This is one of those funny tales that always seem to happen to new graduates in their first proper job.
The year was 2000, and I was fresh out of Massage School and had landed my first real Massage Job in Fremantle. I was a Massage Therapist, or as it said on my business card at the time (OMG! So stoked to have a business card at the age of 22!), Soft Tissue Therapist. I was so proud of my new position. I had worked and studied hard for the previous two years to complete my Diploma of Health Science Massage at Tafe. I was over working the Cafe scene and 5am wake ups to pour the masses their espresso and skinny lattes. Yes, this Massage Job in Fremantle was the REAL DEAL, and only one train stop away from my home in North Fremantle.
Massageworks was one of the original Professional Massage Clinics in Fremantle with a focus on clinical sports and remedial bodywork. Our clinic was located very conveniently down the street from the Norfolk Hotel, the regular venue for all Massageworks staff meetings, and the Fremantle Markets, where every Saturday on my hour lunch break I would head for a Fellafel Kebab and a browse through the Herb and Spice Shop. I think this is where my love for Essential Oils began.
The clinic was open from 8am to 8pm, and the day was split into 2 shifts. I usually worked 3 late shifts out of my 5, starting at 2pm and finishing at 8pm. This particular day of the getting stuck in the room was a late shift, and my last client of the day. I was very fortunate that my colleague was also still working, other wise we would have been there all night!
I'm getting ahead of myself a bit here. I was about a month into my Position and all was going well. I'd had a great shift that day, fully booked with 5 clients, all rebooking. My last client at 7pm was new. It was still a little bit light out, but the sun was going down. It must have been early in the week because the streets were reasonably quiet and you couldn't hear the Norfolk in the background. My colleague also had his last client at 7pm.
Now, as you can see in the picture above, Massageworks was in one of those lovely old Fremantle buildings. You know, the typical Freo character house that has been converted. I am sure there was 'ghost' in that building, particularly the back Massage room, but that is another story! The treatment room that I was working in was spacious and had a lovely heavy old door with an old fashioned door knob. I'd screened and assessed my client, explained how to get on to the massage table and then went to leave the room to allow her to undress in privacy.
As I turned the handle, the door knob came away! Whoops. And then I couldn't open the door. Um. Ok. I explained the situation to my client. She was as cool and calm as a cuccumber. We sat and thought for a moment. I said that my colleague was here and that we would listen out for him and I call out and get him to open the door from the other side. Good plan. We decided to go ahead with the massage treatment, and listen out. Needless to say, my mind was not really present on the massage I was giving, but rather, feeling anxious about the door, the client, getting in trouble, loosing my job...my thoughts were spiralling.
About 55 minutes later, the massage session ended and my colleague walked past with his client to process payment at the front of the room. I called out to him and told him I couldn't open the door from the inside of the room. He laughed and turned the door knob on his side. No such luck! The door was well and truly jammed! And we were stuck! Far out! My mind was freaking out! I was sure to loose this job and give Massageworks a bad reputation. My colleague called the Fremantle Fire Department. I was certain that I was done for.
10 minutes later, the door was opened by Axe. Thank you Freo Fire Fighters. I got my client and I some water and washed my hands. I tried to not charge her, my reasoning being the door. My client insisted on paying and rebooked, commenting on how well I handled the situation in such a calm manner! Ha! If only she'd looked inside my mind!
It all worked out well. I didn't loose my job, my boss was very pleased with my mature approach and actually laughed a lot at the situation. I myself managed to see the humour in it after a good nights sleep. The client gave rave reviews and became a long standing regular of mine for the 2 years I worked at Massageworks in Fremantle. And the door was replaced. With a newer, modern handle and fittings.
Upon reflection, I can say that staying calm and keeping communication open, even when things are going pear shaped, makes for a positive customer service experience. And that these are the sort of experiences that we must have, to shape us into the Professionals that we grow into.