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Posted by Gillian Kenyon, Oct 31 2007 1:53PM

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I have just received an e-mail about the proposed voucher scheme being proposed by EMBODY.

I think this is a great idea - however, I wondered whether anyone else has any thoughts on the following potential difficulties that I see with the scheme and whether anyone has any bright ideas about ways around them other than what I have proposed:

As a member of Embody you will be pleased to hear Embody are always looking for ways to improve the package it offers to members. One of these ideas is for a voucher scheme sold to blue chip organisations within the UK for use on internal sales & staff and channel incentive programmes.

- This is a great idea but will the companies 'buy into it' given the number of marketing promotions houses who are already offering this to the companies 'for free' and have been dping for years now.

EMBODY would like to offer the client base a new health & beauty voucher which is accepted at both weekdays and weekends, covering either 3 or 4 treatments and is accepted by a large network of health and beauty therapists throughout the UK.

- Not all practitioners work both weekdays and weekends - and what about evenings. Eveniongs and weekends are typically 'premium' times when we can earn full price for our work because they are usually so heavily in demand. What of those practitioners who don';t work weekenbds - will it be a condition of the promotion that they do. Surely we should always have the choice of when we work and when we don't, which days, what times. Reduced rate treatments such as this multi-buy voucher scheme would normally be fitted in in slack times not busy times.

The two vouchers will cover: 3 treatments @ £30 each and 4 treatments @ £30 each. Once the voucher has been returned the full price of £90 including VAT (for 3 treatments) and £120 including VAT (for 4 treatments) will be paid to the health & beauty therapists within 10 working days.

I can see several issues with not being paid until AFTER all the treatments are given:

NO shows - there are a lot of people who come for treatments who may not come for all 3 or all 4 for whatever reason. Is the voucher to be handed over at the beginning and THEN payment made to the practitioner in advance of the final treatments - otherwise how does a practitioner get paid when they may have done say 2 out of 3 but the client does not return for no fault of the practitioners. The practitioner simply won't get paid otherwise and they will have done hours of work.

90-120 day terms plus - If the payment is made after all treatments are delivered, what happens when, like in so many instances, the client only comes once a month or every 6 weeks - the practitioner is doing treatments and must wait anything from 3 to 4 months plus 10 days payment processing time if the payment is not made until after the final treatment - this is not viable as a business proposition - we all have mortgages & bills to pay and food to buy on a monthly basis.

- the above situations could be worked around if the payment were made on presentation of voucher at the first treatment. The voucher could have a space for writing on the confirmation of dates agreed with the client for the subsequent treatments - signed off on the voucher by the client. This would also mean that no refunds would be allowed for cancellations or no shows at appointments.

Multi-purchase discount - working for only £30 implies that this is the going rate - not so. Most practitioners up and down the country are charging in the region of £35-£65 or more per hour. Will the voucher state that there is a discount that the client is getting for this multi-purchase voucher scheme so that clients do not think it is a 'normal' list price ?. Why not simply make it a '% discount off practitioner list price' for multi-session purchase and up front payment voucher ?.

I would be pleased to hear what other people think and am sure that Martyn Nixon of EMBODY will also be pleased to here your thoughts on this too.

So, come everyone, let us know what you think



Angela Rawlins
Oct 31 2007 3:05PM
Gillian

I whole heartedly agree with your statements. Also, how much are therapists going to be charged for the administration????

What I find on these promotional schemes is, clients use the free/reduced vouchers and then don't come back. Many clients check around for the cheapest therapist, I've had many calls asking prices as have my collegues.

How about advertising or getting a health magazine to do a promotion - much better to target people who are actually interested in health.
Roushan Martens
Oct 31 2007 4:37PM
Hmm, I said I was interested, but taking into account all you've said (all of which I agree with), I'm not so sure any more. Hadn't really thought about it, but the weekends are a problem, the paid-later situation, and the possibility of no-shows are all a bit off-putting. Not that I want to be negative, as I'm sure you don't. Good suggestions for how to get round the problems.
Gillian Kenyon
Oct 31 2007 6:26PM
It is reassuring to know I'm not the only one who is looking at this with some reservation. Don't get me wrong though, Voucher schemes can be extremely beneficial to our businesses in generating client introductions and referrals.

