It's the day of a major family festival here in Austin, Texas, and I'm kicking myself for picking up this shift at the massage clinic. I've had a 50-percent cancellation rate today—no work, no pay—and I'm pretty sure the amount of money I spent on food and drink while waiting between clients has already surpassed the amount of money I will earn by end of day.
My fortune cookie says, "Adventure awaits you." Really, it's time to make a choice. Am I going to wallow or work—because there are still things to be done, even without a client on my table.
3 Things to Do During a Cancellation
There's always the laundry. While that is true, it's probably not going to make you feel much happier about your cancellation. Get it done between sessions because there are also several things you can do in a 30- to 45-minute period that will benefit the massage franchise, your business and your body—and will be more fun.
1. Follow-up calls. When you work for a massage franchise, you are blessed with a reception staff—one of the perks most of us miss out on in private practice. But there is no better customer service representative than the one who actually provides the service. If you work at a massage franchise, ask your clinic manager if she will let you contact a handful of your regular clients, especially the ones who have recently been in for an appointment or are up for renewal. Be sure to have their SOAP notes and an appointment calendar in front of you in case they want to discuss a pain-management issue and book an appointment.
2. Continue your education. No excuses. You can, at a minimum, pick up your smartphone and watch a handful of YouTube videos about new-to-you massage techniques, read an article about the latest pain-management research or follow the health and wellness news on CNN. With a little advanced planning, you can do better than that. The bottom line is, the more you know about your industry—even if it is not related to a practical massage technique—the better massage therapist you are. Clients are loyal to good massage therapists.
3. Practice what you preach. I know you, Miss or Mr. Massage Therapist. You tell your clients to drink water and stretch, but what are you doing? Grab a glass of water, and take a few minutes to stretch in your room. If there is another massage therapist free, ask for some help with assisted stretches. Remember, it is not outside your scope of practice to encourage clients to stretch on their own time. Stretching makes your job easier and often prolongs the effects of your good work for you and the client, respectively. And I bet if you're practicing what you preach, you'll be more convincing when encouraging your clients to practice self-care.
Cancellations happen anywhere massage is practiced. While "making the best of it" seems flippantly cliche—especially if half of your clients have cancelled in a day—having a few productive things to do is far better than blowing your income at the neighboring fast-food joint.
So when a cancellation happens, take it in stride and keep doing the good work you do.