Podcast

Episode 355

May 18, 2021

YomassageⓇ co-founder Katherine Parker joins the podcast to talk about online scheduling and all its quirks and benefits.

Listen to "E355: Using Online Scheduling Effectively (with Katherine Parker)" on Spreaker.
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EPISODE 355

Discussion Topic

YomassageⓇ co-founder Katherine Parker joins the podcast to talk about online scheduling and all its quirks and benefits.

Learn more about YomassageⓇ at their website yomassage.com and join their Facebook community here.

SPECIAL OFFER HERE


Transcript: 

Sponsor message:

This episode is sponsored by Yomassage. Yomassage was founded on the belief that everyone deserves access to therapeutic touch. In order to make this happen, they created a modality in which clients can receive therapeutic touch in a small group setting. In addition to offering massage at an assessable rate, Yomassage classes appeal to more people because they are fully clothed and offered in a safe environment. The Yo in Yomassage is based on the principles of yoga, focus on the breath, and the yoga philosophy of looking within. The combination of touch, gentle stretch, and mindfulness, provide an avenue for relaxation and healing. Our Massage Business Blueprint listeners can get $50 off January through March, 2021 Yomassage signature, and Barefoot Yomassage certification trainings with code MBB@yomassage.com. Visit Yomassage.com to check out all the course offerings, and use code MBB for $50 off your massage signature and Barefoot certification trainings January through March, 2021.

Michael Reynolds:

Hey everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we help you attract more clients, make more money, and improve your quality of life. I'm Michael Reynolds.

Allissa Haines:

I'm Allissa Haines.

Michael Reynolds:

And we're your hosts. Welcome to another expert interview episode. We are thrilled to welcome back Katherine Parker from Yomassage. Hey Katherine, how are you?

Katherine Parker:

I'm well. So happy to be here.

Michael Reynolds:

Welcome back. Always fun to talk to you. So we are going to talk online scheduling today, specifically using online scheduling effectively. And I know you have a ton of information to share with us, a couple of special offers to share with our listers, action packed stuff related to online scheduling, which is a big topic because there's a lot of tools out there, and a lot of people are using online scheduling, especially people getting back to work and reopening and reconfiguring things. So I think it's a really timely topic and excited to dig in. So as always, let's start with a little bit about you. I know that you are one of the co-founders of Yomassage, and a lot of our audience is aware of Yomassage. Some have taken classes, some of your certification programs, but maybe for those who aren't as familiar with you and your background and Yomassage, tell us a bit more about you.

Katherine Parker:

So my name is Katherine. I'm the co-founder of Yomassage. Before Yomassage I actually had a yoga studio I'm in Portland, Oregon. And so I became familiar with scheduling there. I actually only used Mindbody at the yoga studio, but then whenever we started Yomassage, we didn't want to pay a hundred dollars plus a month for Mindbody. So we started experimenting with other scheduling softwares and we'll get into that later. But yeah, so if you guys don't know what Yomassage is, we train massage therapists and other wellness practitioners in our modality, which combines restorative yoga, mindfulness and massage therapy, and we can do this one-on-one, or in a small group setting.

Katherine Parker:

And we're not just a continuing education company, we really focus on creating a supportive community, and providing all the resources that you need to incorporate Yomassage into your practice. We're really focused right now on helping our therapists get back up and running after COVID. We're placing people in studios that are interested in offering Yomassage, we're helping them get their scheduling back up and running. We're running ads and PR. So we're really a supportive all encompassing community. It's not just you take our class and then bye, good luck. So yeah, that's about me.

Michael Reynolds:

Wonderful. Well, thanks for sharing. And like I said, we're always thrilled to have you and also Dr. Tiffany Ryan, your co-founder on our podcast, and you're friends of the show by now. So thanks so much for coming back. I appreciate it.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah. I'm excited.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. So now we're going to talk about online scheduling. We have some questions to dig into a bit, but before we do that, tell us about the two offers you have for our audience. You have one specific to an online scheduling tool that you have launched at Yomassage, and then another offer for people who may be interested in certification training through Yomassage. So tell us about that.

Katherine Parker:

So yes, we have a scheduling software that we just launched and we're offering anyone who wants to try it out, you don't have to be a Yomassage member, you don't have to have taken one of our trainings, you can just try it out for free for a week, and there'll be a link provided for that. And then we also have $75 off all of our certifications through this summer with the code MBB summer 75.

