There was a time when an unhappy client went away never to return and at worse just shared their dissatisfaction with some friends and family. But now thanks to social media things have changed. Unhappy clients don’t just go away; many of them get online to sites like Yelp and Amazon and broadcast their disapproval as far and wide as possible; and it can seriously hurt your spa or massage practice. A survey conducted by BrightLocal in 2014 found that 88 percent of consumers read online reviews to determine the quality of a local business and that 39 percent read reviews on a regular basis.

Today, the power of social media and in particular online reviews means that every one of your clients plays a role in marketing your spa or massage practice. Considering the importance of word-of-mouth marketing to your business (Verizon and Small Business Trends conducted a survey of Philadelphia small business owners. In answer to the question “how do your customers find out about your business,” 85 percent of respondents replied “word of mouth.”), you want to be sure your clients leave very satisfied after a massage or skin care treatment and sing your praises on and off line.

Monitor your online reviews

It takes some work to monitor online reviews but it is well worth it. Start by checking top review sites to find all that are relevant to your business and be sure that information about your spa or massage practice is up to date. When you find a review, whether positive or negative, respond. By doing so, you let your clients and prospects know that you care what they are saying. However, never get defensive if a review is negative. If something is inaccurate, very respectfully set the writer straight. If the negative information is true, let the writer know that you appreciate their candor, apologize and describe how you plan to repair the situation.

You also want to be part of the online conversation on social channels – Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, even LinkedIn. By being active on social networking sites, you show that you are accessible and want to “have a conversation.” Keep clients and prospects up to date about your new treatments, at-home products and news about your company such as new hires, expansion, and partnerships.

Get clients on your side

Don’t even wait for clients to start finding fault with your spa or massage practice services and products. Here are just a few ways to get clients to become fans:

Ask Clients for Input

Ask your clients for input on ways you could improve service or make things more convenient for them to do business with your spa or massage practice.

Fix Problems head on

If something happens – you run late and a client needs to wait or they seem dissatisfied with a treatment but don’t say anything – address the issue. Then let clients know how you plan to fix things going forward.

Go Above and Beyond

It pays to go above and beyond for clients – whether it’s accommodating their schedule, exploring treatments for special problems they have or providing them with recommendations for diet or exercise that would help a condition they have.

Make it personal

Drop clients a note from time to time letting them know about a new product you are carrying you think they would like or a treatment you’ve just added to your menu. Give them a special discount to try it out. Also remember them on special days like birthdays and anniversaries. If they mentioned they are having a problem, ask them about it next time you see them. Let clients know they are important to you.

There always will be someone who isn’t satisfied and will go to the Internet to vent. But by staying engaged online and conveying that your client’s satisfaction is your number one priority, you won’t have a lot of rants to worry about and can bask in the raves.