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You know the old adage, “the customer is always right.” Even if your spa or massage client isn’t necessarily right, you want to be sure to resolve any issues that may end the relationship or damage it in such a way that there’s lingering resentment. Then too, unhappy clients talk. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, dissatisfied customers will tell between 9 -15 others about their experience. Around 13 percent of dissatisfied customers will tell over 20 people. Happy customers are less vocal about their experiences. Customers who get their issues resolved tell just between 4 – 5 others about the experience.

At times, however, it may be challenging to resolve a client’s issue. Maybe a client has overly optimistic expectations about the effects of therapeutic massage in eliminating lower back pain, without also making changes in their lifestyle. If the problem is lower back pain, your client may need to put time into exercise to strengthen muscles or change the ergonomic of their office environment to get the lasting results they seek.

In this case, you want to give your client something actionable to do and use empathy to get your message across. You can say things like, “I understand how much the pain is impacting you and I want to work with you so you’ll feel better again.” Review what the massage can achieve and then suggest muscle strengthening exercises to do at home in between sessions. Also find out the type of chair and computer desk they are using and suggest changes if necessary.

Other ways to resolve challenging client issues:

Ask what would be an acceptable solution: Your client may be venting out of frustration. Ask what would be an acceptable resolution to the problem. Propose some solutions and then work with your client to solve the problem. If there are potential challenges in implementing the solution, make sure your client understands them.

Provide referrals: Depending on the problem, you client may need help offered by another professional depending on the problem. If you partner with other professionals who offer complementary services – physical therapists; chiropractors; personal trainers and even mental health professionals -refer your client to them as appropriate.

Offer to do some research: If you are part of your client’s wellness team, then you should be prepared to spend some time researching answers to their problems. Let your client know that you take the issue seriously and you will spend some time to see if there is another solution to the problem.

It may not be easy to resolve a client’s problem, but your genuine concern about their welfare and willingness to explore options will go a long way to win the confidence and loyalty of clients.