The benefits of massage therapy are wide reaching. As a massage therapist, you use the power of your hands and the techniques you have learned to relieve pain and tension in your clients’ muscles and soft tissues. Your services can help encourage and increase physical circulation and even help with anxiety and irregular sleep patterns. However, you can be the most skilled massage therapist and still be unsuccessful if you don’t know how to manage your clients.
It doesn’t matter if you are working with a spa, your own business or providing massage therapy in your clients’ homes, you should know how to maintain good relationships with the people who use your massage therapy services. Client management is the nuts and bolts of how you provide and advertise your services to the people who need them. Here are some areas to consider when you are planning to begin your practice, expand your practice or trying to better manage the clients you already have.
Time management is a factor in all facets of massage therapy, but it is especially important when it comes to the time spent with your clients. Knowing how to manage your clients’ time will help you enhance your clients’ experiences and can even help strengthen your profit margins. Being more thoughtful about how you structure your appointment time allows you to be more efficient. There are some things you’ll want to keep in mind when considering how to budget and spend your time with your client.
Accurately Estimate How Long Things Take
The importance of knowing how long it takes you to perform a certain service or task can’t be overstated. It informs your pricing, your scheduling, and your ability (or inability) to take on new clients without fear of disappointing them. You should have a good idea of how long each of your massage therapy services take you to complete without rushing so your clients aren’t disappointed by a massage therapy appointment that was chaotic due to poor time management.
Make a Game Plan
While there are going to be issues that come as a surprise in the middle of a massage therapy session, for the most part, clients know what they want worked on when they make their appointment. Once you are aware of what your client is hoping to achieve you can plan regarding the flow of the appointment based on the amount of time your client is willing to pay for. Knowing what you can and can’t include in an appointment will allow you to make recommendations and help better inform your client of what they can expect in that amount of time. It will also help you structure your appointment in the most beneficial way for your client.
Be Smart About Your Commute
You need to account for things like travel time if you are performing massage therapy in your clients’ homes. Being late to scheduled appointments make clients feel like you are wasting their time and it decreases their confidence in your commitment to massage therapy. While there will be times when you are forced to push or reschedule an appointment, it should be the exception to the rule. If you are a massage therapist who is respectful of your clients’ time, they will be more likely to build a lasting rapport with you and recommend your services to others.
Balancing Client and Administrative Time
Overloading your schedule with back-to-back appointments can be good for money in the short term, but it is not a sustainable business model. Whether you are working in a spa or independently, you should take time out to complete tasks that are unrelated to your clients. Cleaning and purchasing equipment, restocking supplies and calling vendors, along with everyday tasks like maintaining client records and accounting are some of the many areas that will need your attention. Avoiding these areas of your business may not impact your clients immediately, but it will eventually. Make sure you strike a healthy balance between appointments and administration in a way that keeps your profits steady.
Keeping your clients happy will keep them coming back and strengthen your reputation. Client disappointment should be avoided whenever possible. There is no way to expect that you will please everyone who comes to you, but you can help manage your clients’ expectations by keeping a few things in mind.
Be Honest with Yourself and Your Clients
Massage therapy has a myriad of benefits. It can increase relaxation, stimulate circulation and enhance the overall wellness of your clients. There are things that massage therapy can’t do. Promising your clients results that you can’t guarantee or exaggerating the benefits of your service will look poorly on you. Be honest and thorough in your explanation of what the client can expect and anticipate from their appointment.
Once you have a clear idea about how to budget your time you will also have a clearer idea of what you can and can’t do with your schedule. There will be times that a client wants to quickly squeeze in an appointment or add a service last minute and you will have to say no to their request. This can be uncomfortable because it feels like you might lose them as a client or disappoint them. When you have a full schedule and a demanding clientele, be transparent about why you cannot complete their request immediately and offer them an alternative time slot or comparable service when you can.
Misunderstandings lead to frustration for both you and your clients. Make your massage therapy services and pricing clear up front. People don’t like to feel tricked into paying money they didn’t expect. People also don’t like expecting one thing and getting something else. When clients have questions about what you provide or if you can help with a problem, take your time and be as truthful in your answers as you can. It is also important that any websites or online ads are simple and easy to understand for this reason.
People respond to authenticity. There is no question that you should always be professional and appropriate, but it’s also important for you to be yourself. Personality and connection can be an important part of the client relationship. It cultivates a level of comfort and ease in an industry that can make people feel vulnerable. When people feel genuinely cared about and have a connection to their massage therapist, it will likely take a lot for them to go elsewhere. Get to know your clients, and let your clients get to know you.
Prepare for Difficult Clients
Massage therapy is an overwhelmingly positive profession. Being in the business of helping people and making them feel better can be rewarding. But there are going to be clients who are difficult and confrontational no matter what you do. Therefore, it is important for you to think about these kinds of clients before you encounter them. Highly emotional situations can create panic and anxiety for some people and can even shy the massage therapist away from expanding their business. It is important to know your own boundaries, and what you want to say and do if a client crosses the line. Knowing these things ahead of time will keep you from feeling flustered while trying to figure them out in the moment. Being calm, even in the face of confrontational clients, will help you stay in control and maintain your authority in those situations.
Good General Management
When you have established a pattern of personal responsibility throughout every area of your profession, your clients will reap the benefits. Frantic appointments filled with confusion don’t create a conducive atmosphere for relaxation and healing. Make sure that all areas of your massage therapy practice have been attended to, and you are able to give your clients your sincere focus and undivided attention during their appointment. When you give every aspect of your massage therapy the management and attention it deserves, you and your clients feel the effects. While your certified skills are the first step in becoming a successful massage therapist, there is much more to the business than what you can do with your hands.
Interested in learning more about a career in massage therapy? Ready to become a massage therapist? Upon graduation, Massage Therapy Program students will receive diplomas and be qualified to seek entry-level positions as clinical, medical, or deep tissue massage therapists in wellness clinics and centers, spa environments including resorts and franchises, and self-employment.
Contact us to learn more about how you can become a massage therapist today.