Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

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Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby sunsetwaves on Fri Sep 23, 2011 8:14 am

Hi everyone. After reading this board for sometime, I've decided to register and ask opinions for fellow MT's, as well as start responding to several posts myself. I am a licensed Massage Therapist in New York. I live outside of the city in an area that is not saturated with inappropriate asian parlors (thank goodness). I have my own office in a professional building. Today, a gentleman drove 45 min in the rain (from a town that has those type of inappropriate asian parlors), looking for something other than a professional massage. I discovered this after I reviewed my disclaimer with him before the session. My usual routine is to review the medical intake form, then review a disclaimer with them that indicates that I only provide professional non sexual massage, and that the massage is ended immediately if the client suggests or does anything inappropriate. After I drove in the rain myself to meet him (I only go in my office when there's a scheduled client), he friekin leaves after I read him that disclaimer. He said that he likes to get his "ending" after his massage, and that he's used to "massage therapy" places that do that to him. I asked him if these "massage therapy" places are asian places. He said yes. So I told him that I am a professional, and that I never advertised, nor discussed with him over the phone that I would offer anything more than a massage. So he left. This has happened once before. What frustrates me is that I spend the gas and the time to drive to my office, set it up, only to have my time wasted as well when I never even advertised that I offer this sexual crap! Should I not even review the non sexual disclaimer with them, just review the medical intake, take the money upfront, and proceed with the massage? And if they ask for something inappropriate, just tell them no? This way, at least I can get the money for the session and for the massage? I am tired of wasting my time! This is a new business and I am frustrated!
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Timedess on Fri Sep 23, 2011 10:54 am

Hello, sunsetwaves, and welcome to BWOL. I'd like to encourage you to go on over to the Introductions and Birthdays thread and introduce yourself.

AFA the client wishing for "something more", there are, sadly, those folks out there. I do not think you should NOT go over your disclaimer-- it sets the proper professional tone, and probably helped keep you from finding out "just what sort of massage he wanted" in a more vulnerable setting (in the closed, dim room where you were standing closer to him).

Our state requires that we put language indicating that we do not provide sexual services on our intake forms, and our new clients actually read that-- just this morning, we had yet another new client giggle when she read it. Being a husband/wife MT team who own our own little office, our clients tend to think it hilarious that we'd even bring it up, but State requirements are State requirements. It does seem to help "weed out" sketchy requests. We also have very specific language to that effect on our web site, to help prevent web searchers looking for that stuff from wasting our time with even a phone call to that effect (I will never forget the guy who called looking for "a little something more". The office phone was forwarded to Hubby's cell phone at the moment, and at first he didn't realize what the guy was asking when he asked for "a female massage". His reply? "No, my wife is not available, but I can get you in at such and such time." The guy kept pressing him, and finally he realized what was going on, and he emphasized the "MY WIFE" part and hung up on him. That's when we put the statements up on our web site. Haven't had a call like that since....)

May I ask, how much screening do you do when answering calls/booking appointments? Do you state very clearly what kinds of massages you DO do, emphasizing that "This is what I do", and leaving little room for ... "misinterpretations"? Do you go over your policies, in a very professional manner, over the phone with them, before taking the appointment? I have been known to "do a quick run-through of our policies", including our no-show and non-sexual services policies, when booking appointments before. If you have a web site, do you have a clear statement to this effect, as well?

You *might* want to consider "holding" the appointment spot with a credit card when booking it. The client can choose to use a different form of payment upon arrival, but at least then you'd have the ability to charge the guy for the time he wasted. Even if you'd never actually run the card, the person would know that you meant business when making the appointment, and that alone might help scare such types away (knowing that you'd have the capability of charging them for the appointment, if they acted out of line). I don't know about charging if they actually do show up and then leave w/o getting the massage, if they don't "do bad stuff on the table". You'd have to talk with your attorney/mentor/conscience about that-- we've never had that happen.

