It’s a bit of a no-brainer really – we want people to come back for another treatment. Without repeat business our therapy room or mobile service is going to dwindle and eventually disappear. The next logical assumption would be to ensure that the therapies we are offering are always our very best; that our skills are polished, we’re reliable, personable and professional. Yet giving a good service to your clients may not be all it takes to get them calling again. There are various factors involved, some of which may be personal to our clients and nothing at all to do with the massage therapist or their services. There isn’t much point in dwelling on what may or may not be the problem – if people aren’t calling in with repeat bookings, then you are going to have to go the extra mile to entice them.
There are more factors than those I’ve mentioned above. The problem for some therapists can be that they are kind, caring people with fantastic interpersonal skills, but what they can offer in warmth, personality and customer service they might lack in business savvy. Of course, if you lack business savvy it’s hard to determine just how much you are lacking and where you’re holding yourself back. It’s a tricky one. We massage therapists know that the difficult part is getting customers through the door in the first place. Enticing them to make that first appointment can be difficult when they don’t know you and nobody has passed your details on. With massage treatments generally being considered a luxury, people view it as a mini-investment - a bit of a gamble - and it’s understandable; we are all familiar with that feeling of disappointment when we realise the much-needed treatment we’ve looked forward to all week is not going to cut the mustard… and we’re still going to have to pay for it!
Simple can equal successful
The golden rules for getting your customers to rebook are relatively simple, but often overlooked because we’re wrapped up in doing a good job in other ways. While are busying ourselves with the obvious, or by making polite conversation, we can easily forget to talk to them about the finer details. For example, we may be used to our treatment room and feel that everything is as it should be, but it might not be the case for our new client. It pays to remember the smaller details that create the kind of ambience that allows the customer to fully relax. The customer may not feel comfortable asking you to turn the temperature down a little if it’s their first treatment with you. Maybe the face cradle could do with an adjustment, or the oil a little more heating. Showing that you’re given real consideration to the client’s comfort is a sure fire way to gain their trust and confidence in you as a therapist. The smaller details accumulate, so the more of them you pay attention to, the more likely you are to overshadow your competitor and make your way onto the favourites list.
Another very simple thing that we may not be so consistent with is to ask them to come back. Not in so many words of course; we need to be a little more diplomatic than that so as not to put them on the spot. They will cancel later if they feel pressured, so better to encourage them to come back in with some kind of incentive than to come across as pushy or desperate for the business. An incentive can be something as simple as a percentage off their next booking, a ‘buy one get one half price’ offer – anything that is an obvious deal. The second time is key - if you can get them in the for that second treatment, the chances are you’ll get them in a third, fourth and hopefully many to come after that. If you don’t strike while the iron is hot, the passing of time could fog the memory of the even the most blissful of massages, so ultimately it’s down to you to grab the bull gently by the horns! People will expect this to a certain extent, so as long as you’re respectful in your approach, there is no need to be concerned with causing offence. If you don’t manage to reel them back in there and then, it doesn’t hurt to send a follow up email reiterating your offer, highlighting a link to your social media to keep them engaging with you outside of the treatment room.
We would be happy to hear your nuggets of wisdom and tips and tricks for keeping your clients satisfied. Do you find it easy to get repeat business, and if so what do you attribute your successes to?
Online there is lots of debate as to whether professional associations are worthwhile. Many therapists are put off by the cost and, in an attempt to run their clinics as lean as possible, leave this off their list of business expenses. Whether you have recently trained as a massage therapist or whether you have been working in spa but are looking to strike out on your own and set up your own massage therapy business, whatever your circumstance if you are looking to have a successful career in the massage industry then you should seriously consider joining a professional association.
Massage tables comes in many different shapes and size. It can be confusing for you, the customer, to choose the right one but we are here to help!
A lot of customers call us up after they have bought the wrong size massage table elsewhere and we would like to help you avoid this mistake. It normally goes something like this; they like the look of a picture of a massage table on a website, they like the low price and then they check the carrying weight is ok. If the carrying weight fits their needs they click add to cart and the new massage table turns up at their doorstep in a few days. They unfortunately assume all massage tables are pretty much the same width and size.
The standard size of a massage table is 28 inches wide (71cms) and 73 inches (185cms) long. One of the reasons many "lightweight" budget massage tables are so cheap is because
Make sure the massage table is the right size for you and your clients as the narrow massage tables at 61cms can be very uncomfortable for anyone who isn't petite and many clients cannot relax with their shoulders and arms unsupported.
Almost all therapists choose the standard 28 inch wide massage table. All our massage tables are the same length so it is only the width and shape our customers need to decide on.