Michael Reynolds:

Awesome. And we're going to keep it simple since there's links to click and two things to worry about. So this is episode 355. So we will have all these links in the show notes for episode 355. So just go to our website, massagebusinessblueprint.com, look for episode 355, and that will lead you to all the links you need to find these offers.

Katherine Parker:

Great.

Michael Reynolds:

All right. Well, let's dig in. So tell us about online scheduling, how to use it effectively. What are some of the primary things that massage therapists should look for in online scheduling? Where would you like to start?

Katherine Parker:

I guess let's start with if people are using, or should you be using an online scheduling software? And I think before COVID our answer was only if you want to and, because a lot of our therapists would just not be comfortable with it. A lot of them weren't using online scheduling softwares, some of them were even just like text me to book an appointment, or call me, or writing it down in a notepad. And our advice to them was if you're not comfortable using an online scheduling software, don't stress yourself out with it, just do what makes you feel comfortable, and what makes you feel like makes your business run effectively. But I think since COVID that conversation has changed a little bit, I'm pretty sure almost every therapist that I know uses an online scheduling software now. Do you guys, have you experienced something similar with that?

Allissa Haines:

I have been talking to a lot of people as they reopened, and yeah, I've actually three different therapists that I know of, who never used online scheduling before, have asked about the specifics of different ones and integrating forms, and integrating treatment notes, and all of the things. So yeah, I think as people come back, they're starting to rethink what they want to make their business function more efficiently, and online scheduling is definitely one of those upgrades.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah. I think that it also allows for, you don't have to use paper forms if you don't want to, you don't have to take cash or money, do a transaction, that can all be done online. And so I think those are some of the things that are really appealing to using an online scheduling software. But some of the main things that I think are important is obviously making it super user friendly for you to be able to set things up easily. You're not talking to support once a week trying to get things scheduled, it's super user-friendly and easy for you to use. And then also you want it to be easy for your clients to use because you don't want them spending an hour trying to sign up for an appointment. So those are like that has to be included in the scheduling software. Have you heard anyone have any issues with stuff like that in their programs that they're using?

Allissa Haines:

Not specifically. I've definitely, I actually was thinking this to myself yesterday. I was driving home from work and I was like, yeah, I think I had a four client day and it was like, it was easy and I was driving home and I'm like, why is that so easy, I used to be exhausted at the end of a four client day? And then I realized that everything I do is automated. The time between clients, I gave myself more time to deal with cleaning and ventilation and stuff, but I've been booking my people out with standing appointments, which is so easy to do in a calendar that lets you do that. And everybody pays online, as soon as they get their 36 hour reminder email, they all pay online.

Allissa Haines:

And I finally got all of my notes and stuff streamlined, and I was literally thinking that last night after doing a five hours of massage, I was like, huh, my business is so much easier to run now because I finally have stuff automated, but it's a stumbling block. It's scary if you're not posy with the tech.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

And I think the pandemic has [crosstalk 00:09:21].

Katherine Parker:

And it takes time.

Michael Reynolds:

Oh, I'm sorry. Go ahead Katherine.

Katherine Parker:

I was just going to say it takes time to, a lot of these programs, there's a lot of different options for automation, but it's maybe not something that you, it might feel overwhelming to try to do every single thing right whenever you're setting it up, it might be something that comes with time that after you get used to it, maybe you start doing some more automated emails and then maybe you add a few more later.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. I think what's interesting is the pandemic, I think has pushed a lot of people into a comfort zone with technology that wasn't there before, suddenly everyone's forced to learn how to use Zoom, and technology, and digital things, and contactless payments. And the comfort zone, I think has gotten a little bit better for a lot of people that maybe just didn't really care that much about tech and digital business, and now it's just become more commonplace. I think that's helped a lot of people get into a comfort zone with using things like online scheduling. So, that's interesting to see.

Michael Reynolds:

So Katherine, I'm curious. So what are some of the, I don't want to say mistakes, because they're not really mistakes, but what are some of the missed opportunities that you see a lot of massage therapists experiencing when using online scheduling? Let's say someone who is going from nothing to using some sort of online scheduling tool, what are some, again, missed opportunities where maybe they didn't configure something to be as efficient as possible, or they left out a feature, or they didn't do something with it. What are some of those gaps you see where there's maybe time left on the table, or efficiency left on the table?