Anyway, I'm sorry that happened, but I do think it's better to have wasted the drive time/gas (even in the rain-- oh, how I wish you could send some of that here to Texas!), and found out that's what he wanted before the massage, than to have found out in the middle or end of the session, when he might have gotten much more upset about not getting "his cookies" and maybe done something more than just wasting your time.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Taoist on Fri Sep 23, 2011 12:05 pm

I agree with Timedess in a cancellation policy for x-amount of hours and maybe some phone screening. You can even just state that part of the policy when they book instead of after they come in.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby AngelaJudy on Fri Sep 23, 2011 2:44 pm

I always ask people for their first and last name over the phone, as well as their phone number. This let's them know that I am taking record of their info. I've had someone hang up on me as soon as I asked their last name. I also ask their reason for seeking massage, which usually leads them into talking about some pain they have or just saying they want to relax. If they are looking for something more or it will likely throw them off. Listen for hesitation or stuttering after asking this. And then just to be sure, I like to ask them if they have any further questions, which may lead someone looking for more to take as a hint to inquire about what they really want. Hope this helps!
Last edited by AngelaJudy on Sat Sep 24, 2011 5:00 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby riversinger on Fri Sep 23, 2011 7:32 pm

Phone screening is absolutely crucial to weeding out problems before they start. With any new client calling in you could begin by thanking them for calling for an appt., ask for their full name & number, then proceed to let them know that while you have a few openings in your schedule that you specialize in xyz modalities, and or what professional services you provide: Swedish, Deep Tissue, Reflexology, Facials & other spa type treatments, etc.

Ask them how they found your business name, their purpose for calling for an appointment & or what they are hoping to accomplish from the session along with some specifics as to the problems they may hope to resolve.

Again, as others have said - any hesitation can be a red flag, as can someone saying they want only light - feathery touch, have low back/hip/glutes that need work can sometimes be another one - but not always - as many if not most people do need those areas worked. Men looking for same day appointments are another issue - as it's the "I want it now" - and may or may not be a red flag.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby AngelaJudy on Sat Sep 24, 2011 4:58 am

have low back/hip/glutes that need work can sometimes be another one - but not always - as many if not most people do need those areas worked.


I am one of those people. :mrgreen:

riversinger wrote: Men looking for same day appointments are another issue - as it's the "I want it now" - and may or may not be a red flag.


Yes, I have had many that call and once they realize how professional and legitimate I am they say, "Let me check my schedule and see what time I can do." and they never call back. Wouldn't they know what times they are available before they call?

Ask as many questions as possible. The more you ask, the more nervous they may get if they are looking for something more.

Oh, and also like to ask if the number on the "caller ID" is the best number to reach them. This show's that I have record of their number and time/date they called (just in case I need to report them.)
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby RelaxandRejuvenate on Sat Sep 24, 2011 8:32 am

Can we refrain from referring to "asian places" -- like every Asian engaged in bodywork is a jerk=-off artist...please!
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby shelbitos88 on Sat Sep 24, 2011 9:59 am

Maybe a gentle and professional way of weeding out seeker's of inappropriate massage would be to do a mini consultation over the phone. Start by explaining what kind of massage you provide, and ask them what type of service they were looking for. You might be able to get a feel for creeps, as well as, if they will be a repeat client, if they are looking for some deep work and a tx plan, or if they just want to be fluffed. That could be helpful in how you schedule your clients also. If they want to be fluffed, you do not need to do postural assessment, and plan out HW, and map out a tx plan. It will save you time and energy. If they were looking for some profound work, and are open to getting the most out of their session(s), you can ask them about their aches and pains, and before they even walk in the door you might have some idea of how you will be working... Don't know if that's helpful. Also, if you have a website, you could get them to "register as a client" before they are able to book an appointment. Or you could get their e-mail over the phone, and ask them to fill them out and e-mail back to you, before you schedule an appointment. Creeps will see the disclosure before they come in and will not make an appointment.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby pueppi on Sat Sep 24, 2011 1:17 pm

riversinger wrote:Phone screening is absolutely crucial to weeding out problems before they start.

<snip>

Ask them how they found your business name, their purpose for calling for an appointment & or what they are hoping to accomplish from the session along with some specifics as to the problems they may hope to resolve.


