Monday, August 11, 2008

Massage Client Loyalty: Lifetime Value

We often have a tendency to view our customers as transactional. Meaning, if a client doesn’t come back, I’ve only lost $60 in potential income. This type thinking, in fact, can cost you thousands of dollars. I worked with a consultant one time who led the guest experience for the Ritz Carlton. He stressed the importance of front-line staff understanding the lifetime value of each customer. He shifted his company’s thinking towards a bigger picture view, which made day to day guest interactions much more critical. When interacting with clients, it is a good idea to think about their lifetime value and how it would impact your business.

How to assess the Lifetime Value of a Client: Example Scenario

You have a regular client who visits you twice monthly, you charge them $90 for an hour and a half and they usually tip you $10. This client’s yearly value is $2600.

Now suppose, you have provided the best care and treatment this client has ever experienced. You’ve maintained professional boundaries, resolved issues and taken care of their requests and this behavior has cemented the relationship evoking loyalty in them. In their day to day life, they might discuss your work with others and probably recommend you to their friends and family. If they talk to 5 people monthly and one actually books with you each month for 60 minutes, this has added $720 to the original client’s value making their total yearly value $3320.

Statistics show that highly satisfied consumers are not only willing to promote you to others (Apostles), but they are willing to spend more with you. If you happen to offer products, massage upgrades or gift certificates, then these clients are more willing to purchase. So, add another $250 for upgrades, extra sessions and purchases bringing their yearly value to $3570.

If you were to work with this client for 5 years, they would be worth $17,850 to your practice. This is a conservative estimate and doesn’t count the word of mouth advertising you gain from those clients they originally recommended who have also become loyal.

When you are faced with difficult interaction, it is best to view the customer from this perspective. Your problem resolution will recognize their long term-value and thus cause actions designed to ensure they return to you. When you create clients like the above example, treat them like gold. Reward them for their loyalty and make it easy for them to recommend you.

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