7 Tips for Making a Great First Impression on a New Massage Client

massage-smileYou only get one chance to make a first impression, right? Most people form an opinion of you and your massage therapy practice within seconds of interacting with you.

Such pressure!

While we don’t want to stress you out, we do want to make sure that your clients feel great about doing business with you–especially new clients.

Giving a great massage is one thing, but there are a number of additional details about your interaction with clients that can have a lasting effect (both positive or negative) on your client’s impression of you, starting with your intake process and ending as they leave your office.

Here are some tips for creating a comfortable client experience.

1. Greet the client with clear instructions. If you have a receptionist or you are able to personally greet your clients at the door, that’s excellent. Be sure to greet them with a smile as soon as they walk in and offer to take their coat or other accessories. Offer a drink or other conveniences, as well. If you are not able to greet your clients with a live person (perhaps because you are finishing up a session) then have a sign at the front welcoming the client and inviting them to get a drink, have a seat, and wait comfortably in the waiting room.

2. Assess the experience level of the client before offering the intake form. Before assuming anything, it’s a good idea to ask if the client has gotten a massage before. An experienced consumer of massage will become impatient if you walk through every field on the intake form while a massage “newbie” will appreciate understanding why you need all the information on the form.

3. Be attentive to their needs before the massage. As you walk the client back to the massage room, always ask if they need to use the restroom or if they need anything else before getting started. Few things distract from a great massage more than having to pee halfway though the session! It seems obvious but clients sometimes don’t think of it before getting on the table. (Just a side note: The walk back to the treatment room is a great time to do a visual assesment before the treatment! Watch the way they walk, check out their shoulder height or where their purse or bag is, etc.)

4. Match the client’s level of conversation during the massage. A talkative client might feel neglected if you don’t participate in the conversation while a client who prefers to “zone out” will be annoyed if you talk the whole time. For more tips, see our previous post: “How much should I talk during a massage therapy session?

5. Provide coaching on your tipping policy. While many experienced massage clients are very comfortable tipping, some people might not know the ins and outs of tipping ettequite. If you accept tips, consider placing a small sign at your front desk that explains that tips of 15% – 20% are always appreciated but not expected. If you don’t accept tips, explicitly say so on the sign so there is no awkward rejection of money during the checkout process. Also, consider asking for referrals instead of tips.

6. Give your client permission to linger. It’s a good idea to leave the room by saying “take as much time as you need and I’ll see you at the front desk when you’re ready.” This lets the client know that he/she does not need to feel pressured to hurry out of the room.

7. Don’t pressure your client to re-book. So we understand that this is sometimes a controversial topic. However, our stance is that clients should not be pressured into returning. If you are placing them on a treatment plan, you should most definitely encourage them to set up their next appointments, but make sure to ask for their permission and explain why you want to see them again. There is nothing wrong with asking if they would like to re-book but make sure they feel comfortable no matter what they decide.

Remember to pay attention to all the little details that go into a great client experience and you will have happy clients that can’t wait to return.

What tips would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!


Comments from original Massamio post:

Valid points. However one of the areas I find clients particularly need to be asked about is the temperature. While we therapists are often hot due to our work a clients body temperature often drops when they have a massage especially if they have zoned out. Many times have felt the clients temperature drop then placed warmer coverings to elevate their temp. Often comes a soft ‘thank you’ I was starting to feel cool. Same applies when it’s very hot, keeping clients cool is also important.I feel it is an area; especially when we first start out from graduating we take for granted, if we feel okay then so must the client! — Posted @ Monday, December 10, 2012 7:05 PM by Petrina Steer

A follow up phone call a day or two after the massage is also a great way to show the client you are thinking about them even when they are not in your office. When I do this, I ask how they felt after, and if they have any concerns or feedback. Although this should not be a sales call, it could open the door for the client to rebook. — Posted @ Monday, December 10, 2012 7:24 PM by Yael Hickok

I disagree about rebooking. Every client should be told when you expect to see them back and asked to rebook with you. Most people don’t know the frequency of massage (most people need one every month at least for maintenence and more often for a chronic pain issue) I think its part of our job to ask for the rebook every time. They can always decline. — Posted @ Saturday, December 15, 2012 6:13 AM by Robin

I also have a comment about rebooking. After every massage I sit down with the client to go over what I found and what suggestions I have for self care and what kind of schedule would be appropriate to meet their goals. I then ask the client’s input or opinion regarding the suggestions and time line for coming back. This opens the door for them to say, yes I want to set up the next appointment or I need to check my schedule or whatever. If they don’t book right away I will ask if I could add them to the mailing list to let them know when we are running specials and self-care tips throughout the year. That way I still have some connection to them and I am able to reach out periodically. Always remember that we are the experts and the clients value our advise and expertise. We should not be afraid to give suggestions to help them feel better. Our care and concern for them lets them know how much we value them as a client and will keep them coming back. — Posted @ Monday, December 24, 2012 9:53 AM by Jessica

Thanks for sharing this one. You have good and valid points, great post.  It’s really important to create a good impression from the very start.  http://www.schoolofnaturaltherapies.co.uk  — Posted @ Sunday, July 28, 2013 2:03 AM by Chelsea Sawyer