With over 1,100 locations in the United States, Massage Envy may seem like an intimidating competitor for massage therapists operating their own businesses. The brand is recognizable and franchisees benefit from centralized recruitment and marketing campaigns. Clients value Massage Envy for its convenience and affordability. Plus, the Massage Envy membership structure is designed to quickly lock new clients into a year-long commitment that may prevent them from shopping around.
How can independent massage therapy businesses compete against the power of a nationally-franchised massage therapy brand like Massage Envy?
Answer: By delivering what its service spas can’t.
Don’t try to out-advertise Massage Envy or undercut their prices. Instead, differentiate your massage therapy practice by delivering something else: consistently professional services with a personal touch.
Sometimes called “the fast-food of massage therapy,” Massage Envy’s franchised business model is built by delivering a limited number of services to a high volume of clients. Clients who purchase Massage Envy memberships may choose from a specific set of services which include non-medical massages, full-body stretches, or skin treatments. Massage Envy staff members work evenings and weekends and clients can often book appointments on short notice. Massage Envy customers sacrifice personalized care for treatments that are inexpensive and available on short notice.
You can easily set your massage therapy practice apart from this franchised brand by focusing on delivering better service to a manageable number of clients.
Purchasing a Massage Envy membership does not guarantee clients access to a specific therapist. A Massage Envy client who wants to work with a therapist who is familiar with their preferences may have to wait to get an appointment with that therapist. If they choose not to wait, they have to adjust to a new therapist who may have more or less knowledge and experience than their previous one.
At Massage Envy locations with high staff turnover rates, clients may have to work with several different therapists throughout the duration of their membership.
To beat Massage Envy, keep your staff and clients’ needs top of mind. Allow yourself and your therapists enough room in their schedules to accommodate long-term clients. And, limit therapist turnover by providing your team with scheduling flexibility and compensation that reflects their contribution to the success of your business.
Remember, happy therapists (including you) will deliver better customer experiences.
Massage Envy’s focus on efficiency means that its therapists often have little time between appointments. Check-outs are handled by other staff members and there is limited opportunity for small talk. Not only does this lead to burnout among therapists but it also prevents them from getting to know the individuals they treat. Therapists must rely on SOAP notes and in-session conversations as their only sources of information about the person they are treating.
This makes what should be a very personal experience an impersonal one.
Massage Envy’s therapists also aren’t allowed to personally follow up with clients after their treatments. So they have no ability to demonstrate their dedication to their client's well-being or ensure that the individual was happy with their session.
You, on the other hand, are free to encourage your team to spend time getting to know your clients. You can include buffer time between each of your client appointments to allow you and your team time to talk and listen to the people they treat. You can also personally follow up with your clients. A simple call or email that tells your clients you remember who they are and care about them takes very little time but can significantly increase that client’s loyalty and lifetime value.
Today’s consumers are tired of being rushed and treated as numbers. They long for human connections and expect businesses to be responsive to their personal preferences. You have the power to deliver a personalized experience to each of your clients in a way that franchised businesses like Massage Envy can’t.
Use your freedom and flexibility to win high-value customers and keep them. Want more tips for beating Massage Envy? Download our latest ebook below. In it, you’ll find a full collection of tips and advice for beating the competition.