By some industry standards I suspect I am a failure.
If I spoke to a business guru no doubt they would give me “that look” and smile with that “I pity you, you poor, innocent fool” smile and their eyes would roll back and be replaced with $ signs as they saw the potential they could drain from my already empty pockets.
The reason why, after 10 years in the Massage Industry, I am a failure is I just do not feel the need to re-book. I am happy if I do not see my clients ever again, especially if they have come to an injury or present with chronic pain. Do not get me wrong, I really like most of my clients, but if they do not need to see me on a weekly or fortnightly basis, then to me, that indicates they are not in pain.
It would be nice if they popped back every couple of months just because they enjoy it or have a few aches and niggles, but I certainly do not feel any pressure to encourage them to come back any more than that.I actually started writing this blog a few months ago, and came back to it after reading a discussion thread in a Facebook group. A therapist was feeling down and questioning his business model. He was doing his job really well, and helping many clients with chronic pain conditions…. So much so that they did not need to see him on a regular basis and he was struggling to make a dependable income from massage. The post sparked some great discussions but did raise the question as to the ethics in rebooking. Why do we rebook a client? There are several reasons, some reasonable, some not so much.
Scenario 1:The client has presented for a remedial treatment with a specific injury or issue. You assess, treat and develop a treatment plan over several sessions.
You discuss this with the client and involve them in the process, and in subsequent treatment sessions, you reassess, adjust plan as required and look for signs of improvement. Re booking in this instance ticks all the boxes. You are informing the client, you a meeting your obligations to the health funds if they are claiming the treatment, you are practicing in an ethical and appropriate manner. The question is though, how long does this go on before enough is enough? 5 sessions? 10 sessions? 20 sessions? When is continuing to re-book this client more about them being a dependable source of income for you, and less about the clients well being? This is something that only you can answer. So long as the client continues coming because they want to that's fine. If they feel they are getting a benefit that's awesome but don't blindly re book unless there is a purpose.
Scenario 2:The client presents with a niggling issue, like tightness in the neck and/or shoulders. It’s not really an “injury” per se, but rather simply a “condition of life”. They do request a remedial session so they can claim it on their private health insurance. Might be okay for a session or two, but does it really fit the criteria for the purpose of health funds? If the client is getting some relief then that is OK but you should be following a remedial treatment plan. If the condition is persisting and the client keeps presenting week in week out there will come a time when you have to ask "why"? What do you need to do differently? What do they need to do differently? Do you need to refer elsewhere or get a consult with a colleague for a review? Scenario 3:New client presents with a gift voucher that she was given for her birthday. She just wants 1 hour of time to herself where she can chill out and relax. You perform the massage, the client comes out to the front desk, with that vague look in her eyes and you have that “when would you like to come in again” discussion. Before she knows whats happened she's gone home with an appointment card for a massage next week that she doesn't really want, doesn't really need and doesn't know how to get out of it without offending you.
The key to treating your client ethically is to make sure that they are informed about why they are having a massage. There is a big difference between encouraging them to re book and manipulating them to re book. If they want to come on a regular basis, that is their decision. Fear should never play a part in this decision.
No... if the client WANTS to come every week, that's great. There is nothing wrong with enjoying a massage. Just don't keep seeing someone for 5 years every 2 weeks and kid yourself that you are performing the same remedial massage every time. Its obviously not working!!
I would much rather a client walk away without re booking and tell 3 friends to come and see me.
This blog was first published October 2018 and was imported in it's entirety to the new website