When you don't get paid anything and provide a full treatment, they are suicidal - lots of work and no pay.

However, when using them as an introduction and only giving a short 'flavour' of what you do in a 15 minute micro-TREAT they do at least give you an opportunity to convince clients to return. These sessions should be fitted in at your quiet times so not to reduce your income from your full paying and usual regular clientelle.

Indeed, with 15 minute micro-TREATS you can offer the client a full one hour treatment with a 25% discount as an alternative - at their option of course. It amounts to the same thing but you get some payment and they make their journey and time truly worthwhile. But these aren't any good if you are mobile - again the costs outweigh the conversion rates. We will all have experienced the professional FREEBIE hunters. Unfortunately, if we are to receive referrals we do have to take some of the rough with the smooth and be prepared for the professional FREEBIE hunters amongst the general public.

I have found that by carefully qualifying clients with vouchers when they contact me, I can determine when to go the extra mile and make time in my diary available, and when to restrict the available hours I offer them to those when I would not otherwise be doing anything.

In this way, I can qualify the clients who are nervous about a therapy and help them to receive a TASTE without committing to a full therapy session and can differentiate them from the professional FREEBIE hunters. Those nervous clients who like the therapy, or who like what they see in my therapy studios do come back. Moreover, We have them in front of us and can show them and tell them how great our other sessions are. They can experience our professionalism.

For voucher holders who only want a FREE session but who don't want to travel to see me because they think 15 minutes isn't enough. I offer them an upgrade where they pay the difference in prioce for the longer treatment - always 25% off a one hour session, including consultation.

If they won't upgrade and can not be fitted into my quiet spots - then I simply let them walk away. If they didn't want to pay for the upgrade, they wouldn't have been prepared to give me any recompense for my skills or treatments anyway. This is called 'qualification'.

Those '15 minute FREE TREAT' voucher holders who 'upgrade' from the outset really are serious and at least you get something for your labours - albeit less than your full list price.

The H Club member practitioners have a list price of £44 per hour so that even after the discount is given, our practitioners can still receive a reasonable £33 per hour to help cover costs and generate some income to cover the time spent giving FREE 15 minute sessions to those who don't upgrade or who decide for whatever reason that therapies aren't for them.

There is always the problem of no shows and of cancellations of appointments due to no fault of the therapist - it is the way we handle these and how we 'qualify' if the client has genuine reasons or not that is the hardest thing to do. You can have a 'cancellation policy' but how are you to collect the payment if the client doesn't show - that just isn't practical. Maybe all therapists should collect a booking fee which is subsequently offset against the treatment price - but then you still have to collect that and the charges from banks for credit/debit machines makes that prohibitive for most. It also doesn't do a lot to foster trust between you and a prospective client.
Joyce Laurie
Oct 31 2007 10:43PM
How come I ain't heard about this???

Is it for a chosen few members then!!!! ;)

Joyce
Gillian Kenyon
Nov 1 2007 10:52AM
Hi Joyce

Definately don't know why you haven't received an e-mail about this direct from EMBODY. They are usually great at letting every one of their members know about their promotions.

I simply received an e-mail from them out of the blue. Sometimes, e-mail addresses on your may be mis-typed or may have changed and not been updated. Suggest it's worth logging in and doing a quick check on your EMBODY member record.

As a co-operative on therapist practitioners, members of The H Club try to keep me updated of all promotions that they see or are involved in from many different sources. This is so that I can ensure all club members are represented and that we continue to share work and referrals from all over the country. The more eyes and ears that work together, the easier it is to avoid disappointment at missing something interesting.

