From the MASSAGE Magazine article, “Software to Build Your Practice,” by Danielle Murphy, in the February 2009 issue. Article summary: Software specific to running a massage business assists therapists in scheduling, billing and other key practice-management functions.

One key to making software work for you is to make sure it works for your clients. What does this mean? As a massage therapist, you are concerned about your clients’ well-being. To convey that concern, you need to show that you understand their preferences by crafting a micro-personalized experience each time you see them. This is simple when you have only a handful of clients, but becomes much tougher to manage as your business grows. This is where quality software comes to the rescue.

Look for technology solutions that allow you to track lots of information about your clients. From notes about each visit to personalized tags you create and assign to each client, choose software that allows you to build a customer database that goes beyond a name and address. That way, you’ll be better prepared to personalize each appointment. Even better, you can use this information to communicate more effectively with your clients through e-mail, direct mail, text message or in-person.

In a crowded marketplace, you need to differentiate yourself. Leverage technology to offer your clients convenience (using tools, such as online scheduling) and personalized service (using the strategies outlined) above to set yourself apart.

Michael Wilson has spent his entire adult life working in service-based businesses. From European wine region bicycle tour guide to wine bar restaurateur, his time has been devoted to making his clients feel comfortable and secure in whatever environment he is working. As current director of online strategies for ScheduleTown Online Scheduling (www., he is moving that experience into the virtual world in order to facilitate the best possible end-user experience for the clients of service providers who use ScheduleTown, as well as for the service providers themselves.