I ask this of all the individuals who call me. It is very important weeding info. Also, "Who referred you to our practice?" is a good one.

I also agree that not all Asian Spas have questionable services. Possibly you have a number in your region that are offering adult entertainment and are only "asian", but for the purposes of our forum (especially since we have bodyworkers from all over the world)... Questionable Adult Entertainment Massage Locale...might be a better way to establish the type of place you are referring to. :P


sunsetwaves wrote:After I drove in the rain myself to meet him (I only go in my office when there's a scheduled client), he friekin leaves after I read him that disclaimer. He said that he likes to get his "ending" after his massage, and that he's used to "massage therapy" places that do that to him. I asked him if these "massage therapy" places are asian places. He said yes. So I told him that I am a professional, and that I never advertised, nor discussed with him over the phone that I would offer anything more than a massage. So he left.


I think in this particular case, you would be happy he left before you started the massage. Better sooner than later!

But, if you have had this happen previously, I think it's a good chance to go back over your phone screening methods and re-read your website (or provide it for some of our members to check out, if you think that would be helpful). I would also consider that any time this happens in the future, not discussing where a person is seeking their "endings", but flat out stating you don't offer those services, and sending the person on their way. This allows you to feel empowered about the situation.

And, welcome to the forums! We all hope you will post often! :)
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Wed Sep 28, 2011 3:38 pm

There are several websites out there that, unfortunately, are 'grading' places for massage-places-that-aren't-really-massage-places. They have their own slang and abbreviations and they ALL ask each other about 'AMPs' - Asian Massage Parlors. It's a major code for brothel, in the world of men who seek out those places. There's a whole world of websites reviews and ratings for AMPs. Google 'AMP massage'. You'll get a lot of sites.

Around here, in the past 2 years, there has been at least one and often two or more of those places open up around here. I've found ratings for them online and they mention the girls by name, rating them as well. It has been brought to the attention of the board, the governor and law enforcement (yeah, like THEY didn't know) what is going on in these places. Basically, human trafficking. They even advertise themselves on backpage.com as AMPs. I would seriously hate to be a legitimate Asian female MT trying to build a practice.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby EgoMagickian on Thu Oct 06, 2011 3:53 pm

How are these people finding you and setting up appointments? Does your website state clearly that you do not offer erotic work?
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby riversinger on Thu Oct 06, 2011 4:57 pm

You may want to review all of your professional advertising materials & your site to be sure that everything about it speaks to being completely legit. Granted even that won't necessarily weed out certain types of clients - but it should make a huge difference. If you have a photo of yourself up on your site or in your materials be sure that you look completely professional as well. Good luck!
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby pueppi on Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:34 am

Looks like the OP left us. Strange. I don't see that anyone said anything unruly... :smt017
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Pete on Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:48 am

pueppi wrote:Looks like the OP left us. Strange. I don't see that anyone said anything unruly... :smt017


We are looking into this.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby sunsetwaves on Fri Oct 07, 2011 12:19 pm

Thank you to everyone who has responded to my post. Unfortunately, I couldn’t respond sooner because my account was deleted by mistake by the site. The Board Administrators were kind enough to look into this after I emailed them. I just re-registered so I can respond to the replies.

To Timedess,
I appreciate the detailed and helpful initial response. I will consider “holding” the appointments with credit cards, but not charge it unless they no show, and will get their verbal authorization to do this before booking the appointments. I will especially do this for appointments between 7pm and 9pm (I don’t work after 9pm), and weekend appointments. I haven’t done much screening except taking their first name, last name, phone number, give office address, and ask to call to cancel if they can’t make their appointment. I will need to start briefly reviewing policies, especially no show or non sexual policies. I am in the process of working on my website at the moment. I will make that clear on the website. Thanks again Timedess.

To Taoist - Thank you for responding, and I will start stating my policy on the phone instead of after client arrival.

To AngelaJudy – I will surely ask what’s their reason is for calling for massage, and listen for hesitation. Love that approach to listen for that red flag.