Katherine Parker:

Definitely intake forms and automatic email reminders. I think intake, well, at least for us, and then using the different scheduling softwares, it's really important to have customizable intake forms so that if you have one, at least for someone practicing Yomassage, you have a different intake form for Yomassage class than you do for a regular massage. And so it's important to be able to customize those, and it's important to be utilizing the intake forms so that you're not scrambling before the appointment. So for us, if we don't have someone fill out an intake form, and we have a five person class, and then we have five people, you're trying to get five people's intake forms that maybe didn't show up until five minutes before the class starts, that's not a really good situation for anyone to be in. It just stresses the therapist out.

Katherine Parker:

So making sure that you have people fill out the intake forms online. And then also if there's a program that requires them to answer the questions before they're even booking the class, so that you know for sure that if someone signed up for the class, they answered the questions that you needed them to answer, and you're not having to reach out to them before and call them and get the answers to your questions. So I think intake forms are something that really helps with efficiency and just relieving some stress.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. I'm glad you mentioned that because my massage therapist who I love, still has the intake forms as a PDF download on her website. And so I'm like, okay, I'll print it out. I'll fill it out. I'll bring it in. It's online, you can grab it online, which is great, but it's still a paper process. And it would be much easier to just book the appointment, or right there you get the intake form filled out, or maybe emails it to me and I can do it online. Whenever I have to fill out a paper form, I just get so ragey, I'm just like, ah, why can't I type this into the computer? So I'm so glad you mentioned that. Do you see a lot of massage therapists, maybe not knowing how to do online intake forms, or maybe you just don't feel it's appropriate, or the right thing to do, or secure, or what kinds of objections do you see with online intake forms?

Katherine Parker:

So I actually signed up for a Yomassage class the other day and they were using a system that I know allows them to do intake forms before you sign up, but it didn't require me to. So yeah, I think maybe people just don't know, or don't want to take the time to set it up, or maybe they don't know how to add the intake forms. But I think the majority of the softwares that massage therapists are using do allow for you to, I'm so sorry, my cats are going crazy [crosstalk 00:13:36].

Michael Reynolds:

That's okay. We're a family show. Kids and pets are always welcome here.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah. I think maybe just people don't know how, or they don't want to take the time to set it up, but really for most softwares, it's just a one-time setup thing, and then you should be able to select the intake form that you like, and add it to any classes, or it might even just automatically add to any other classes, or appointments that you sign up towards. So I would say definitely take the time to set that up even if it's going to take you 10, 20, 30 minutes.

Michael Reynolds:

And most tools do offer that, but let's say you're using a tool that doesn't, we've recommended Google Forms before, or similar tools. Do you recommend third parties like that?

Katherine Parker:

Yeah, we've definitely recommended Google Forms for a couple of reasons because some of our therapists work with other studios, and so they're not going to be using their own scheduling software because the studio is scheduling the class for them, and then they need the intake information. And so we'll say, why don't you create something on Google Forms and then have the studio send out a link to that Google Form, and then they can collect the information and the studio never has to see that and take information. I think that for Google Forms to be HIPAA compliant, you do have to be paying for the G Suite portion or [crosstalk 00:15:03].

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. The Google Workspace paid account.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah.

Katherine Parker:

Which I think is $6 a month, or something like that. But I think it's totally worth it. We use Google Forms all the time for tons of things, and definitely we've used it for intakes before whenever we needed to.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. Allissa and I run our whole business on Google, it tends to work very well. Yeah.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

So what about some of the other efficiencies you see that are gained through online scheduling? Obviously the intake forms is a big one. You said email and text reminders as well. What are some best practices you see when it comes to email reminders? Are you talking just one simple email the day before? Do you do multiple follow-ups? Do you think texting is also appropriate? What do you think works really well?

Katherine Parker:

For us, especially if we're doing a group class, the last thing we want is for someone to not show up, or show up late, and then just... If it's a one-on-one, it's different. If someone shows up late, it's on them, they know that the massage is ending at the time that's on the calendar. If someone doesn't show up, it's not as big of a deal I think if it's one-on-one, but if it's a group session and someone shows up late, they're disrupting the whole class. If someone doesn't show up, potentially you had a wait list, that's a spot you could have filled in the class, or someone could have brought a friend, or something like that. So for us, the reminders are really just to make sure that people know that it's really important that you show up on time, giving them all the information that they need to get there and just making sure that you've done everything that you can to make sure that the class is going to run smoothly.

