From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Client Retention: The Client Lifecycle and Strategies to Retain Clients in Each Stage,” by Danielle Murphy, in the March 2010 issue. Article summary: What can you do, other than offer a great experience, to improve client-retention numbers? The first step is realizing there is such a thing as a client lifecycle. Your client base is not all that different from a tadpole’s transformation into a frog. And just like a tadpole has different needs than a full-fledged frog, a client in each stage of the lifecycle needs a customized client-retention strategy.

by Norm Green

As a massage client for more than 28 years, I have experienced the amazing, the good, the bad and the ugly in the hundreds of massages I have received.

Because I experience chronic pain, I am typically a loyal client when I find a therapist who relates to me and provides relief for my pain. My time, money and dire need for pain relief do not allow me the luxury of accepting anything less than my expectations being met.

With that said, you can be the best therapist and still lose clients if, when they call to make an appointment, they get your voicemail.

Why? Because, at that critical point in your relationship with your client, you have now put her in a position where she has to leave a message and wait to find out if she can schedule an appointment with you.

With each tick of the clock you make a client wait for a call back, you are at risk of losing the appointment and the client. If a client does not know as soon as she needs to if she can schedule with you, she will eventually call down her list and make an appointment with a therapist who confirms her availability matches your client’s desired appointment time.

I have switched therapists when I was unable to know if my therapist had any openings on or around my desired appointment times. If the new therapist delivers a positive experience, I now have the choice to return to my original therapist or continue to see my new therapist.

You can do everything correctly to provide the most amazing client experience, and it can all be for nothing if your clients get your voicemail and are left to consider other options.

In today’s fast-paced world, people want instant gratification. In order to capture them and keep them as clients, you must invest in an appointment-inquiry response system that will maximize all of your business-development efforts and allow your clients the ability to make an appointment on their first attempt, whether it is on the phone or online.

If you don’t, your competition will.

Norm Green has been a massage client for 28 years. He is the director of business development for My Receptionist ( He has a background in franchise development and consults massage therapists on how to increase their revenue, cash flow and free time by utilizing the services offered by My Receptionist.