speak in a personable manner, but the conversation shouldn’t be about you – it’s about your client. It’s simple…be professional.
#3 They don’t see the need
Unless you’re clear about the need to rebook, a lot of clients just don’t even consider it. For some they still see massage as some rare luxury service or only for the times they’re in serious pain. They don’t see the benefits of receiving bodywork on a regular basis. It’s up to you to educate them on this. And this isn’t a one sentence thing as you’re trying to rebook them. This is weaving that concept into every bit of your interaction – through the intake, the service, and yes, the checkout process. Explain the importance, the benefits they can expect, what other clients have experienced, and overall give them the rundown of exactly why this is something they need to get regularly.
#4 No “WOW” factor
Just about anyone can give a mediocre massage with a little training. You gotta do better than that. You have to deliver a phenomenal experience; that means the massage, the communication, the amenities, the ambience, the ease of everything…it all makes them say “WOW”. Just like I said in point one, you have to deliver on the expectations you set, well really you shouldn’t just be delivering, but going above and beyond to wow them. And often it’s not some big, expensive, really involved stuff. It’s the little touches that sometimes have the biggest impact. It’s scheduling plenty of time in between clients so they never feel rushed. It’s having a little hair repair and makeup station so they can get fixed up before going back out into the real world to finish their day. It’s sending them home with a little gift bag or treat. There’s a thousand ways to make this happen, so sit down and really consider how you can wow each and every client.
#5 They didn’t feel seen or heard
This is probably the most common complaint I’ve heard from clients about why they don’t return to a therapist. Therapists who only seem half-interested in their clients – checking their phone during the session, staring at the computer while they’re talking, things like that. Therapists who talk the entire massage session despite the client either remaining quiet or straight up saying they want a silent session. Therapists ignoring areas they specifically request work on – if your client asks for extra work on their right shoulder, you better spend some extra time there and cut it from somewhere else. Therapists who think they know what the client needs so they just do that instead of listening to what a client wants. Yeah, some deeper work or more clinical techniques or whatever may be, in your professional opinion, what’s going to benefit them more, but if you offer that insight and they still say they just want to relax, then you just help them relax. Obviously you have to have your boundaries, and yes there are circumstances like clients who want you to put them through the table and you ain’t about to do that to their body or yours…that’s a different story. But for the most part, your clients’ needs and requests should be at the forefront of everything you do in a session.
Really, it all boils down to creating an exceptional client experience, and that starts with keeping your client at the center of everything you do.