Why So Many MT’s Take Credit Cards to Hold Appointments

I get this question a lot as a massage therapist I thought it might be a good opportunity for me to explain why so many massage therapist or spa’s require credit cards to “hold” appointments. This has been a long-standing practice in the industry for a number of reasons but the outrage over the long-standing policy is new and I want to clarify to help people understand what's going on here. Many customers assume that the reason for this policy is to charge customers without their consent. Many people also believe that this policy is meant to charge customers for services and products at their direction which does not allow them to have the opportunity to say no to an individual charge for service if they disagree with the management of the company. To put it plainly the perception tends to be that they are going to be putting all the cards on the table as a customer and not have any leverage when it comes to disagreements with members of management or therapist.

So let's talk about this in detail for to help people understand the true nature of the policy from case management perspective. If you were to order an airline ticket there are several different pricing mechanisms in place in order to calculate your price to be on a particular airline in a particular flight out of particular day for a particular period of time. The general public has come to except that they will need to pay to reserve their seat on the plane prior to boarding the plane and many people also understand the system to help control cost of tickets and people booking bands usually have a discussion over some of the tickets to go the same day. You want essence giving up control to the airline to decide when where and how to get you to your destination because that's what your contract with them states on the ticket. Many people have chosen to accept this and will happily pay the airlines in exchange for their services. If you don't show up for your flight you lose the cost of your ticket and they have the right to resell that ticket to someone else.

So let's like take a look at this from a management or therapist perspective. The therapist has open time which you would like to reserve of which they have to take up space within a spot for their own practice in order to see you. This is exactly the same as book an airline ticket there needs to be a crew available the plane to take you where you want to go at the time that everyone is available. If you do not show up for your flight you forfeit the cost of your ticket if you don't show up you don’t go and your out the cost of the ticket. Basically for a massage therapist who works privately they miss that time too but they are already there and don’t normally have someone there to “take your seat”. Unlike the airlines many of these who are willing to be upfront and customer service friendly might not charge you until the day of the appointment because many cancellation polices specify that you cannot cancel within 24 hours of your final time because it will be hard to refill that time and space. This is contrary to how the airlines operated in which you pay and you're going to go in the cancellation of your ticket will result in a penalty. Many spies a very policies on cancellations within 24 hours of your appointment and not showing up to your clinic without contacting them. I cannot tell you how many times I've heard customers complain to management that they are being treated unfairly that the true cost and expense called me and canceled the appointment because the service never happened is significantly lower than what is being charged. The simple answer is that if the company is willing to set aside time space and personnel for your appointment and you choose not to attend or cancel within 24 hours is very hard to recover those costs therefore company and the therapist lose income as a result. 

My policies at present time do changes customers a $20 fee if you call and cancel your appointment within 24 hours without some kind of an emergency or if you do not show up to your appointment and do not contact me. This is substantially reduced charge and gets paid on account which means that if you attempt to rebook another appointment and do not pay before the start of that service you will not be doing business with me any longer because it shows disrespect to my business and my time. I will tell the serving public that as a consumer I do understand the fear of losing control of your method of payment prior to the service beginning because being afraid of being charge for things you don't agree with. As a merchant I could tell you that credit card companies will not get involved in disagreements between customers and venders.

As a customer I've had disputes with merchants who have taken my credit card information and charged things to my account.There are legal means in order to handle such cases. Good customer service begins with treating people how you wish to be treated. I don't use contracts I use common sense, I hope people understand that though I may not take credit cards to book appointments upfront I will enforce my policies in order to make things fair between the merchant and the customer.

May I Help You

The idea of classic customer service still lives! Yes my friend’s it still exists out there in the marketplace available to the consuming public. Now that is not to say that business have not tried to offer customer service in some form or another to customers in recent times but what I am saying is that it has really changed into something I don’t call customer service. To put it metiforacly…what I see are companies walking on broken glass while carrying a hammer. I see companies who want every experience to be perfect in every way and give customers more ways then ever to rate them on their performance which has a direct action that has negative out comes for employees (walking on glass). The hammer comes in to play when we talk about policies and inflexibility due to corporate rules brought on by profit motives or legal concerns (the still doses of reality for customers). So you might ask what is missing there? Professionalism and trust. You cannot have a sales relationship without those two things and expect loyalty.

 Lets go back for a minute to I can give you some understanding of what I mean by customer service and see if my thoughts are similar to yours. Ladies and gentleman have you ever seen period peaces of people shopping in stores from the 1890’s through about 1940? Men would go to a barber for a cut and a shave and ladies would go to the hair stylist. You had a professional who knew you and wanted to take care of your needs. They were also the people who could really tell you the truth about what you needed. Come in and find another professional in me and I promise you will get the real customer service you should expect at a price that respects the level of skill and experience you deserve.

Legal Disclaimer: Due to the litigious nature of many people I am forced to issue this statement: Any information contained within blogs, websites, postings, or news articles are at best suggestions which I make to be open for interpretation that if you believe it may fit a concern or medical problem you may be having or suspect that you may have that you discuss it with your qualified healthcare practitioner including your physician. I do not take responsibility in any way for any content provided to you that you choose to act on without talking to a medical doctor or other qualified medical practitioner with legal standing of authority. You are free to act on any information from any source that you choose of which the consequences are your sole responsibility.