To riversinger – I completely agree with those that want “light feathery touch” as being a red flag. I certainly will follow your suggestions. Great advice. Also, yes, I have a professional photo on my business card and flyers. Actually, its just a face photo of me smiling from the neck up.

To AngelaJudy - I like the idea of confirming their phone number as a record of the call, and agree that a lot of them do say “let me check my schedule” , and never call back. This has happened to me when I state that I only do draped massages when they ask me if I drape during the massage. It’s annoying to keep answering calls like that, when those types of guys are looking for a nude massage.

To RelaxandRejuvenate – I wholeheartedly apologize for using “Asian places”, and didn’t mean to offend anyone. I agree that I shouldn’t have used that, and agree that there are 100% legitimate massage therapy locations, of all races, including Asian.

To shelbitos88 – I like your advice, especially asking for their email so I can email them my medical intake form which clearly shows my non sexual disclosure on the form to deter the inappropriate guys from wasting my time.

To Pueppi - I agree that I should only state that I don’t offer that type of service, and not ask where they have received that type of service. Big Mistake. Thanks for your helpful detailed response.

To tranquilspirit2006 – thank you for your response. I didn’t realize that there are so many review systems online for some types of places.

To EgoMagickian – people are finding me by various advertisements , ex. Newspaper ad, internet websites, local flyers, signs, business card handouts.. I am working on my website now, and it will clearly say no erotic work.

Thanks again to everyone for taking the time to answer my post.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Timedess on Fri Oct 07, 2011 4:08 pm

No problem, sunsetwaves. This conversation (and other things just... bringing things up lately) has encouraged me to go back and take a fresh look at our policies, as well, so I appreciate the opportunity.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby pueppi on Fri Oct 07, 2011 6:52 pm

sunsetwaves,

Welcome back! We hope you can stay longer this time. :smt006

Is it possible that your business name is bringing you so many calls?

One thing is for certain, I'd rather answer calls about "no draping" and nix those clients prior to them ever showing up in my office. Think of it as a blessing that you were warned up front.

However, I know it can be frustrating. Which, is why I am wondering what is promting them to call and ask in the first place. I just don't get calls like this (except on the very rare occasion), so maybe it is something else that is catching their eye. May I ask how the clients are finding you?


10/08/11: corrected for funky typo
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Pete on Fri Oct 07, 2011 11:00 pm

pueppi wrote:One thing is for certain, I'd rather answer calls about "no draping" and nix those clients prior to them ever showing up in my office. Think of it as a blessing that you were warned up front.

However, I know it can be frustrating. Which, is why I am wondering what is promphing them to call and ask in the first place. I just don't get calls like this (except on the very rare occasion), so maybe it is something else that is catching their eye. May I ask how the clients are finding you?


When I first started, I got tons of those calls too. 10 years later - not so much anymore. Sometimes it's nothing that you do, nothing that you put out there that attracts these people...I wrote it off to the universe deciding I needed a learned experience and figured it was part of paying my dues.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby tranquilspirit2006 on Sun Oct 09, 2011 7:37 am

Pete - same here. Even when our shop moved, just down two block and around the corner, we got more 'hopefuls' than we do now. Even as an established business, I suppose the move brought us visibility to others who hadn't heard of us before. I won't say we don't get one every now and then but not like when we first moved to our current location.

Funnily enough, I took 2 calls this week, both of them asking 'How many girls work there?' and 'Are they all Asian'? Both callers wanted to know the prices, and both said 'And that's plus tip, right?' See, that's a sign too, because in AMPs, they often lay the money out before the massage, to see if there's a reaction because it's a sign that they want to negotiate 'services'. Basically saying "That could be all yours if you treat me right." There is whole WORLD out there, of forums and message boards, broken down by state and town, of these places and notes are compared, how much it will cost for this 'service' or 'that' service, what the women will or won't do, abbreviations for all of the services, the codes used, the set ups etc. They even post about parking, whether the parking is discreet or they're going to have to park under the big neon 'OPEN' sign! Since being the board for my state, I have done a lot of research and learned a LOT.

