Do you look at your own therapy practice through your clients eyes?
Now, last week, as you know if you follow my page, I had a spa day at Champneys which was lovely, a lovely day, and was a Christmas present and a voucher from my husband for Christmas. Finally used that and had a day on my own.
What I want to talk about with you today is something of what I experienced on that spa day, but you can also take into your business. Now, what I want you to do is to actually look at your own therapy practice, your own therapy business, as a client’s experience. How would they see it in their eyes? If you’ve got a really good client that you can talk to, that you can really chat with, somebody that’s been with you a very long time, maybe you can actually have a sit down and have a chat with them. Find out what their experience has been like, what it’s been like for them. What I’m also saying, is, go and have an experience yourself at a spa day, if you get the chance a spa day or day in a hotel or if you go off and have treatments yourself with another therapist or at a little centre, beauty place. Have a look. I know it’s all about you and you want to relax and enjoy, but also have a look and see how they treat you.
The reason I’m saying this is that I just want to share what happened to me. Now, the whole day, once I was there, and it was lovely, the whole day was just immense, fabulous, I absolutely loved it, but on the voucher, I received and my husband printed it off, it didn’t say anything about how you redeemed the voucher, so my husband assumed that I would just go up there for the day and hand my voucher over when I got there. I double checked and there was nothing, again, on my voucher or any print off to say what I had to do. I thought, “Being as it’s a big place, I’m sure they’re busy, I will email them to check.” Again, no contact information on the voucher. I had to go on their website to find out contact information to email them to ask them, “Do I book up and if so can I have this day? I’ve got this date in mind.” Which was only the following week. “Can I have this date in mind or can I just turn up?” In forty-eight hours, they come back with the response of, “Yes, you do have to book up because this can be busy.”
Now, obviously within your own small therapy business the clients are going to know they’ve got to book it up first, because it’s not like a spa day, they’re going to know, but I’m sure we’re all putting our contact information, email address, telephone number and our website on the vouchers for the person to contact. This wasn’t on the vouchers. As I said, as it’s a spa day you’re not sure. As I said, probably common sense said to me to contact and ring up or email, but my husband, no, he just thought I would turn up with the voucher.
Anyway, they contacted me forty-eight hours later to say, “Yes, you do have to book in advance. Yes, there are some spaces available at the spa you request on this day. Do you want to book that up?” I said, “Yes please. Here’s my contact information.” Not that they asked for that, but I gave it to them anyway. My contact information, my address and everything. “Can you please let me know what I need to provide, what I need to take with me, anything I need to know on the day?” They emailed me back saying, “Thank you very much but the resort will be in touch with you, the confirmation will be involved and you’ll get all that.” As it was, yes, I then got an email confirmation saying that my booking was confirmed and it was on this date. All it asked me to get then was to go click on the website and I had to fill in my email that was registered to get what they call a ‘guest list’ so that will give you all the information on the day. When I actually went to that and typed in my email address it didn’t recognise it, so that didn’t work. Whether it was because then I’d done that only the day before, I don’t know. That got me in a bit of a panic then of, “Are they going to expect me tomorrow?”
Also, what I noticed on their confirmation on booking it said, “Day at a spa day, arriving on the date, departing the next day.” I thought, “Oh, have they now got me in for twenty-four hour stay and I’ve got overnight accommodation or what?” Again, that wasn’t clear. It said it was a day spa, arriving at nine, having my lunch, whether my lunch was included, and a thalassotherapy session and departing at six, but then what is said on the next section was ‘Depart’, it said, Thursday the date. That was a bit confusing. Anyway, as I said, I couldn’t get the client list, so I printed off all the emails, everything that I’d received, to drive up the next day. I took that, and on arrival at reception she said, “Oh yes,” and she marked it off. They were expecting me, it was the day, which was lovely.
The girl was busy on reception, so that was fine, but she took the time then to show me where the changing rooms were, where the couple of the rooms, where I was going to go and have my lunchtime meal and also led me to my breakfast, which was a surprise, I wasn’t expecting that, so that was lovely, my welcome breakfast. She also gave me a little pack which was like a welcome pack with booklet of what classes and talks and all that were available. I grabbed my breakfast, sat down, I went through the booklet. Nothing in the booklet said anything about the thalassotherapy, about what I do, whether I just turned up there at any time and to show my ticket or anything. They had a whole lovely long list of classes and talks, but again, I didn’t know whether I had to book to go to them in advance or just turned up.
Off I went, done my sauna, my swim, just relaxing, lazing about, and I saw people queuing up outside a thalassotherapy room for their twenty-five-minute session. I thought, “Oh, are they just standing there because they want to go in now or is it they’ve got to book in advance?” When I came out to go off for my lunch I asked, and I went back to the reception, I said, “Excuse me, I’ve got a thalassotherapy session in, do I have to book that in?” She said, “Oh yes, you go and see the treatment suite.” I said, “Where’s that?” “Oh right, up the stairs.” Off I went, girl was there on reception there, and I asked her, and she said, “Do you know when you’re booked in for?” “No, that’s why I’m here, as I’m not sure what I’m supposed to be doing. It’s there on my voucher, but do I book, do I go straight in?” She said, “Oh no, you book your space.” I said, “Okay.” I said, “What’s available?” She said, “I’ve got this, this and this.” I said, “Oh right, I’ll book in for that time then for after my lunch.” “Lovely, right, that’s fine.”
