Building and Maintaining a Strong Client Base
With customer coordination platforms, ensure your clients have a smooth and pleasant experience accessing your wellness services.
UK Mental Health Crisis
Earlier this year the European Association for Mindfulness (EAMBA) gathered to discuss the “crisis in the mindfulness teaching field”. After a surge of interest in mindfulness practices during the COVID pandemic, there has been a steep decline in registrations for mindfulness teachings and training. The NHS is also in the midst of a mental health crisis, considering the 44% surge in patient referrals compared with a meagre growth of 22% in mental health providers between 2016-17 and 2021-22.
Demand for mental health services in the UK is ever-increasing and almost one out of every four people seeking support are placed on waiting lists for at least three months. When struggling with a mental health issue, such a long waiting period could dampen the initial determination for help and compound health problems. According to the National Audit Office (NAO), around 8 million people requiring mental health support are completely disconnected from NHS services. An additional 1.3 million are waiting for support from community-based mental health services.
Mental Health Providers without Clients
As a private mental health practitioner, you may be wondering: With all this demand, where are my clients? Why am I struggling so much?!
Clearly, the financial situation of those seeking mental health services can pose a serious barrier and deterrence. Most likely, you have attempted to lower your rates, possibly even to personally unsustainable levels, with the best intentions of supporting clients in need. But you also need to make a living and maintain a certain level of sanity, correct?! Thankfully there are other ways of both attracting and keeping clients that don’t require further lowering your rates.
Let’s delve into what you can do to both increase your caseload and improve your financial situation. After all, the UK needs your help with this mental health crisis!
Why Clients Ask for Your Help?
Hopefully, you already have some idea about why and how clients seek you out. The more you know, the easier it is to expand your caseload and strengthen your private practice. Obviously, people only seek support when a need is recognised and some commitment is present to address this need. Commitment may vary, especially if another person actually determined this need. For instance, a parent may decide to place their less-than-enthusiastic adolescent into counselling.
Often there has been a building recognition that help is needed and then a specific incident activates someone into finally trying to connect with mental health services. This triggering event could be any number of situations from missing an important deadline at work, to a heated argument, or even a full-on crisis that posed bodily harm. Alternatively, someone may require mental health services to fully process a traumatic event, like the loss of a loved one.
Why are YOU Chosen?!
The most powerful incentive is a personal recommendation from a trusted source, which could be a doctor, teacher, family member, or friend who thinks highly of your services. However, not everyone feels comfortable sharing their mental health issues with others. Most of us will also do a little online research before initiating contact, even when we trust the recommendation.
That’s why it’s essential for you to have at least some online presence. The greater your presence, the easier it is for potential clients to find you. The more information you provide, the more familiar they become with your services, ultimately increasing their comfort with reaching out to you. At the very least, you should ensure that your contact information and credentials are included on accredited professional lists. If you have an office, be sure to list it on Google My Business.
It may sound intimidating, but a website displaying your services has become a necessity. Thankfully, platforms like Wix and WordPress make this task much easier to accomplish. There are also tools like ChatGPT that can help with writing texts like blogs, about topics potential clients are searching for. Think about why clients come to you. What are they struggling with and asking about online? Could you provide some insight to build their trust and encourage that initial contact for further support?
Why Do Your Clients Disappear?
So you’ve completed your first session with a client and are all geared up for the next one, but it’s a no-show. Perhaps, they send a last-minute apology to cancel the session or you’re just completely ghosted. If they request a reschedule, should you risk reserving another hour that could go unpaid?!
You’re certainly not alone in this predicament and we’ll go over some tips to help you manage, or better yet, completely avoid this situation. According to several estimates, more than half of clients do not return after their first counselling session. If they actually pass that hurdle and complete a second session, around 37-45% don’t return for a third.
Though it may be challenging to remember and truly internalise, this drop-off rate is not proof of poor counselling skills. According to research completed by a clinical training university, both interns and experienced therapists struggled with a high percentage of drop-outs. Why? Who better to ask than the clients themselves?! Not surprisingly, this study found that “One of the most distinguishing characteristics of therapists who have low drop-out rates is that they actively seek feedback”.
How Can You Retain Clients?
Feedback is a gift, even when it may be unpleasant to process. The earlier you request it, the more likely you will be to retain a client by addressing any possible issues. Also, don’t shy away from clients who decide to discontinue their work with you. Their feedback could uncover invaluable lessons for improving your services.
You may even discover that clients are completely satisfied with your support as a counsellor, but were simply turned off by the administration side of your work. Yes, you’re highly skilled in therapeutic processes, but struggle with tasks like scheduling, invoicing, etc. Everyone values their personal time, so if just scheduling an appointment with you becomes a drain, they’re likely to stop.
Unfortunately, some clients are simply unable to afford your services. Though it may feel uncomfortable, by requiring clients to prepay for sessions, you avoid awkward follow-ups for unpaid hours. Having this conversation before counselling begins can also ensure sustainability, as you may be able to find a mutually affordable price point.
Feeling Overwhelmed? Customer Coordination Platforms to the Rescue!
Yes, ideally you would like to effectively attract new clients online, promptly schedule new appointments, routinely request client feedback, and diligently keep up with invoicing. But who has the time? You’ve put years into developing your therapeutic skills, not into becoming an efficient office administrator.
To save time, and a great deal of sweat and tears, you may want to consider customer coordination and contact platforms, like Adminly Wellness. By leveraging digital customer service tools on this platform, you can reduce the time needed for completing essential, but tedious admin tasks. While saving your time and energy, you also ensure your clients have a smooth and pleasant experience accessing your services.
Instead of emailing back and forth for days to arrange just one client consultation, let Adminly’s customer support tools and service automation do the work instead. Just add your availability to Adminly’s calendar and send your clients a link. Through this link, they can book appointments, plus receive automatic confirmations and reminders. You can rely on this digital customer service platform to organise your work schedule, rather than wasting time on arranging and rearranging appointments
In the future, Adminly will also include automated invoicing to free up even more of your valuable time. But if your skin is already crawling with even the thought of figuring out these digital customer service tools, fear not. Adminly also offers human virtual assistance to set up and maintain this digital customer coordination platform for you. Your Virtual Assistant can also develop and maintain your online presence, with a deep understanding of your services and clientele.
Adminly: Your Partner in Efficiency
Adminly Wellness, a digital customer coordination platform, can save you precious time by automating essential administrative tasks. From booking appointments to sending reminders, Adminly's customer support tools simplify the client coordination process. Additionally, the platform offers human virtual assistance, ensuring that your online presence and administrative tasks are well-maintained.
In the face of overwhelming demand and a mental health crisis, it's crucial to remember that you're not alone. Tools like Adminly are designed to empower you, allowing you to focus on what you do best—providing quality care to your clients. As you navigate the challenges of this unique moment in history, consider how customer coordination platforms can be a valuable asset on your journey to build and maintain a strong client base. Your expertise is needed now more than ever, and with the right digital customer platform, you can make a meaningful impact on the lives of those seeking mental health support.