This month marks the third anniversary of Deep Heeling Barefoot Bodywork! To celebrate, I want to thank those responsible for making this possible, namely my clients. I’ve done some smart things to attract and retain an amazing clientele but it’s because of their dedication to wellness that I have such a fulfilling job.
How much do I love my clients? For me, fostering client relationships is the best part of being a massage therapist. Although I’m careful to maintain professional boundaries, it’s important to me to let my clients know how deeply I apprecitate their business.
I used to give my top regular clients small, inexpensive gifts for the holidays, usually homemade bath salts, oils, scrubs or candles. These kinds of gifts promoted calm in their lives but I’m betting that many of them have gone unused. When I celebrated my first year in business this time around, I wanted to recognize all of my consistent clients (not just my very best regulars) for being a part of my practice community by giving them something they would actually use and enjoy. I also wanted to disconnect that gift-giving from the holidays to honor every client’s beliefs and practices.
That first year, I decided on Starbucks gift cards. With so many locations, they are convenient to use and have mass appeal regardless of age or gender. I looked back over my schedule and listed the clients who were coming in at least once every six weeks. Then I went to the Starbucks website and ordered that number of $5 gift cards. They have several designs to choose from and the shipping was free. This may sound like a big expense but I see it as an investment in client relations, plus I’m truly grateful for my clients and want them to know that. Breaking down that expense over the course of the year makes it less than $20 per month.
My second year in business, I had decided to change the water bottle in my new client take-home bags to a lacrosse ball they can use as a self-massage tool to manage symptoms between visits. The balls have a label with my website on them where I have demonstration videos so clients know how to use them on different parts of the body. Since my clients up to that point hadn’t received them, I gave every client a lacrosse ball as an anniversary gift.
This year, I went back to the Starbucks cards. I realize that spending a chunk of cash for client appreciation isn’t right for every business, so I came up with some ideas that may work better for some business owners (please note I have not actually tried these so have no experience to share). You can also spread it out by giving appreciation gifts on clients’ birthdays or the anniversary of their first visit rather than all in one month.
- Gift certificates for a free 30-minutes or upgrade (hot stones, foot scrub, etc.). Not only is this a really nice gift, it may get some clients to start booking higher-priced services.
- Trading gift certificates with another local business. If you trade services for goods, make sure the value of your offering is equal to theirs. For example, how many minutes of massage or an upgrade equal the value of a burrito or $5 off a total purchase?
- Depending on your clientele, they may like personalized recorded meditations, yoga videos or massage music playlists.
- If you have a membership program or punch card, you could offer a discount on that.
When it comes to feeling appreciated, I believe receiving something useful or valuable conveys that message. I did have one client refuse the Starbucks card, so I gave him $5 off his massage instead. It may seem like I’m doing this for them but really it gives me great pleasure to show my clients how grateful I am for them. Seeing the surprise and delight on their faces when I give them their gift creates more joyful moments in the practice that I love!
How do you show your clients you love them? If you don’t see a comment box below, please click the Leave a comment link to share. Thank you!
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