If you find you haven't the time to keep yourself abreast of all the daily changes in the various sources of new referrals and promotions, why not think about joining us as a member and let us do that for you as we do for our other member practitioners around the UK.

Simply contact me by e-mail with your name, full adress and phone datils, the therapies you undertake and ask for a membership application. It's quite easy and there are numerous other areas we can help you with that we will explain in our information to you.

Send you request to: TheHClub@Hotmail.com

Regards
Gill
Angela Rawlins
Nov 1 2007 4:49PM
If, you have an email address, then you have a fighting chance! However, if you don't, you have to wait for the 'magazine',which may, or not have the details.
Gillian Kenyon
Nov 1 2007 5:25PM
Hi Angela

As you clearly have access to a computer with internet connection through which you are communicating in this blog, you can get onto the internet site for MSN (microsoft)and then set up a completely FREE e-mail address on Hotmail. All the instructions are on the mSN site and are very easy to follow.

After you have your FREE e-mail address, with Hotmail, all you need to do is to make sure you log in once a month to keep it. There are a host of other service providers who also give free e-mail access if you don't like Hotmail and MSN.

If you don't have access to your own computer with internet connection, then you are probably usinge an internet cafe or one of the public computers in a local library - most of which have computers that people can use to access the internet, or the computer of a kind friend or a place where you can get access.

Unfortunately, these days, most professional business people are expected to have an e-mail address or at least access to one from time to time.

Whilst I personally prefer to talk to people, it appears that the world expects everyone to have e-mail.

That being said, I do have a very small number of clients who either use their friends e-mail addresses to contact us with queries or to ask for information about different therapies and local therapists by using their husband and his work one (don't think their employers know though !).

It definately isn't ideal but these days, whilst I do not necessarily agree with it, preferring face to face communication, access to a computer and an e-mail adfdress with which people can make contact with you is definitely expected of a business.

After all, we are a service industry and we should be trying to make every possible endeavours for clients to make easy contact through all possible means so that they can communicate easily with us at a time and place of their choosing.

This is the benefit of e-mail - my clients can send me communications from all over the world, booking appointments when they are in , say, USA, in a different time zone and then flying home to know they will have their aches and pains eased with a confirmed appointment for when they get home. I don't have to sit up all night to answer the 'phone and they have their answer similarly.

Whilst we don't all have clients making bookings from different time zones, I for one find that I do most of my admin 'out of hours' and e-mail helps me to keep in touch and to do this without disturbing other people when they are relaxing in the evening. They can pick up their messages when they are ready.

It is worth a thought - it doesn't cost anything to have your own e-mail address and it could help you receive the communications you clearly wish to receive.
Angela Rawlins
Nov 1 2007 5:40PM
Gillian

Thanks, I have lots of email addresses. It was just other therapists that I know do not all have email addresses. I am a coordinator for Three Counties and object to the CThA reducing the magazines and also not putting the coordinators contact details in it.

Contact is extremely erratic and I am sure that not every therapist gets these offers. Did you see an email asking for our views on the Regulation terms??
Gillian Kenyon
Nov 1 2007 5:57PM
Hi Angela

Perhaps we should speak over the 'phone on this matter.

I am wholeheartedly in support of improving communications and of improving the professional standing of therapists - I am NOT convinced by either the process or the effectiveness of what is currently happening and remain to be convinced.

I can always be reached by e-mail: thehclub@hotmail.com or by 'phone 077989-36004 (unfortunately an answer machine operates if everyone here is delivering therepies so please bear with us if that happens)


George B.
Nov 3 2007 10:10AM
Joyce

You should have received an email with Subject "New voucher scheme"

It was sent at on Oct 31 2007 at 5:18AM, to your email address that beings with joyce (at) laurie....

We have had about 900 positive responses so far (from the 6,300 emails sent), Martyn (our marketing wizard) will be noting the many comments and concerns, and will be working to resolve them.

One possibility he mentioned to me is that the voucher would be handed over at the first treatment.

