CNHC Registrant Katherine Creighton Crook is the founder and principal therapist of a sport and remedial massage therapy clinic in London. She provides online training for therapists – showing them how to create a business they love working in, while being 100% themselves.
In the second of a series of articles, Katherine offers more tips on rebuilding your business on reopening after lockdown:
Now that we’ve started reconnecting with existing clients (see Part 1), it’s time to think about the experience you’re providing your clients.
We look at client experience BOTH because we want our clients to feel ultimately cared for and supported when they come to see us, and also because word of mouth is one of the most powerful marketing tools in our belt.
You may be surprised how much even small touches can wow clients.
Step 1: Your client touch points
The first step in improving your client experience is one making a list of client touch points, and we’re not talking about sanitising door handles here.
A ‘touch point’ is any interaction a person has with your business from when they first land on your website to your post-session follow-up email.
Mentally walk through every interaction a client has with your brand/clinic before, during and after they see. Don’t leave anything out.
Some common touch points (as an example):
- When they land on your website or social media pages
- Booking an appointment (how they book, via phone? text? online?)
- Any emails or texts you send them before the appointment
- What they see when they first arrive at your clinic - the outside and inside
- Your waiting area
- How you greet and welcome them to your clinic
- The look and feel of the treatment room itself
- While they’re on the table/during the treatment.
Step 2: Dream up creative improvements
Next grab a blank sheet of A4 paper and write all the ways you could possibly make each touch point better.
Don’t get stuck on things being ‘too expensive’ or ‘unrealistic’.
Big, extravagant ideas often give birth to smaller, more manageable changes.
While you’re free-writing, keep these in mind:
- How do you want your client to feel? Supported? Cared for? Pampered? Uber comfortable? Empowered? Educated? Relaxed? Chilled? Use these feelings as a guide for what you’re choosing.
- Use your empathy and put yourself in a new client’s shoes. Might they feel nervous about visiting a new therapist? How can you make them feel less nervous?
- What about returning clients? Perhaps they’re worried about COVID-19, so including a video or web page that explains what you’re doing, and how it lines up with guidelines, will make them feel reassured.
With this step, really look at every touch point and see how you could make it better.
Step 3: Identify your mini improvements
Now that you have your big list, it’s time to narrow it down to 3-5 things you can do RIGHT NOW.
Go through your list and circle all the improvements that take less than 20 minutes and/or cost less than £10 to implement.
- Adding some personality to your booking confirmation shouldn’t take longer than 10-15 minutes but would make clients feel more connected to you.
- If you sell products, gifting new clients a sample could be a nice surprise for a new client (COVID-safe with packaging properly sanitised and not left in communal areas for clients to handle of course).
- Maybe one or two months a year have a surprise welcome gift for everyone who visits?
- What about a celebratory note to clients when you help them hit their goal?
Often small things that seem obvious can make a big difference.
Something as simple as making sure that you greet every single person like you’re so happy they’re there, with a big (socially distanced) smile and full attention, could completely transform the feeling they have when they see you.
Stuck for ideas?
If you’ve walked through every step/client touch point, and are still struggling to figure out how to improve your customer experience, you can use the world wide web for some inspiration:
- Search for 2-3 star reviews for other therapists who practice your complementary therapy, and see what people were unhappy about. Then do the opposite.
- Search for 4-5 star reviews to see what people loved, and see if you can add any of it into your practice.
- Ask some of your regulars what they love about visiting you, and think about how you can double down on those things or make sure that you never forget to do that with a client.
- Book a therapy session with a complementary healthcare practitioner for yourself. Personally I love going to spas to see what I could incorporate in my sessions.
There’s a wealth of information online of people sharing what they did and didn’t like, so use that to make your client experience ah-mazing.
Step 4: Let’s get implementing!
If you can, implement the 3-5 mini improvements now (yes, as in, right now).
If now’s not a good time, pull out your calendar and book time to do it.
Remember, the power in any idea comes from implementation!
Lastly, put a date in your calendar in about 3-4 months to come back to your list and implement a couple more things.
Side note: COVID-19 and your client experience
There’s no denying that some of the guidelines for the novel coronavirus limit what we’re able to do for our clients and affect our client experience.
But it’s our choice to either let it negatively affect our sessions, or to use it as an opportunity to communicate to clients how much you care about them and their safety. You wouldn’t be a CNHC Registrant if you didn’t, right?
Create a video or web post that explains exactly what you’re doing and why (because their safety is your first priority) and that makes it clear to clients what to expect when they arrive.
This type of communication actually ADDS to your customer experience, because only when they feel safe can a client get the full benefit of your treatment.
Most of us became complementary therapists because we love helping people, so for a lot of us increasing how cared-for our clients feel is going to be a lot of fun.
I’d love to know what you implement, and definitely let me know if you get stuck with anything! You can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org