When you run a small business such as a health or massage clinic, your reputation is instrumental in bringing in clients. And the best thing about the word-of-mouth approach to building your business is that the advocates are already there; they're your clients.

One easy way to get better reviews in your health clinic

I asked several clinic owners how they’ve been able to cultivate this contagious loyalty among their clients and get better reviews, and their message was clear: communication is key.

Tell your clients something they don’t know

Craig Murchie from Muscle Pain Therapy likes to explains to his clients what’s happening in their bodies when he comes across a dysfunction. He shows them how he’s remedying the problem, and he says they always appreciate the extra attention.

It’s part of the ethos at Muscle Pain Therapy, a remedial massage clinic with two practitioners in Victoria, Australia. The main aim of remedial therapy is pain relief through correction of body function, and Craig involves his clients in this process for more effective results.

”I use what I call the panel beater analogy with my clients,”Craig says. “If you smash your car into a pole, get it fixed so it looks new again, then smash it into the same pole – the result is still a smashed car, no matter how good the panel beater fixed it the first time.”

It’s the way Craig helps clients prevent the dysfunction from happening again where they find real value. The details he gives them make all the difference to clients who would have otherwise been in the dark as to why they experienced the condition that brought them to him in the first place.

”My clients often mention that they appreciate that I explain everything as other therapists they have encountered often don’t.”

”My clients often mention that they appreciate that I explain everything as other therapists they have encountered often don’t,” Craig says. “I also feel it results in a better outcome, as they then learn what they have been doing wrong and can become more aware of that anatomy so as to better look after it while it recovers.”

Get better online ratings by giving clients more than they expect

The easiest outlet when you want to gush about the fantastic service you’ve just been given is the internet. You can pick and choose your words, you can use emoji to describe what words can’t 😁, and you can broadcast your opinions to the world. What’s not to love! Are you using the internet to gather feedback?

Sarah Watson owns Clarity Massage and Wellness, a clinic with a passion for facilitating your body’s transition to a healthy, happy and strong state. Clarity holds a five star rating on both Facebook and Yelp, which Sarah chalks up to how she keeps her clients informed and engaged.

“At Clarity Massage and Wellness Centre, we firmly believe that knowledge is power!” Sarah says.

“By giving clients a few simple exercises, stretches and activities after their sessions; we give them an opportunity to extend the benefits of the session, and to feel empowered and in control with the tools to keep their pain at bay. We provide customers with handouts and send them regular blog posts and links to articles which provide education and support during the treatment process.”

Sarah’s approach in caring for her patients has proven popular among Clarity clients. Over the last two years, the business has maintained a solid five star rating on both Yelp and Facebook from a combined 29 reviewers.

“I do think that our rating is in part due to the communication we have with our clients, and the trust and rapport that we build,” Sarah says. “It’s important that clients feel comfortable and confident in the process, and an important part of that is us communicating what is actually happening.

“If someone was to poke and prod you and then shove you out the door with no explanation or guidance, it’s not a very therapeutic experience.”

Keep in touch with clients while they’re away

What if part of your clinic experience extended beyond the hour or so where you see your clients face to face?

That’s what Anna Barton from Body Matters does. Anna runs a therapeutic and sports massage business with six staff in Auckland, and uses email and Facebook to keep in touch with her patients. This omnipresent level of care has helped her clientele has grown quickly as they have come to expect only the best service from Body Matters.

“We educate our clients while they’re on the table during our sessions,” Anna says, “and we provide them with at-home care that includes exercises, stretches and general wellbeing advice. We also email them links to exercises and stretches and follow up with emails if necessary.”

Body Matters provides free workshops for their clients and runs an active Facebook page and weekly email filled with useful tips. When you’re a Body Matters client, you’re guaranteed to have the knowledge you need to always feel your best.

When you’re a Body Matters client, you’re guaranteed to have the knowledge you need to always feel your best.

“Providing this ensures our clients feel they are in the hands of a professional who cares,” Anna explains.

For Anna, Sarah and Craig, connecting with their clients helps their clinic experience extend beyond the session. An educated client is satisfied for longer, and this has helped the three businesses above receive positive reviews online and good recommendations offline.

It’s not difficult to grow your business in a similar way. Make sure that your customers are getting the best experience you can offer the and engage them and explain to them what you know. After all, is the golden rule not “Treat others how you would like to be treated”? And finally, don’t forget to use the internet to keep in touch with clients and collect and broadcast all the lovely things people have to say about you. The more proof you have of your quality of service from real people, the easier it will be to fill your appointment book every day.