Managing Client Expectations

Massage therapy is a profession that comes with a certain level of expectations. Clients generally expect a long list of things when they walk in the door, including but not limited to:

  • Cleanliness
  • Pleasing décor
  • Professional appearance (both of the therapist and the surroundings)
  • Excellent and skilled services
  • Being fully or partially undressed during services
  • Specific oils/lotions used
  • Full-body results

These are just the general expectations – in reality, clients will expect much more. Often times, their expectations come from a lack of first-hand experience with receiving clinic services, or from previous experience at a different location. While there may be some similarities between the services they have received and the services you will be giving them, it is ultimately a different experience – and may not be what they had in mind.

You may be wondering:

How can I manage my clients’ expectations and prepare them before their appointment?

It is up to you, as the massage therapist, to give clients an understanding of what they can expect when they walk into your business. You can:

  • Educate the client. Answer any and all questions they may have, and be sure to include important information about you, your services, and your business so they have an idea what they will be walking in to. A website is a great way to accomplish this – clients can go online and see detailed information about services, pricing, etc.
  • Set boundaries up front. Clients may walk in expecting more (or less) for their money. Setting the record straight from the beginning about the services you offer and pricing will save everyone the headache later.
  • Address pain relief options first. Some clients may be looking for target areas of pain relief, while others may expect a full-body treatment. Be sure to talk to your client before treatment is started to understand the results they have in mind.
  • Always get verbal permission. If a client is taken by surprise by the placement of a hand, it can be easily misinterpreted as something other than you intended. Tell the client where you will be placing your hand, why, what it will accomplish, and if they are okay with it. This way, the client will have clear expectations and little room for confusion.

Regardless of your efforts to manage clients’ expectations, there will always be those that are never satisfied. Take those as they come, and don’t let them damper your spirit or enthusiasm for what you do. A large amount of issues, conflict, and dissatisfaction can be saved if you do your best to educate your clients from the get-go and help them understand what they can expect from you and your services.