I just received a massage here in San Diego from a woman named Derith Mason. I've seen her a few times before and really like her style. There are three elements of her business strategy I'd like to share.
She's in an old Victorian house with a number of other wellness practitioners. It's a nice, somewhat funky, space. As a one-woman business, she does not have the resources to provide a lot of the frills you might find in a high-end spa. But she is intuitively doing everything right.
Besides a warm greeting and a great massage, she completes the massage with a hot towel foot rub. When I asked her about it, she said started doing it because she herself didn't like putting on her shoes after a massage with oily feet, and a number of clients would come in and comment on their feet being "gross." So, she looked around and found a towel warmer through a barber supply company, which was much cheaper than those available through a massage therapy supply (solving the problem in an affordable way).
Next, you get a bottle of water as you leave. Massage is supposed to release a lot of toxins that need to get flushed out. She is the first massage therapist I've seen to follow through with the recommendation to "drink lots of water today" with an actual take-away. (Bottled water is very inexpensive in bulk, but I think about her all day while drinking it.)
Yesterday, she commented that she had missed my birthday in June. It surprised me that she had even made a note of it. She then told me she gives a $20 discount in your birthday month. What a nice, unexpected surprise! It's another reason I'll be going back, and taking more of her cards to pass along to friends. Offering random or unexpected discounts is very effective in creating customer loyalty.
Tip of the day: Even small businesses can put all the pieces together right to create a great customer experience. It doesn't take a fortune, just some thought.
Update on 8/07/06: Derith works at the Healing Point on First Avenue in San Diego. You can email her at derith [AT] cox.net for an appointment.