Setting the stage with a first-time client offers you a unique opportunity to make a first impression that can make a big difference. If the client has never had a massage before, you are possibly opening the doors to a lifetime of ever-increasingly beneficial massages for this person or closing the doors forever. If the client is already familiar with massage and receives it regularly, your first session offers the opportunity for a long-term and satisfying new client relationship.
When the Client Is New to Massage
When the client makes the appointment is the time to find out whether he or she has ever had a massage. If this is the first experience with massage, schedule an extra 10 or 15 minutes to spend with the client before the session begins.
Provide a welcome packet of materials for your client to read on the first visit, including:
- A welcome message. This message sets the tone of your practice. It informs the client of your philosophy of practice, and provides information about what to expect from massage. It states your customer business policies (hours of operation, late and cancellation policies, discounts, etc.) as well as your suggestions for customer self-care following a massage.
- A brochure that describes the health benefits of massage.
Other ways to personalize a client's first visit are to:
- Evaluate their experience in a positive way by discussing their expectations before the session begins. If massage therapy will not satisfy the client's expectations, clear up misunderstandings before the session begins.
- Learn about the clients life habits before the session begins. This will help you tailor your service to each clients needs.
- Bring up the subject of disrobing. A little education from you regarding how their modesty is assured through proper draping might lessen their apprehension and improve their enjoyment of the massage.
- Bring up the subject of talking during the session before the session begins. Many first-time clients do not know what to expect and will feel compelled to be chatty with the practitioner if they are not advised that it's all right to be quiet.
When the Client Is New to Your Practice
If the client is seeing you for the first time but has had massages before, provide the welcome package described above, but only briefly review the other discussion areas. If a client is already familiar with massage, you have an excellent opportunity to say, "I am glad you are familiar with massage because you can guide me to do the things you liked and avoid the things you didn't like about your previous massages. Is there anything you want me to pay particular attention to?"
Will the Client Return?
The big question after an initial massage with you is, will the client return for another appointment? You be the judge about how direct to be in encouraging a next appointment. You could say, "May I book another appointment for you?" or you could wait a couple of weeks and then send a card inviting the client for another visit.
If you've paid special attention to making the client's first visit as comfortable and enjoyable as possible, then you've done all that you can to encourage a repeat client.
client experience, first time visit, new clients