Every client is unique. They have varying needs and behaviours, which makes client management a sensitive aspect of business development. Proper client management is especially crucial for wellness practitioners who not only have to create action plans help clients change unhealthy patterns. They also have to take into account the physical, mental, and emotional state of a client with every session.
A session may be easy, breezy one day but it can also be challenging and unproductive another day. Perhaps a client is in a bad mood before a session, or the practitioner may not have the necessary bandwidth to focus. The subjectivity of every session makes client management all the more important.
Here are a few client management best practices that can help practitioners anticipate client needs and behaviours:
Establish an empathetic relationship with clients. Empathy is a powerful tool for therapists, coaches, counsellors, and other similar wellness practitioners. Creating a safe and judgement-free environment for a client fosters a stronger client-practitioner relationship.
Of course, this process can take time for some clients, especially those who have experienced trauma or abuse. Trust can often be an issue for people who have faced extreme situations. Understanding a clients’ motivations, triggers, and temperament is part of a practitioner’s checklist during the early stages of therapy.
Patiently laying the groundwork for an empathetic, trusting professional relationship signals a smoother client management process.
Set boundaries with clients. Open and honest communication about boundaries is also an essential part of client management. The initial conversation about when a client can call or message a practitioner provides a structure for both parties. Orientation about cancellation policies is also a recommended on-boarding practice so that both client and practitioner become mindful of each other’s time.
Boundaries decrease the risk of burnout for the practitioner, and it’s also a practical demonstration of healthy behaviour for the client.
Itemize what comprises an emergency so that a client knows when a call or a text is within the bounds of what was agreed upon. Each client will have unique needs, which means the list may vary. However, taking the time to be clear about emergencies keeps the relationship healthier for a longer time.
Some practitioners choose to have an exclusive emergency line to compartmentalize personal matters and work. Another way is to show your operating hours on your website or booking app. Test out which works for you.
Create and agree on an action plan. This process is in line with creating structure for the client. Having a client see and sign off on an action plan which they can commit to helps them visualize a goal for themselves.
It helps to share a copy of the action plan with the client. For instance, TheraSmart has a feature that allows practitioners to upload and share action plans with clients so both can refer back to their goals after a session. It’s available on mobile which makes it easy to access anytime and anywhere.
Visual guidelines for an action plan’s progress and efficacy give the client a sense of accomplishment when they reach a goal. This reinforces positive behaviour which keeps the client in a forward moving direction with less or no setbacks. In turn, client management focuses more on setting and reaching goals instead of correcting relapses.
Regular check-ins. In relation to action plans, regular check-ins with the client help practitioners anticipate possible challenges. Progress checks pinpoint areas where a client struggles and indicate whether an action plan is working or otherwise.
The frequency of check-ins depends on the goals. It’s also an opportunity to get feedback from the client on whether the action plan has the right level of challenge or if the tasks have to be adjusted to the current state of the client. Giving clients an avenue to openly share their thoughts about their current progress provides both parties with a back-up when it’s time to walk their journey.
Much like any other business, immediate action to address client feedback is a big determinant when it comes to client retention. Anticipating their needs before they even verbalize it is a definite plus point for client management.
Retention, repeat transactions, and referrals are key performance indicators whether practitioners are following best practices for client management. On-boarding new clients require time and presence, but keeping them happy and supported occupies a larger portion of a practitioner’s time, skills, and energy. Happy clients have an exponential and long-term effect on business growth.
Focus on the client instead of admin work. That is the best way to manage clients properly. Ask us how TheraSmart can help keep clients happy.