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3 Ways to Improve Client Satisfaction in Your Private Practice

3 Ways to Improve Client Satisfaction in Your Private PracticeAre you going from feast to famine as you try to build a sustainable private practice? That can be so frustrating and stressful! It may even harm your health and relationships, if you don’t find an effective solution soon.

One thing I’ve learned over the past 13 years is that consistency is vital for making your clients feel comfortable working with you. It’s like when you go to a familiar business, with a familiar logo and you receive predictable service. Even if you aren’t consciously aware of it, your brain sees that consistency as reassuring and safe. The moment something is out of place, however, a red flag of warning goes up.

Here are three areas of business where consistency really matters when you’re trying to improve client satisfaction:

#1 Create a communication protocol.

The first point of contact is often when they telephone your office to schedule an appointment. Take a moment and consider how your prospective clients feel when they call you. Do you have a system in place for communicating with them promptly?

If you’re just starting your private practice, you may not have a support staff yet. It can be very difficult switching roles between therapist and office worker. Of course, you can’t interrupt your session with a client to run and answer the phone. On the other hand, ignoring that message until late in the week or possibly even the next week means they’ll likely call someone else. When they call you, they expect help fairly soon. Since you worked so hard to get them to call you in the first place, you don’t want lose clients by neglecting them.

Here’s a great solution:

On your answering machine leave an assurance that you’re there to help them and that you’ll return their call within 24 hours or less. And then do so.

Make it a priority to return phone calls promptly. Scheduling specific times on you daily calendar ensures that you have the time you need. If you schedule client visits back-to-back with no time in between for office work, you’re going to feel rushed and overwhelmed. Leave yourself some room for call-backs, you are going to feel more at ease and relaxed!

#2 Establish a clear cancellation and rescheduling policy.

Is it becoming more common for people to skip or cancel their appointments at the last minute? If you don’t train your clients to honor their appointments with you, your business will suffer and they won’t benefit from regular coaching and/or therapy.

Here’s a great solution:

At your initial session, clearly outline your policy and hand them a copy of it.

When making a new appointment, reinforce your policy by saying: “I’m committed to helping you on DATE and TIME. If you need to cancel this appointment, we require 24 hour’s notice or we will charge you X amount of money because this time is vital for giving my clients the best care possible. ”

It would be a mistake to either charge their credit card for a missed session without letting them know that’s your policy or letting their lack of attention slip by unnoticed. Of course, you can make exceptions if there’s a legitimate emergency. You can address this on an individual basis.

#3 Confirm your client’s perception of his or her goals.

Your clients come to you with an idea of what they want to achieve, but they may not have the words to convey that to you clearly. And over time, these goals may change. So it’s important to check in with them regularly to see if they’re satisfied with your working relationship and their progress.

When you do ask for feedback, it’s good to remind them of their progress. When they get discouraged and want to give up, don’t let them simply slip away.

Here’s a great solution:

When a client quits before their goal is reached, why not get her back through a free “Reconnect Session”? If you can’t afford to offer free individual sessions, you could include them in a group session for free. This expression of care may win them back as a steady client.

Building a sustainable private practice involves thinking and acting in a way that supports your business, you as a therapist or coach, and your clients. Want to know the secrets of keeping a steady stream of clients coming into your private practice as others transition out? I’d be happy to help. Contact me and we can schedule an appointment to discuss strategies that work.

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