George Barwood
Embody Web Admin



George B.
Nov 3 2007 10:30AM
I also meant to add that anyone who has not received the email can register their interest at

http://www.embodyforyou.com/Vreg/

The email was as follows:

<<

Dear [Member]

As a member of Embody you will be pleased to hear we are always looking for ways to improve to package we offer to our members.

One of these ideas is for a voucher scheme sold to blue chip organisations within the UK for use on internal sales & staff and channel incentive programmes.

We would like to offer the client base a new health & beauty voucher which is accepted at both weekdays and weekends, covering either 3 or 4 treatments and is accepted by a large network of health and beauty therapists throughout the UK.

The two vouchers will cover 3 treatments @ £30 each and 4 treatments @ £30 each.

Once the voucher has been returned the full price of £90 including VAT (for 3 treatments) and £120 including VAT (for 4 treatments) will be paid to the health & beauty therapists within 10 working days.

If you are interested please click on the link below to register your interest. This is only a statement of interest and you will not be committing to participating at this stage.
>>

George
Angela Rawlins
Nov 3 2007 4:33PM
George

Will there be an administration charge to therapists? I assume there will be some sort of number or code on the vouchers so that they can be traced if they get lost in the postal system?
Gillian Kenyon
Nov 4 2007 5:30PM
Thanks George for your reply.

I haven't had any feedback from Maryin in response to my e-mail to him about the aspects covered herein.

Also, From where was the £30 derived - it is clear to me that many therapists are chargeing well above this and that the scheme will, in fact, be doing more harm than good if it sets a market expectation that therapists are willing to work for such a LOW value. Particularly when it is their own professional body that has set the price.

Come on guys - can we be assured that the price set will be more realistic and puts forward CThA's support of it's members as professionals in a field that should be well respected and valued by all.

After all, there aren't any other professions that I know of where the institutes they belong to set the prices lower than the therapists can achieve in an open marketplace.

I also think Angela's comment is worthy of note - I know just how hard it is to adminsiter these schemes - how is EMBODY going to fund this exercise or is an outside organisation approaching EMBODY on the basis that they will do this. If so, who is paying them. There is no such thing as FREE in this world !
Martyn Nixon
Nov 5 2007 12:46PM
Dear Members,

First of all let me thank you for the massive response to this promotional idea. As with any scheme of this nature there have been concerns raised; I will do my best to cover the main ones here.

The cost of the treatment is possibly the biggest concern and quite rightly so. The basic cost of £30 per treatment was come to as a result of the membership survey conducted last month, the results of which will appear in your membership magazine next issue, this concluded that the average cost of a therapy in the UK is £29.60. As we have to offer this voucher nationally at a set cost the only fair way to do this is use the national average. If the amount you charge for a treatment is substantially higher than this then you may feel that this is not an offer you can participate in. However as with all these promotional schemes it is not necessarily the voucher treatment where the financial gains are to be made but the repeat and recommended business they can create.

The mechanics of the offer; we have not yet finalised the way the offer will be administered. However concerns regarding the way the voucher is handled and the way the treatments are funded are paramount in our mind, as is protecting the members financially.

The cost of the scheme to those involved; at the moment we are working on this as a zero cost to members scheme; however we may make it part of the promotional package for next year.

I hope the above has answered some of the questions raised so far; at the moment the scheme is in the early stages of negotiation and as such many of the details have yet to be finalised.

Thanks again for your interest

Martyn Nixon
Embody
Gillian Kenyon
Nov 5 2007 2:52PM
As we all know, market pricing is very important. However, I can assure you that your logic behind how you have set the price is somewhat flawed.

If 3 people charge £50 and three people charge £5 then the average becomes £27.50. What a meaningless way to set a price. It says nothing about the quiality of service, it says nothing about what the public thinks is a fair price. It merely reflects the fact that most new practitioners starting out in business start at about £25-£30 because that is what they have been told by their college tutors to use.