Katherine Parker:

And if you send out some reminder emails that just remind people to please get here at this time, here's where you can park, this is why it's important to show up on time. I would set up one reminder right whenever they book. So if they're booking two weeks in advance, or a month in advance, or two days in advance, they get all the information that you want them to have. I would keep it concise too, because I've booked massages and they've sent me a whole email, like during COVID, I booked a massage and I got an email multiple paragraphs long, and I'm like, I am not reading all of this, there's no way. And so making sure that it's really concise and you just have the points that you want to get across, maybe it's about the intake. Maybe it's about what time they should show up, where you can park, all of that stuff. And then I would maybe send another reminder probably three days before, and then one day before, something like that [crosstalk 00:17:59].

Michael Reynolds:

What about texting?

Katherine Parker:

... making sure.

Michael Reynolds:

I know these days a lot of people just don't pay attention to their email. It baffles me how people function like that, but they just don't pay attention. They just don't look at their email, or their inbox has ten thousand unread messages, and it gets lost. Do you like to use text reminders as well?

Katherine Parker:

I do. I love text reminders. I always do. I always sign up for text reminders for any appointment that I book, and yeah, I think text reminders are awesome if it's included in your system. And I would do the same thing.

Michael Reynolds:

Digging deeper on that though. So you mentioned you subscribe, meaning the client would subscribe. So let's say you're a massage therapist with online scheduling. Do you think it's a best practice to invite the client to put their phone number in there, and then automatically just text them reminders without them having to opt-in?

Katherine Parker:

I think that it's, yes if your system allows it, for example, I'm not sure if our system has the option for people to say if they want text, or email, whenever we're setting up an appointment we can say if we want to send them an email, or a text reminder. So I'm not sure if all of them give the option for people to select which one they want, but yeah, I think that would be ideal obviously for people to be able to say, would I prefer an email reminder, or a text message reminder, so that they're going to get the one that's going to be most useful to them.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. I know many systems do allow that, they say, maybe they ask permission also when someone's filling out the form, can we text you a reminder? So I think that can be really useful, because so many people just don't look at their email.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

More and more I'm seeing that, you email someone, they just don't get it, or see it. So I think texting is the way to really reach people a lot of times.

Katherine Parker:

Especially for stuff like this, it's like, yeah, you booked an appointment, you always get an email reminder. You might not open it, or you might just ignore it. So yeah, I think that it's good to have a text message reminder too.

Michael Reynolds:

Allissa, what are some of the things that you see our members asking about in the community when it comes to online scheduling? We get questions bubble up a lot of times about best practices, or should I do this, or that. What are some of the questions you see a lot?

Allissa Haines:

HIPAA compliance, one, do massage therapists need to be HIPAA compliant? And two, is any particular scheduling system, and all of the alerts, and all of the forms, and all of that stuff, does that meet the criteria for HIPAA compliance? Is there a phone tech support, or just email support? Who's the credit card processor? What are the fees? Some things related to all that. Have you hit on any of those, Katherine, have you dived into HIPAA compliance?

Katherine Parker:

Yes. So for our software that we're using, the reason that we created this is because it was the number one question that we were getting in all of our trainings was, what scheduling software do you use? What should I use? Because if they were using scheduling, a lot of the scheduling softwares at the time for massage didn't allow for group sessions, and some of them might not still, I'm not actually sure, but yeah. So group sessions was really important. And then also just because of what we talked about, a lot of our people weren't using any online softwares at the time. And because of the group setting, they felt like, okay, maybe this is something that I would prefer to use a scheduling software for instead of just writing appointments down and stuff like that. So, that was really important to us.

Katherine Parker:

We started investigating into some options for them. We were using scheduling softwares to book our trainings at the time. Now we use a different system that's just incorporated into our website, but we were trying out different scheduling softwares for sign ups for our training, and just learned a lot about what they included and what they didn't. As far as HIPAA compliant, that was something that was really important to us. And we are licensing a software with another company, and they are an international company, so they are HIPAA compliant, as well as whatever some of the other countries need.

Michael Reynolds:

GDPR?