Off I go back down, go off for my lunch. As I’m sitting there I’m thinking, “Right, what am I going to do this afternoon? There’s walks I’d like to go on, there’s also the talk. Do I want to do that, or do I just not want to do anything?” I was sitting there mulling that over, went off then and led in the nice chill out room, waiting for twenty-five minutes before I had my thalassotherapy, still mulling things over. Goes and has my thalassotherapy session for twenty-five minutes, decided I would go to reception and ask about the class, not to go on the walk, but I’d go and do the talk. I thought, “I’ll go to reception and ask there, do I book in or do I just go to the room?” Because, again, nothing in the booklet that said.
She had a long queue again, she was short staffed, and again, I’m not having a go at the receptionist, but she was short of staff, she was dealing with some complaints, she was dealing with other people, and I thought, “This is silly, it’s like, still ten minutes to go to the thing, I don’t even know whether I’m going to get there in time. I’m just going to go straight down to the room and be there and see what the speaker says.” I went down, speaker’s there. There’s only two of us, in we go, we have the talk, that’s lovely. All I’m saying is, on my day, was just really a lack of communications and technical things that didn’t work, short of staff, not quite sure what was going on. I’d even seen a poster outside the spa rooms to say about the thalassotherapy, but on their it still didn’t say anything about booking in, paying extra, or anything.
This is what I want you to think about. How was it with your clients on their first appearance? Now, a spa day is different to a person self-employed working on their own. Okay, you’re probably talking to them as they book up. You will also probably have all the notification on the voucher when you give it to that person who’s buying the voucher. Because if they’re buying it as a gift for somebody else you say to them, “Oh, here’s the voucher, there’s the expiry date, there’s the details. All they’ve got to do is ring me up and book me up whenever they’re ready.” Which they’ll pass on to them when they give them the voucher. There’s not a possibility of buying vouchers on my website. If you’ve got that availability on there, make sure that you’ve got a mention of what happens when the person buys a voucher, whether it’s what becomes part of the download that gets given with the voucher itself, or whether if somebody then accesses to look at the vouchers, the information is there. There’s that part of it.
You may have a clinic, you may have beauty rooms, you may actually be running a centre. Again, not like a spa day, but again, think about it, think about what’s happening if a person comes to you for a package. Think about the communication, think about the confirmation. Again, somebody rings you or emails you to book an appointment if you’re a self-employed therapist, then you will email them back confirming a date, confirming the booking. You might set up a document or a Q&A part on your website and you’ll link it in to say, “Most common Q&A questions asked when booking.” You’ll say, “Turning up on time. Don’t wear your best underwear. What consultation sheet will be filled in.” You might put in there the healing crisis advice. You might have all that stuff in.
I create a welcome package, a welcome pack which I print of and give to client when they come in. I sometimes can also send that off in PDF when confirming a new client, I can send that welcome pack to them for them to read in advance. It’s got the welcome information, it’s got my price list, it’s got all the contacts, all the social media links, everything like that, so they’ve got it in advance. They either get it in advance or they get it as a welcome pack when they attend. It’s got lots of information in there, so I don’t always have to then repeat myself.
If this was given on the website of the spa – my questions were like, towels, I couldn’t remember whether there were enough towels, whether you got given a towel, and then I needed an extra one because of my hair. I couldn’t remember. It’s also, I’d been there last year, and I knew the place had been refurbed since then so whether things had changed. I didn’t realise there was lots of rolled up towels that are available for you to pick up and help yourself whenever. I’m still a bit of a country bumpkin, so I don’t know these things, but it would easy, even if it’s common sense that it’s just set up as like a little list before you go, of what you need to take with you.
Again, just the basics of when you’ve got a client. When they’re buying their vouchers, to be aware that when they’re coming to your appointment, that they’re going to be given a consultation, they’re going to go through a consultation with you, not to wear their best underwear because of oil or wax or whatever you’re using. Just think that when you go to a place, just see what the customer experience is like when you book up to go somewhere, see what the customer experience is like, see what you can learn, check out their flyers, check out their adverts, check out their bits of marketing, whatever they’ve got round the spa or round the centre, there might be some ideas that you might like to think and think, “Oh yeah, I can do that.” It might be, again, like I saw that poster on thalassotherapy, there was nothing there to say that you had to book up. That could have been put on the bottom of the poster, to go to treatment room reception to book your twenty-five-minute session.
There’s these type of things that you need to look at which would be great for you to look at, checking out their web … Going through the whole system of a client or a guest at these spas or days out and what your experience is, is what you can also then take back and feed into your own business, because even though they’re a big corporate, you can still take stuff back to feed to your own. Certainly, if you go to a beauty clinic or you go to … I know I’ve had treatments years ago, I’ve had therapy sessions years ago, when I’ve gone in for a full body massage and the only details they’ve taken from me is my telephone number. They haven’t taken my address … They’ve got my name and my telephone number, but they haven’t got my address, they haven’t got my email, they’ve taken no client consultation, no medical history, no nothing!
When you have got an opportunity, yes, still go and enjoy, I’m not saying, lie there and check out what the therapist is doing. Still enjoy there and enjoy your day, but also just be aware, because you can always take photographs, everybody now uses their mobile phones in their spa just to take photographs of the pool and the room and whatever. You could take photographs just as a reminder then for when you got home, or pick up leaflets or whatever just to see what they are. Think about customer experience, what you’re going through, what somebody’s going through, whether you’re a therapist on your own, whether you hire a treatment room, whether you own a clinical centre or whether you actually own a spa. Have a look and see what your experience is and how you can fit that into your own business.
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