Every business gets excited when a new customer walks through the door. The excitement grows when that customer completes their first purchase, and the experience is no different when your clients complete their first massage therapy session.
However, getting the customer through the door for the first time is only half the battle. The other half involves encouraging them to become a repeat visitor. Client retention is essential if your massage therapy business is to grow. Luckily the secret to getting more repeat bookings isn’t all that difficult to implement.
Turn on the trust
Your relationship with your clients is based on trust. They trust you to provide a high quality, personalized service and to put their needs first. Similarly, you trust your clients to provide accurate information, give honest feedback and spread the word about the service you provide.
Trust is ultimately earned through joint experience; the better the experience, the greater the level of trust, and, ultimately, the more positive the relationship. None of this happens overnight and it all requires a certain degree of hard work. You need to put just as much effort into this relationship as you would into any other.
Clear, consistent and constant communication
You don’t have to tell your customers every time you break a nail, but you do need to remind them regularly that you are there:
- Send out weekly email newsletters
- Create flyers for special offers or special events
- Send reminder texts for appointments, or even something along the lines of ‘We haven’t seen you in a while.’
- Create a blog and send out reminders for every new entry
- Create a social media page or group and invite them to join
Social networks are excellent mediums because they can be used to create a two-way conversation between you and your existing clients. Social networking can also work as a way to recruit new clients through recommendations. A word of caution though; if you go down the social media route, remember that the conversation does have to go both ways. If you get questions and comments, you must respond and moreover, respond in good time. If your existing or potential clients feel they are being ignored, the trust you have built will disappear quicker than you can say ‘Lay down and relax.’
Gushing with gratitude
Without your clients you don’t have a business; it is really that simple, and it doesn’t hurt to let them know that you realize that this is the case. The easiest way to let you clients know that you appreciate them is to say thank you. While the words themselves are likely to be well received, adding a little incentive to visit you again will add the icing to the cake. Incentives that work well include:
- Loyalty cards – points adding up to a free treatment
- A percentage off of their next treatment
- A half price treatment when they refer a friend
- Money off if they tweet / retweet / share a status
Massage therapy is by its very nature a very personal business. You get to know your clients better than most other businesses they deal with. Make the most of this relationship and add small touches that will make your clients feel special and feel appreciated. Some of the options include:
- Addressing them by their preferred title / name – some clients may still prefer to be addressed as Miss or Mrs (Surname) rather than by their first name
- Sending greetings to them on their birthday
- Personalizing a special offer for them if they have a particular event or stressful situation coming up
- Being interested when they tell you about their lives – try to remember key points to show you have listened
As has already been noted, trust is important in any relationship, and it has to go both ways. One of the best ways to show that you trust and value your clients is to ask for, and respond to feedback. Requesting feedback does not have to feel like setting up an interrogation. You can provide anonymous cards for clients to fill in or create a quiz on your social media platform. The key is to ensure that clients don’t feel under pressure to either respond at all or respond in a certain way. Feedback is only valuable if it is freely and honestly given.
Many of these techniques are used in pre-sales marketing to recruit your clients in the first place. You probably realize that employ most of them without even thinking about it. The skill, however, is remembering to continue the process once they have visited you for the first time. Doing this will create relationships with longevity and, therefore, enhance the longevity of your business.