Katherine Parker:

Yes. That one. And then I think there was another one too, that I was like, I'm not really sure what those are, but that's awesome that it is that. And I know some of the softwares that we were talking to, they charge extra for it to be HIPAA compliant. And that's weird. So yeah, this one doesn't charge extra, it's just included in the software. And then payment processing, that one's important too. Usually I think they sync with another payment processor, and that's how ours works. You can connect it with either Stripe or Square, and then you could also connect it with PayPal. So you have to pick between if you want to use Stripe or Square for your main payment processor, but then you could also add PayPal. And I think they're going to add Venmo soon for that.

Michael Reynolds:

So I'm glad you mentioned payments because in our community we see this chatter quite a bit about, Hey, when do I take payments? And some people say, well, I take payments as soon as they book, and I charge the card right then. Some people say I don't charge the card, but I charge when they come in. And they're various schedules on payments. So what do you see as a best practice when it comes to taking payment? Do you think charge the card as soon as they book? Do you say charge the card when they actually come in and just hold it on file, not take payment at all and just do some physical payment onsite? What do you see as the best practice?

Katherine Parker:

I think the best practice is to take the payment right then, because depending on what your refund policy, or cancellation policy, maybe you need to align it with that, but for a Yomassage class, you have a certain amount of spots that you want to fill. You don't want someone to not show up and not pay, and take the spot of another person that could have come to the class and paid for it. You also don't want, a lot of times you might have a wait list and you could have had someone coming off of that wait list. I think it's just really important to have every spot paid for so that you're not stressing about if someone's going to show up or not, because if they don't show up, then it's still paid for, and you don't lose out on that revenue. Yeah. I just think that if someone's signing up for an appointment, they're signing up for your time and that should be paid for.

Michael Reynolds:

So you think that's true for an individual massage therapist doing a one-on-one massage as well?

Katherine Parker:

I think it's true. I think depending on your practice and what your cancellation policy is, if you know that at any point if someone were to cancel, you can fill that spot, then maybe you don't collect payment right then, but if you would be worried about someone canceling, and then now you can't fill that spot, and now you don't have that income for that hour, I think that it's important to collect the payment upfront. I think the only reason not to, it may be for the tipping purposes. We don't do tips at Yomassage. So that's why it's okay, all of the payment is done beforehand and we're not processing anything after, but if you are hoping for, or you do collect tips, then maybe you would want to do the payment after so that they can add the tip. And if you're not doing that, then maybe they wouldn't. So that's, I don't know, I guess that's the only reason I could think of.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, some systems let you do the tip in advance as well. When I book my massage, I love the fact that I can pay for the massage right there. And it can say, would you like to add a tip down? I just say, yeah, I'll go and have the tip now because I choose to do that. And it's all just done. So when I get the massage, there's no wallet coming out. There's no card coming out. It's just like, Hey, great, awesome. See you next month. No transactional stuff happens at all. It's so smooth. And so I love being able to just pay on the spot, tip on the spot when I book it, it's all done. All I have to do is show up and enjoy the massage. I can forget my wallet if I just go and enjoy it. So I really like that.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah. It's easier for the customer and it's easy for you because you don't have to worry about pulling out the card reader and everything afterwards. And, yeah, just like Allissa said, it's just much more smooth than automated.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah.

Katherine Parker:

But yeah, what did you guys think about collecting payment before, and what do you suggest to people?

Allissa Haines:

I'm a little bit of an outlier, but it's because I've had, the bulk of my clients are just long time clients. So I allow payment upon booking, but I do not require it, and I don't have a required deposit. People do not have to put in any kind of credit card info to schedule the appointment. They can choose to pay right then, or they can wait, and there's a pay for appointment button in the 36 hour reminder email. And I have, since I've returned, not post-pandemic, but mid-pandemic. I have requested that everybody pay through that link so I'm not dealing with payment at the office. I have one or two people who can't handle that, but my software also allows me to save their credit card information from appointment to appointment. So I just do that, and then I hit the button. I always say like, oh, we're using your Visa that ends in blah, blah, blah. And they say, yes, then I hit the button and I pay for it.

Allissa Haines:

But I'm a little bit of an outlier. And if I have the problem of no shows, and I should say if, and when, I am sure it'll happen, I expect that I'm going to have to take some new patients to fill my schedule. Give me in a couple more months to see if a few more stragglers that I haven't seen since before the shutdowns, waiting to see if they come back. And if not, I'm going to take some new patients in order to fill my schedule. At that point, I might start at least collecting credit card information so I can charge a fee if they no show, but it's tough because I have a lot of people who are getting a lot stricter with their cancellation and no-show policy. Whereas I have actually become more lenient with my cancellation policy because I don't want people coming in when they have the sniffles, and I don't want them to feel like they have to pay for an appointment even if they don't go because they have the sniffles.

