3 tips to make the customer experience more comfortable | Yelp
When a client books a massage, the last thing they want is a stressful experience. But the truth is that even just booking self-care services can be stressful. Waiting for hours on the phone to book an appointment, wondering if you’ll feel comfortable with the staff or safe enough with the company’s COVID-19 protocols – that can be enough to put a client off completely.
“During the pandemic, I really needed massages. I missed getting them,” said a Yelp reviewer Swati S. “I was trying to find a place that I felt was safe, following COVID precautions, and I wanted one in the city. I read that it was a woman-owned place, and it was LGBQT-friendly, and I’m all for supporting women-owned places. So I think looking on Yelp I found it.
The gem that Swati discovered was Nola Happiness Massage in New Orleans, an independent massage studio that focuses on massage therapy tailored to the needs of each client. Owner Sara Albie has figured out how to help her clients relax from the moment they start booking appointments.
“The number one thing we do is provide great massages and great service,” she said. “But then the second element is communicating with our customers and providing that great service in all of our communications.”
This ranges from Nola Bliss’ online reservation system to its prioritization of diversity and inclusion. Below, Sara shares lessons for streamlining the customer experience and ensuring every customer leaves feeling comfortable and satisfied.
1. Get customers in the door with a “quick and easy” experience
Great service starts long before a customer walks through your door. Between review sites like Yelp and your online presence, potential customers can thoroughly check out your business and your competitors before making a decision. By offering an intuitive and inexpensive online booking option, Sara increases the chances that they choose Nola Bliss.
“We’ve seen, especially over time, that more and more people want to book and communicate online,” Sara said. “They want a simple and fast experience. We love our online reservation system. It is so easy to use, simple and fast. They can book in at two in the morning in pajamas, which a lot of people do. And it’s also very simple, it’s very user-friendly.
2. Empower your team to do their best
While many companies overwork and overbook massage therapists, “churning and burning” through appointments, Nola Bliss stands out in the industry by offering longer shifts and longer breaks for therapists.
“They have 30-minute gaps between each client, which we’ve learned over time, really allows them to connect with their clients,” Sara said. “First of all, [they] having time with the client and feeling empowered to really tailor that massage. And they can really talk with the customer and find out what’s going on.
Making more room in her therapists’ schedules is one way Sara allows her team to do their best. Streamlining the service menu is another. Nola Bliss offers massages only – no other spa treatments – and trains therapists to customize the service to the style and intensity of their client’s choice.
Pro Tip: When a team member receives a great review on Yelp, share that positive feedback and use it to inspire your team. “We have a wall of fame in our office that has some of the great reviews that different therapists have received,” Sara said.
3. Create an environment that includes everyone
For Sara, running a business in New Orleans means her people have to be as diverse and dynamic as the city they live in. “It’s important for us to have a team that reflects the city we live in, whether it’s race, sexual orientation or religion,” she said. “We really create an inclusive environment for everyone, including customers, to feel comfortable.”
Customers pay attention to how your business fosters an inclusive environment. For example, learning that Nola Bliss is a safe space for women of color was a major draw for Swati.
“We need to support these minority-owned small businesses, whether they are [owned by] women or people of color or just minorities in another way,” Swati said. “A massage parlor like this, which is owned by a woman and caters to minorities – I was like, ‘You know what? They are thoughtful. They are conscientious. They are not only oblivious to the concerns of their other customers. So hopefully they will respect me.
It’s crucial to show that you take diversity and inclusion seriously, not only in the care you provide to clients, but also in the support you provide to your team. Consider how you model inclusivity as a leader, from employee policies to your marketing.
“We’re down south and we do a lot of couples’ massages,” Sara said. “So we still sometimes get questions from gay and lesbian couples to make sure we are welcoming and to make sure everything is okay. And we really try to convey that it’s a welcoming and comfortable environment, and we see people from all walks of life, sexual orientations and genders.
Editorial by Emily Moon and Holly Hanchey
These lessons come from an episode of Behind the review, the weekly podcast from Yelp & Entrepreneur Media. Listen below to hear Sara and Swati, or visit the episode page for more, subscribe to the show and explore other episodes.
The above information is provided for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace professional advice and may not be appropriate for your situation. Unless otherwise stated, reference to third-party links, services, or products does not constitute endorsement by Yelp.