To complement “Add a Touch of Spa to Your Sessions: Muds, Scrubs & Wraps” in the April 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.
We have all experienced customer service nightmares, such as being ignored at a restaurant or waiting in a checkout line while the cashier finished a personal conversation. We have also experienced excellent customer service, such as when a salesperson goes out of his way to locate an out-of-stock item at another store or when the waitperson at our neighborhood restaurant remembers our name or our favorite dishes.
More often then not, we experience competent customer service: Our food arrives in a reasonable time frame, and we have a pleasant but unremarkable exchange with the cashier.
Recognizing the extremes is easy—but how do we evaluate the customer service that we offer our own clients, and how do we make the leap from having solid to exceptional customer service skills?
Let’s explore some subtle service methods that will set your practice apart, as we explore how to elevate customer service—and let’s start at the beginning.
Elevate Customer Service When Booking Appointments
When booking, guide the guest experience and limit clients’ options. This sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it? But if you ask, “When do you want to come in?” and the client requests a time that is unavailable, it becomes a tennis match. You volley dates and times back and forth until you both, exhaustedly, settle on something.
Why ask the guest what he wants if he can’t have it? This sends the message, “What you want is out of the question, but I will give you your second—or third or fourth—choice and make you work to get there.” It’s more efficient to guide the client.
For example, tell him that the following week, “I have Tuesday or Wednesday available.” The client chooses Tuesday.
“Would you prefer morning or afternoon?” you ask.
“Morning,” he responds.
“Is 9 a.m. or 11 a.m. better?” you ask.
He chooses 11 a.m.
“Is that for 60 minutes or 90 minutes?” you ask.
The client requests 90 minutes.
The client now feels he has the exact appointment day, time and length of his choosing. Before ending the conversation, offer two forms of confirmation: Repeat back the appointment information verbally and offer to send either a confirmation email or text message.
Elevate Customer Service When the Client Arrives
Be prepared. If you are expecting a new client, have paperwork ready before she walks in the door. Give her a brief tour, let her know where the restroom is and where to hang her clothes.
For existing clients, review your notes. Have their preferences for favorite type of music, room or table temperature, bolstering and face cradle position in their chart. Refer back to the previous service: their health concerns, what was done and what goals may have been discussed for the next session.
Make note of their children’s names and trips they may have been planning. This creates a continuity of service, and a sense of being valued that will last no matter how far apart their appointments are.
Elevate Customer Service Prior to the Session
Always confirm the length and type of service before stepping out of the room. “We have a 90-minute, deep tissue massage today.” Mistakes and misunderstandings happen. It is much easier to prevent an issue then repair it.
This also provides an opportunity for your client to change the service if desired. Explain what the service entails. If you will be using hot stones, essential oils or any type of therapeutic balm, let her know before the service begins and secure her permission for all modalities.
Elevate Customer Service with Follow-Through
It isn’t enough just to ask about areas of focus; instead, reflect back what the client is requesting. Explain your plan for the massage. Show that you heard him and you are both on the same page. Perform the massage to his expectations. If you find an area of tension outside of what he requested, acknowledge it and ask if he would like to include it as an area of focus.
Elevate Customer Service with Client Comfort
Clients often speak of disappointing massage experiences; the pressure was too deep or too light, they were cold, the therapist didn’t work the areas requested. Remind your client that the pressure, temperature, lighting and music are for her, and asking for adjustments throughout the service is welcomed. If she requests a modification, thank her for telling you and make the requested changes.
Before, During & After
Focusing on how we communicate with our clients before they get on our table will subtly and effectively improve their entire experience. Guiding the booking process, confirming the service, listening and following through on treatment goals, empowering them to communicate comfort levels are all important parts of determining how to elevate customer service.
Paying attention to these aspects of our communication sets the stage for a successful practice and satisfied clients.
About the Author
Maggie Adams specializes in online massage education, signature service creation and expert training for therapists and spa product lines. As owner of Inspired Spa Solutions, she creates signature services for five-star spas, day spas and for companies including MOROCCANOIL and LaLicious. Her protocols are featured in more than 250 spas worldwide. Adams wrote “Add a Touch of Spa to Your Sessions: Muds, Scrubs & Wraps” for the April 2016 issue of MASSAGE Magazine.