Allissa Haines:

So it's such an individual decision, and you've got to make it knowing your client base, and knowing the kind of business you have. If I was in a touristy area, or I was somewhere where I had lots of clients just coming through, lots of first-time clients who might be in the area, and then leaving the area, if it was a transient thing like that, I would absolutely require full payment, but I don't, because I'm a little bit old fashioned.

Michael Reynolds:

I think there's no one size fits all. I think it depends on your practice. I tend to agree, Katherine, that, to me, it makes a lot of sense to take payment upfront for many people, but like Allissa said, it depends on how your practice is structured and your clientele. So I think as long as you do what works for you and you're comfortable with it, and it protects you, and creates the right boundaries, then I think it makes a lot of sense to adapt it. And speaking of boundaries, I'm going to ask you about boundaries as well here. How does online scheduling help you achieve and support boundaries? I know a lot of people they struggle, in business in general, a lot of us struggle with boundaries, clients asking for appointments outside normal schedule, or last minute things, or pushing boundaries on your personal life. How does online scheduling help you enforce those boundaries?

Katherine Parker:

Well, I think exactly what you said, the first way is giving them your schedule and this is it, it's not... And we don't really have that problem with Yomassage because it's like, these are the class times that we have Yomassage for the most part. Some people will allow people to request Yomassage sessions at any time they want, but yeah, it just makes your life a little bit more organized and feel less stressful, I would hope, to be able to have your calendar and then just send it to someone, and then they book whenever you're available. If you have a vacation, you're blocked off that week, and there's not really any stress in the trying to schedule. And it's just so annoying to have to send five different dates, and then they're like, oh no, these don't work.

Katherine Parker:

So that helps in that way, but also the another way I think is, I've noticed a lot of times I'll call a business, or call to book a massage, or call to even order food, and their message just says something like, we don't answer calls here, but if you want to book, go to our website and sign up. And so it's like that. If you want to do that, I'm not necessarily suggesting you do that, but it is an option to not have to answer the phone, or check your voicemails, and then worry about booking. You just say on your voicemail, or online, go to this website, or this link, and that's how you book. So that's an option too for putting boundaries on what you will do in your business.

Michael Reynolds:

Yeah. I see a lot of massage, I think Allissa said this before as well, that if someone sends you a text, or an email, or a call, or something, your default response is great, I'd love to schedule you. Here's a link to my scheduler.

Katherine Parker:

Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

It's just a simple, easy thing. No thinking about it. It's like, boom, here you go. You want to schedule with me? There it is.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

And it's tough to do that sometimes. Right? We want to be pleasers to people. Yeah. I want to get you in for a massage. Oh, I'm sorry. You're in pain. I'm sorry you need a massage. Yeah. Let's turn my life upside down for you. And if you make the decision in advance that this is how you schedule, and your tool is that nice boundary you put there to say, Hey, this is how it is, my policy, that can make life a lot easier and relieve you of the anguish of, oh, what do I do when this person wants a last minute appointment on this day I'm off? And so that can be really effective.

Katherine Parker:

And I think that brings up a good point which I see when talking about scheduling and changing anything in your business is, it can be really hard, especially a lot of therapists have clients that they've had for years and years and years. And changing something like this in your practice is a big thing, especially updating your policies and you're just trying to make your life easier, you're trying to make your business run smoother. You're trying to help yourself do a better job, and delivering massages, and helping people feel better. These are some things that you might need to implement in order to make everything run smoother and just provide a better service for your clients.

Katherine Parker:

So how do you change these policies with trying to mitigate as much backlash, I guess, from clients, which I think a lot of times people are scared about something that they don't necessarily know it's going to happen, or probably won't happen. And every time we launch something new with Yomassage, I think we're always scared, what if people hate it? Or what if people are mad about this, or blah, blah, blah? And nine times out of 10, no one cares, and it's never a big deal. So yeah, I don't know. Do you guys have any advice for that, for changing something this big in your business?

