I have a frizzy half-blown dandelion clock perched on my scalp. Some people refer to it as my “hair.” The woman who tends it is remarkable. She has never attempted to give me a “style.” Instead she “shapes” and “prunes.” She speaks my language, she takes time to understand what I want, she gives good advice, and I walk out of her studio looking like myself and not like a product of the 80’s. She’s really good at what she does and makes me feel good, too. Skilled though she is, her customer service is seriously lacking. Once I’m in her chair all is well. Getting to her chair makes my teeth hurt.

I’ll leave message after message before I get a call back. I never know if my appointment will start on time, making it hard to plan the rest of my day. Sure, I keep going back, but I am reluctant to recommend her to any of my friends. This is not because of her work, but because she doesn’t seem to understand the importance of basic customer service.

On the other hand, my massage therapist gives me superior service on all levels. Not only does she excel at her work, she also gives great customer service. She returns my calls in a reasonable amount of time. Our sessions start promptly. I am confident that when I walk into her office, she is ready for me. She rounds out what I now consider to be basic customer service by sending me specials, birthday cards, and hand-written cards thanking me for my referrals. This makes me feel as though my business and I are important to her. Then she even goes one step further (clever lady!) and contacts my husband or me when one of our birthdays or our anniversary is approaching. Of course I want to share her name with others. I know she won’t make me look foolish for recommending her. She hasn’t inspired my confidence by being flashy or becoming a salesperson.

Call it what you will — Natural Touch Marketing, the Golden Rule, Just Being Yourself — my massage therapist has learned to make her practice successful and earned my loyalty and my recommendation by nurturing me, her client, in every reasonable way. As you build your practice, consider how your natural approach to caring and communicating can help build a deeper connection with your clients both in and out of your office. In addition to grateful clients, a thriving business will be the happy result.