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Holistic Hands

Massage Therapy & Wellness

A service design case study that demonstrates implementing design thinking to business & service flows, improving profitability by 167%.

About the project

This is a retrospective case study that reflects how I  intuitively implemented design thinking & service design in my previous business.  Having completed my UX education, I realized I had been executing service design strategies during my time as an entrepreneur, and now have greater understanding of why I was so successful.

The goal

Discover what enhances the massage therapy experience while setting a standard for professionalism and safety for both the therapist & clients alike and answering the question of how to improve profitability without sacrificing the quality of service & care.

The challenge
The outcome

Holistic Hands Massage Therapy & Wellness, a solo practice scaling into a new private location, needed to figure out the best way to cover the cost of the new space while attracting & retaining new clients. The business owner wanted to address several concerns, streamlining her process to reduce the time & energy spent on administrative duties to focus more on delivering valuable client experiences & increasing revenue.

The business doubled its monthly massage bookings & increased revenue by 167%. The business achieved a 90% client retention rate with a 60% client referral rate. Overall, this project was a success in terms of streamlining business flows as well as client satisfaction.


After identifying & prioritizing key opportunities for improvement, I began researching to better understand the current market, my clients & building strategies to improve business flows and enhance the client experience.

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Holistic Hands Massage Therapy & Wellness, a passionate & purpose driven practice would set the standard of professionalism and go beyond client expectations to deliver a highly-valuable therapy and exceptional client experience.

Elevating client experience. 

In conducting market research & a competitive analysis, I was able to uncover common client frustrations, desired expectations, and an ideal target audience. 


Based on this research I implemented the following strategies:

  • Moving to a location with private entrance, private bathrooms & a secured waiting area to elevate & establish the practice as professional, trustworthy & safe. 

  • Services & treatment plans that we're customizable to share my knowledge & skill.

  • Creating a collaborative, empowering environment to assist clients in receiving the full benefit of our work together.  

  • Enhancing the client's experience of the whole service right down to how they would perceive the room & their body after treatment. 


Based on feedback received after implementation the business reported a 98% client satisfaction rate & a 20% increase in client referrals.

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Identifying the types of clients who sought out individual massage therapist vs. going to a spa was a crucial step in deciding what services to prioritize.

User persona: representing the identified target audience.

Optimizing client scheduling & onboarding.

After analyzing the scheduling & onboarding process from both the client & business perspective I was able to identify that adopting an online scheduling system would be highly beneficial for both parties:

Business benefits:

  • Time saving & cost-effective.

  • Easy to implement & test.

  • Automated reminders alleviated missed appointments.

  • Improved onboarding with easy to complete forms.

  • Reduce lost revenue from missed phone calls.

  • More client feedback.

Client benefits:

  • View provider availability anytime, anywhere.

  • Schedule at their leisure.

  • Reminders 

  • Easy to complete forms, that could be done prior to their visit.

  • Advanced payment options.

  • More focused time with their therapist.

90% of clients had positive response. The business saw a 20% increase in bookings, occurrences of missed appointments reduced to 3%, and I saved an average of 5 hours/week.

Client journey maps:  demonstrating the clients journey before and after implementation of online schedulng.

6 different software solutions were tested to address the issues with scheduling & loss of revenue.  Clients were regularly surveyed to determine which was the easiest & most pleasurable for them to use, also considering the cost effectiveness of the solution and the features it offered to reduce time spent on administrative tasks.

Prioritizing revenue generating activities.

I desired to create a most effective strategy for addressing administrative responsibilities to focus more on client care. 


In my analysis it became apparent there was:

  • An exorbitant amount of time lost on insurance billing, totaling around 12 hours of unpaid time per month.

  • Insurance clients equated to 30% of monthly bookings.

  • Risk - either take on more workload or discontinue accepting insurance.


The solution was to discontinue insurance and simply charge the clients the same rate as insurance payout.  80% of clients happily accepted this offer, saving time & energy with little to no loss in revenue.

Spa Massage
In conclusion

Taking a really hard look at my growing business from different perspectives and objectively considering which solutions would align both business goals and client goals.   

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