Allissa Haines:

So my approach and my guidance for people on things like this, especially price increases, where it feels big to us, because we have to tell 50 to 100 clients that our price is going up. Right? So it feels big. It's all of these things we have to do, and all of these people we have to tell, but to the client, it's just one little change in one of the businesses they interact with every day.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Allissa Haines:

It's big to us because it's our life. It's not big to them, because it's just a thing, and maybe it's a minor annoyance to learn a new scheduling system, or maybe it's a minor annoyance to have my massage cost $10 more now. But it's a little thing that people get over. I think we're at the point now where most consumers recognize that every marketplace is evolving, and every service is evolving. And I think especially now after the last year, people have a little bit more sympathy and empathy for how hard it is to be a small business owner, and especially an in-person service provider like we are. So hopefully we can play on that sympathy for a couple more years.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah. Yeah. I think that's a really good point. Also changing softwares is almost impossible sometimes. If you are using a scheduling software and wanting to change to something else. And so, yeah, I think if anyone is wanting to change, or try out the Yomassage one, we definitely want to help in any way that we can, even getting on the phone with you and helping you transfer all of your clients over, and all of that. But I know that it can be, if you have your clients somewhere, and it's not working for you, it can be a big barrier to try to switch to another system, even if it would benefit you more. So I know that part's hard too.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, but I would say don't let the pain of switching keep you from doing it if it's the right move.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

I've seen so many business owners in general, not just massage therapists, that are using software they've used for five years, and they hate it. And they're like, well, it's just a pain to change, or the same thing with, oh, their bank, or some of their service partner they have, or their accountant, or whatever. We've had this conversation over and over, like, oh, it's a pain to change. You know what? You can have five more years of low-level pain, or you could have like, rip the bandaid off now and have a little more pain now and then be happier.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

Don't let the pain of change keep you from leveling up something in your business that needs to be changed.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah.

Michael Reynolds:

Well, I know we're almost out of time. So before we wrap up with a reminder on the offers you have for our listeners, what else would you like to share with our community about online scheduling? Is there anything we haven't touched on?Allissa, anything you would like to ask that we would make a good discussion point? What have we missed, if anything, that would be good advice for our listeners who are interested in getting more out of their online scheduling system?

Allissa Haines:

I think what you said, the pain of change, and there's something I heard in our massage class 15 years ago, we remain the same until the pain of remaining the same is worse than the pain of change. Right? So something's got to get so bad that you want to change it. And that's a normal human tendency, but maybe we can evolve a little bit past that where we remain the same until we realize that there's another option. And that can be helpful in every aspect of our business, not just scheduling, but I think we covered salient points of online scheduling.

Katherine Parker:

Yeah, I think that's a great note to end on.

Michael Reynolds:

Awesome. Well, thanks, Katherine. Really useful stuff. I love digging into the practical applications, the advice on little tweaks we can make to become more efficient from the way that reminders are set up, to HIPAA compliance, to payment systems, boundaries, something in there for everybody I think to improve how they do things probably. So thank you for that. So let's do one more reminder about the offers you have for our listeners. Can you recap what you're offering?

Katherine Parker:

Yes. So we have one week free of trying out the Yomassage scheduling software, and $75 off all of our Yomassage certifications through August with the code MBB summer 75, and that includes Yomassage certification, Table Yomassage certification, Barefoot Yomassage certification, and Mindful Touch by Yomassage certification.

Michael Reynolds:

Wonderful. Thank you. And as a reminder, this is episode 355. So all of these links will be in the show notes. If you forget all that, just go to the website, massagebusinessblueprint.com. Look for episode 355, and the show notes will have the links to all those things there. So, all right. Katherine, thank you so much. Always a pleasure having you and Dr. Ryan on the show with us. I know you'll both be back in the future episodes I'm sure. And we look forward to talking more then, but thanks so much for your time today and for sharing your knowledge about online scheduling. We appreciate it.

Katherine Parker:

Thank you so much. And also congratulations on six years. That's amazing.

Michael Reynolds:

Thanks.

Allissa Haines:

Thank you.

Michael Reynolds:

And it's my birthday month. Yeah. So with that, we will wrap up there saying, thanks everyone for joining us today. We appreciate you being with us as always. You can find us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. You can also email us at massage, Oh, I'm sorry at podcast@massagebusinessblueprint.com. And thanks for joining us today. Have a great day. We'll see you next time.

Allissa Haines:

Bye.


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