To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Education vs. Sales: The Ethics of Retail,” by Cherie Sohnen-Moe, in the November 2012 issue. Article summary: If you keep good boundaries, treat people with respect and fairness, and remain client-centered, then you will manage product sales in the same manner you manage the rest of your practice.

by Annie Woo

What is good customer service? If you ask five different clients, I bet you’ll get five different answers. After all, we each have our own definition of what good customer service means, depending on our individual experiences, expectations and wishes.

A key element of good service is being accessible to your clients, whether they want to book an appointment with you, have questions about your services, or have specific needs they want addressed. Planning for these basic customer expectations will differentiate you from your competition.

To go from good to great, consider changing your goal from merely meeting expectations to exceeding them by anticipating your clients’ needs ahead of time.

Here are some tips on going from good to great:

Good: Answer the phone when clients call to book.

Great: Offer online booking so clients can schedule an appointment whenever it’s convenient for them.

Good: Be courteous when interacting with your clients. Be punctual and clean. Explain what you’ll be doing.

Great: Know your clients. Keep logs that include tidbits about your clients’ lives. Track their trouble spots and preferences for music, scents.

Good: Treat your employees respectfully in front of clients.

Great: Treat your employees respectfully all the time, and anticipate their needs. Only by modeling good customer service will your staff truly understand how they should interact with your clients.

A therapist who knows great service understands a client’s experience doesn’t begin and end with the massage; it begins the moment she decides to research your services and ends after she returns home. Great service addresses all the touch points in between—from what she learns about you online and how she book services with you, to her experience at your location and your follow-up check-in.

I particularly appreciate that my therapist sets aside an area for me to freshen up after a massage. She has a mirror, combs, brushes and towels—everything I need to look presentable when I go back out into the world. And she never neglects to follow up, especially if I experienced any discomfort during the session.

By creating thoughtful moments, no matter how small, you create an impression your clients remember long after their massage, making your business distinctive from the rest and building a loyal clientele who come back again and again.

Annie Woo is director of customer service at MINDBODY (www.mindbodyonline.com), a business-management software provider to the health and wellness industry. Woo has worked in customer service for more than 10 years and has been the driving force behind MINDBODY’s customer service team, crafting it into one of the largest and best-reviewed support teams in the industry.

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