Why should the people who charge £50 have the market expectation devalued by their own instiutute in this way. CThA, I am most disappointed by this.

Why not go out to the public and do somew first hand market research to establish what people are prepared to pay for a truly professional treatment. We all know people will try to get purchases at as low a price as they can so they can say they got a bargain, but there is also a concept here that market pricing should not be set by an institute - that is called anti-competitive behaviour and will no doubt be viewed very dimly by the competition commission.

It would be much better all round if the voucher was offered quite simply as a Multi-buy % discount offer for up front payment for the treatment sessions, with direct payment for all sessions being made to the practitioner at the time of the first session. this is one of the traditional 'offers' used in service industries such as ours and allows EVERYONE to participate not just the few who can't achieve that price any other way.

I am still not aware of who it is that will be 'selling' these fixed price vouchers to the public and companies anyway. What is in it for them ?

If it is CThA / EMBODY, why should CThA suddenly want to start selling vouchers and going to all the cost of adminsitration of chargeing for the vouchers and then paying practitioners.

I would far sooner see our valuable resources spent on promoting business for all practitioners, not devaluing the work of long standing member practitioners by setting low price expectations in the marketplace.

Come on CThA, sharpen your pencils and think about what image you will be creating and what market price expectation you are setting. I am sure a lot of long standing members will not be happy to find you are only prepared to help those who charge less than others.
Angela Rawlins
Nov 6 2007 8:45PM
It's call price fixing - Cartels are, I think illegal! I'll check with hubby:))
Gillian Kenyon
May 16 2008 3:08PM
I have been told that there are a number of promotions houses who are now trying to initiate voucher schemes where people 'pay' for access to vouchers and then the therapists deliver them for a reduced price set by the promoter.

As we haven't heard any more about this above 'paid' scheme, can I conclude that Mosaic lost the bid becsue iot was too expensive for the end client at £30 ?. Personally, The H Club list price is £44 per hour so the £30 price was far too low anyway.

Meanwhile, on a similar vein, Aero is offering £10 for each 15 minute treat delivered FREE to client voucher holders.

The practitioner has to simply send back the vouchers to get paid, after they have done 3 FREE treatments.

To see a selection of some of the promotions that our practitioners are involved in, see www.TheHClub.org.uk

Please be aware, it is our stated policy that we will NOT be involved in, or negotiating any future campaigns involving completely FREE, unpaid work.

We welcome 2for1 promotions but are now working to switch the industry to 5 for 4 promotions - makes more sense.
Gillian Kenyon
May 18 2008 11:24AM
I have just received this from EMBODY - they are asking therapists to collect the vouchers and send them back. Why when we are not being paid anything for the vouchers- is it because all the other campaigns seem to have been so disasterous and EMBODY wishes to counter those claims ?.

I am however aghast that as this promotion is being run by Mosaic - and will be being paid for by Muller - why is it being taken as the second promotion for which EMBODY members have paid - It is not costing EMBODY anything - indeed, I would even ask, is this like the aborted ASDA promotion through Mosaic - are EMBODY being paid by Mosaic as well as being paid £20 by us members ?.


Second Embody Promotion begins tomorrow
From: Embody Promotions (promo@embodyforyou.com)
You may not know this sender. Mark as safe | Mark as unsafe
Sent:18 May 2008 06:22:26
To: thehclub@hotmail.com

Dear Gillian The Müllerlight on pack promotion begins tomorrow, 2.5 million promotional packs will begin to hit the shelves tomorrow.

For terms and conditions see: www.embodyforyou.com/Promotions/MullerlightTermsAndConditions

To help us monitor the response to this promotion, please can you collect all vouchers you receive and send them in to us at the end of the promotion to the address below.

Good luck
Martyn Nixon
Marketing Manager
Embody Embody Promotions
PO Box 6955
Towcester
NN12 6WZ
Tel: 0870 005 2646 Fax: 0844 779 8898
Email : info@embodyforyou.com
Web : www.EmbodyForYou.com



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