Hills Massage is a three-therapist massage practice in Kalamunda, Perth (Australia) who’ve been using Cliniko since 2017.
The owners are the principal massage therapist, Michelle Rimmer, and practice manager, Alec Rimmer (they also happen to be married to each other). Their practice had been using MindBody software when they were told about Cliniko by friends who ran a physiotherapy practice.
This is the story of how Hills Massage decided that Cliniko was the best practice management software for their practice, as well as a glimpse at the before, during, and after experience of switching.
Why did Hills Massage choose Cliniko?
Michelle and Alec chose Cliniko for several reasons. “First,” Alec says, “the previous practice management software package that we were using was becoming increasingly expensive. [We’d heard] extremely good feedback from other Cliniko customers in the massage industry.”
“MindBody was a good product, and fulfilled our needs at the time. However, the subscription fee had more than doubled in the years that we had been with them.”
“Second, we wanted a cloud based practice management system. I didn’t want to have to run our own server environment. This is costly and a lot of work. I would much rather leave that to someone else who can scale the operation and deal with the up-time,” says Alec.
The important PMS features for Hills Massage
Owner and practice manager, Alec, says most important PMS features for their massage practice are:
- Online bookings
- Appointment management across numerous therapists
- Invoicing, particularly with the integration to Xero
- Appointment reminders via SMS
“Online bookings are a cost effective way to fill our appointment slots. This appears to be especially true of the ability to use the function via the mobile site. Without this feature, we are reliant on having someone man the phone to make bookings.”
“[We customise Cliniko] with separate logins for each therapist. I have been impressed by the integrations to external apps. [We use] Xero, Stripe, and are looking at MediPass. [We use] Xero for finances and Mailchimp for emailing customers” explains Alec.
“Cliniko’s reports are good. We use reports like ‘Daily payments’ and ‘Payment summary’ on a daily basis. I like that [Cliniko] have created a ‘batch’ process to allow reports to complete in their own time.”
“We have made an offer on a [second] premise which would allow us to have another treatment room and space for workshops and classes. We plan to use Clinko’s location functionality when we do.”
“The support is amazing. We have asked a few questions about ‘how to do…’ and the response to these questions has been excellent.”
Is it easy to switch to Cliniko?
Alec says: “The export and import phases were quite straightforward. The Cliniko import tools did exactly what I needed. The transfer of the data in between was a bit of a struggle and I eventually resorted to writing some code to do the work. I have an IT background, so I was lucky.”
“I think the key element is the creation of a plan, including things like outage times, training for new users and cutover time. In summary:
- 1.Enter all relevant settings into Cliniko
- 2.Export clients and future bookings from MindBody
- 3.Massage the exported data into a format that Clinko can accept
- 4.Import Client and appointment data into Cliniko.”
Thankfully, the transfer process to switch to Cliniko has changed a lot since Alec made the move. You can do it as Alec has done, you can also choose to use our free assisted transfer. This process is:
- 1.Book your transfer to Cliniko (book here)
- 2.Export your data from MindBody (instructions here)
- 3.Set up your Cliniko account (instructions here)
- 4.Complete the pre-transfer checklist (checklist here)
Has using Cliniko improved the Hill’s massage business?
“Absolutely,” says Alec. ‘We have been very happy with [Cliniko]. [Particularly because of the] online bookings, and [Cliniko] saves us money. Cliniko saves us about 40% [on our previous software].”
“Online bookings allow customers to make the booking at their convenience. At home watching TV, on the go, or perhaps while at work. Otherwise we are solely reliant on having someone sitting at a phone taking bookings, which is costly.’
Creating a paperless business was very important to Michelle. She says she “loves that Cliniko makes it easy to use digital patient forms, treatment notes, health records, and invoices.” She’s even put up a blackboard by reception for the team to make quick notes during the day, instead of using paper.
What could be improved to make Cliniko better for massage therapists?
Cliniko is constantly being updated and improved. You can follow all the updates to the software on the blog. Here’s what Alec told us he’d like to see:
- Confirmations - as in, the ability to mark a booking as confirmed (perhaps based on customers SMS response). This is a big issue for us as customer no-shows cost us a lot of money.
- Allow quick switching between therapists.
- Skinning of the main web pages to allow things like logos and corporate colours.
- The ability to remove one-off availability. At present, you have to block it out.
- The ability to automatically send forms to new customers. At present we have to use the confirmation email process.
Hills Massage advice to massage business owners looking for practice management software
Alec says, “don’t be afraid to adjust your processes to fit the tools occasionally. Most businesses are reticent to change their processes to fit in with software, and I can understand that. However, there are cases where this really can be the easiest route. We offered a discount when buying multiple class bookings ahead of time. We decided to change our administrative processes to fit in with how Cliniko does it.”
Alec explains that in his experience with businesses taking on new software is that it can be a painful process. Often, businesses expect their new software to bend to their way of doing things. However, if this is your expectation of software, it can lead you to want to change software, which is expensive (if not in money, in time). Adapting your business (where possible) to the software, rather than the other way around will save you time and money. “If you have that mindset at the start of the process, the process is likely to be less painful.”