Your massage table should be wide enough to cater for the wide variety of shapes and sizes of your clients. It needs to be wide enough to comfortably accommodate your treatment style, while being narrow enough to ensure you don’t have to strain your own back during treatments.
Each therapist's postural training and ability is different, so only you will know what massage table width you can handle. We have spoken to therapists who are five feet tall and get the wider 30 inch massage tables, and we speak to six foot therapists who have back problems and go for a 25 inch wide massage table. Everyone is different.
Generally speaking, if you are of smaller stature, you may do better with one of the narrower 25-inch massage tables. If you're quite tall, or are particularly keen to offer your clients a very spacious experience, a 30-inch massage table might be more suitable.
If you are in doubt, see if you can go into your local training college and see whether the massage tables there suit you. However, there is another way to get a feel for what will work of you don’t have access to a couch when you are deciding:
Cut out a piece of cardboard to the dimensions of both sizes you are deciding between. Put it on top of the kitchen table and lean over it. Visualise a client lying there, and see which width will suit you and your client best.
Make sure you can get close enough to the table that you can pivot at the waist and have your shoulders squared to the clients hips, with your hands parallel to the clients' spine. Working in this position will ensure an injury-free career, so it's an important factor in your decision.
The most popular massage table widths are 28 and 30 inches. We sell 25-inch massage tables but you should really only choose this width if you are shorter in height and having a wider massage table might put your own back at risk over the course of your career.
You can also choose the 25-inch if you want to have the lightest massage table possible. By reducing the width of the massage table, the weight is also reduced. Now, this can mean a trade-off of some client comfort, but this trade is often worthwhile if you are a fully mobile therapist and use public transport frequently, where saving a kilogram or two will make a difference to you over time.
Nowadays, almost all portable massage tables come with height adjustable legs. Whichever massage table you choose should come with a large height range to accommodate you, and to cater for a broad range of therapies.
A common height range of massage tables is between 60 to 80cm, and this height range should cater for everyone. To check which height you need your massage table to be at follow this rule of thumb:
1. Stand up straight with your hands by your sides. Clench your fists.
2. Measure the distance between the floor and your knuckles
3. This distance should equal the height of your massage table.
4. Add a few inches in height to allow for the body of the patient on the massage table.
The height of a massage table is usually only adjusted when different therapists are using the same massage table, or if you have a client that is outside the average size you normally treat. So for example, if someone with a lot of body depth comes for a treatment after an average size person, you may need to adjust the height a notch or two.
You should be able to adjust the height of a massage table in just 2-3 minutes. Even though you mightn't adjust the height very often, the faster the better when you do have to!
There are 2 types of height adjustment mechanisms found on modern massage tables.
1) Twisting knobs (found only on wooden massage tables):
If you are working with a wooden massage table, it is better to have two knobs on each of the four legs for greater strength and reliability. When buying online, make sure to check how many knobs are on the legs. Cheap massage tables often only have one knob, and when you raise the legs to the highest heights they are less stable and have been known to snap.
2) Telescopic push-buttons (found only on aluminium massage tables):
The mechanism to adjust the height of an aluminium massage table is much the same as the push-button method on aluminium crutches. It only takes a few seconds to adjust each leg, and the mechanism is very reliable. Check out the video to see how it’s done.
The following are the different shapes of massage tables on the market.
1. Rectangle shaped with square corners
This is the traditional shape of a massage table and the one you are probably familiar with seeing. Our Combi-lite 3 in 1 and Affinity Portaflex are shaped like this.
2. Rectangle shaped with rounded corners
Same as no 1 above in every way except the corners are rounded. Does not affect function in any way, just a different design/look.
3. Hour glass shaped with gradual gradient
A fabulous massage table innovation in recent years, which solves a lot of the problems around choosing the correct width is the hourglass shaped massage table.
This style of massage table is wider at the ends, and tapers somewhat at the middle. This provide a spacious and comfortable experience for your client (as the shoulder and feet area are 30 inches wide) without compromising your own posture and health, as the middle of the couch where you lean over is a much narrower 26 inches wide.Having recently upgraded to one of these hourglass massage tables myself, I can vouch that my working days are much more comfortable, and many of my clients have commented on the extra comfort from the wider shoulder area.
The name says it all! There are no corners on the massage table. Therapists normally choose this for one of two reasons. They simply like the look of this massage table and it is aesthetically more pleasing in their treatment room and/or they find it easier to move around the massage table during the treatment without having to side step the corners. This is particularly handy when space is limited in your treatment room.