To complement the MASSAGE Magazine article, “How to Create Flawless Client Experiences,” by Debra Koerner, in the November 2010 issue. Article summary: The client experience encompasses every interaction he will have in his efforts to achieve a desired result from you. Within the experience are touch points, which are critical interactions that when done extremely well have the potential to increase satisfaction—and when done poorly will decrease satisfaction, resulting in lost potential.

by Debra Koerner

Pay attention to every detail in the massage client’s environment, including both the waiting and treatment rooms, as well as the restroom. Any detail that seems unprofessional could degrade the overall value of her choice to see you.

Tips for a detailed session:

  • See what the client sees. Routinely run what I call a “shoes-and-cobwebs check.” During the massage, wear clean, professional footwear; this is all clients see when face down on a massage table. Also, take time to lie face up on your table to make sure cobwebs or water stains have not accumulated on the ceiling. These subtleties go a long way toward conveying a message of cleanliness.
  • Guarantee functionality. Make sure all equipment is in proper working order. A damaged or misaligned face cradle is rarely something a client will complain about, yet it can ruin his ability to rest his head properly in the device. The price of a new face cradle pales in comparison to losing a loyal client.

Most likely, you did not enter the massage profession to become a salesperson—but in order to be successful you have to find ways to encourage clients to return.

The ultimate goal is to educate clients about their need for massage. This can be achieved by a confident therapist who believes in the cumulative benefits of massage. Your passion for the long-term benefits will go a long way in helping clients make the decision to invest in their wellness.

Tips for cultivating loyalty:

  • Realize selling is not the same as sharing. Many therapists are uncomfortable with the idea of proactively selling their services. Instead, I invite you to think of it as sharing your gifts with a world that needs them. Become great at educating clients about the benefits of massage and confidently invite them to return.
  • Familiarize yourself with the latest research. The Massage Therapy Foundation provides extensive research on the benefits of massage. Visit and click the “Research” tab for articles on the proven benefits of massage.

Plan to read up on the most common complaints you see in your practice, so you can become the expert for which the client seeks. Consider having handouts to assist you with the education process. This strategy will increase your confidence when making recommendations for rebooking.

Debra Koerner is a senior consultant for imassage Inc. and executive director for the Destination Spa Group. Within the wellness industry, she consults for companies that hire her to assist in developing superior employee and client experiences. Koerner is writing a business book for massage schools that is scheduled to publish in 2011. For more information, visit