We've had a few over the years that have taken one look at the intake form and bolted. Just as well, since they're looking for something we're not providing.
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby JLWmassage on Sun Oct 09, 2011 12:01 pm

Pete wrote:
pueppi wrote:One thing is for certain, I'd rather answer calls about "no draping" and nix those clients prior to them ever showing up in my office. Think of it as a blessing that you were warned up front.

However, I know it can be frustrating. Which, is why I am wondering what is promphing them to call and ask in the first place. I just don't get calls like this (except on the very rare occasion), so maybe it is something else that is catching their eye. May I ask how the clients are finding you?


When I first started, I got tons of those calls too. 10 years later - not so much anymore. Sometimes it's nothing that you do, nothing that you put out there that attracts these people...I wrote it off to the universe deciding I needed a learned experience and figured it was part of paying my dues.



Ditto for me also. I use to get these types of phone calls when I first statred out and now I maybe get one email or phone call once a year
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby shivashiva on Mon Oct 10, 2011 10:15 am

When you change your website, make sure you don't actually use the words "erotic" or "sexual" or even "undraped" or "Non-erotic" because google will then index your site for those words and when people search for "erotic massage" your site will come up.

The wording I use is "We offer ONLY the services listed on this website. There are no hidden codes or extra services."
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Taoist on Mon Oct 10, 2011 4:20 pm

shivashiva wrote:When you change your website, make sure you don't actually use the words "erotic" or "sexual" or even "undraped" or "Non-erotic" because google will then index your site for those words and when people search for "erotic massage" your site will come up.

The wording I use is "We offer ONLY the services listed on this website. There are no hidden codes or extra services."

This. This is a wonderful tip. Thank you!
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby Elliemare on Wed Oct 12, 2011 3:28 am

I'm a firm believer in the phone consultation. It has worked well for me although a few have slipped through the cracks.

In my area, the lines have really gotten blurred over the years between therapeutic and non-therapeutic massage. A lot of clients are genuinely confused as to where to go for the types of services they are seeking so they will just take a shot in the dark most of the time (oops, no pun intended!).

I had one the other day at the spa where I'm working. I didn't take the call so I didn't do a consultation. But the red flags were everywhere. The guy wanted an appointment asap, not just same day, but within the hour! He mentioned low back, glutes, hamstrings. That didn't used to be a red flag, but it has become one. The guy was a sheet scoocher and a butt wiggler.

I would do a phone consult, usually talking about medical/physical pain issues and the therapeutic aspects of your work over the phone chases away the weird ones. I've had some insist that they just want "light touch" massage. That is when I tell them I only do deep tissue, neuro-muscular and sports massage and NO light touch at all, and if they're persistent, I flatly refuse to book their appointment insisting that they will not be happy with my work and they must find someone else.

Frankly, I would continue to review the disclaimer with clients (after the thorough phone consult of course). I would be relieved that this guy left when he did and thankful that the disclaimer review worked the way it should and gotten rid of this guy before things got really uncomfortable!
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Re: Client left after Professional massage disclosure! Help!

Postby eset on Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:57 pm

Another thing to consider, check your advertising. I advertised with Yellow Book (not yellow pages) the first year of my practice and they, completely without my authorization, at some point added a picture of an Asian woman working on a man with a hand towel draping his glutes to online listing. Holy Cow, I was stunned when I stumbled upon it, it was not in the listing when I first started it. I made a lot of calls with no help in getting the photo removed, it didn't disappear until I let my account with them lapse. Periodically they still call and try to get me to sign back up but NEVER again! I feel bad that there are unfortunate stereotypes associated with Asian women and massage, I am sure there are many legitimate Asian massage therapists, but this picture, which did not represent me or a draping technique that I would use, got me a lot more iffy calls in that year than I have ever received since. Once that ad was gone, the number of calls I got looking for something "extra" died way off. I have had a guy leave once when I asked him to fill out an intake form, and he had actually stuttered when I asked his last name on the phone, unfortunately I was with my kids when I took the call so I wasn't able to go as far into screening as I sometimes do to deter people, but I was glad he left when he realized I was not what he was looking for. Figure that you dodged a bullet there!
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