Many practitioners I speak with struggle to have enough clients each week. Some of this is not enough coming through the door and some is poor client retention.
A regular question I ask practitioners is ‘how many of your clients come back after their first appointment?’ Improving your client retention is the key to a successful private practice. This is not about getting clients to come back just to make money it’s about educating them as to what they need and letting them make the decision.
Do you track your client retention?
If not then it’s time to start. I have a list of all clients that visit my practice and how many times they come back. If you don’t know these figures you can’t address any potential problems that will affect your practice growth.
What’s a good client retention rate?
If more than 20% of you new clients don’t return you have a problem. Most practitioners take this as a sign that what they did in their treatment didn’t work and the result is self-esteem plummets. Then comes price reductions, free treatments, and general devaluing leading to further self esteem damage.
In most cases it doesn’t have much to do with this at all. Client retention comes down to a few common issues.
Why don’t clients come back?
The client didn’t know what to expect.
Sometimes a treatment can initially exacerbate symptoms. It’s rare in my experience for a clients issue to be completely resolved in one session. If they don’t know this and even a small amount of the symptom remains they think what you did didn’t work. Then you both lose. Effective client education will solve this issue, improve client retention, your results and your practice growth
You as a practitioner lack confidence.
Your end of treatment conversation didn’t reassure the client. We all lack confidence, even me. If you do practice your end of consultation conversation. Be clear about what you want to say and how you want to say it. This isn’t false it’s basic preparation. The more you are prepared will help you build your confidence and inspire your clients confidence in you. Clients returning ensure the health outcomes you are both aiming for.
The client didn’t feel respected.
We forget sometimes because we do this every day we can without meaning to become casual. It has happened to all of us. Make sure you keep up your standards of care by explaining to clients what you are doing. Don’t assume knowledge, as you will regret it. Speak to your clients as a human being and never talk down to them. A little bit of care and consideration does wonders for everyone. Excellence in customer service is part of the care process.
Your clinic doesn’t look like one.
If you want people to take you seriously as a professional health care practitioner then you need to present as one. Make your clinic space clean, fresh, simple and tidy. Choose the theme of your space and make sure everything fits into it. If you like eclectic keep it at home as chaos doesn’t instill confidence.
Your clinic doesn’t work.
Make sure everything works as it should. A broken chair, frayed towels or the wrong music says unprofessional in decibels
Clients who don’t book in for their next appointment before they leave often don’t come back. This is largely because life gets in the way and they forget. In my practice no one leaves without being offered a follow up appointment. Clients who don’t come back are called to check in and make sure they are ok. In my experience 80% of these calls result in the client booking another appointment. There is no sales hustle just straight forward client care.
The client was a tyre kicker.
That is they weren’t really serious. Be wary of making this excuse too easily. Tyre kickers should account for no more than 5% of people who don’t return, that’s being generous. Never make this judgment when seeing someone, it’s not your call. Treat everyone with the same care and respect. Because they are paying you for it.
If your clients aren’t coming back don’t accept it. Work out why and do something about it? Private practice success is something that requires your infinite attention. Work out practice management solutions that fit with your style of practice. That way it will run smoothly, efficiently and your clients will return and tell their friends.
Not sure how? We are experts in client retention and want to help you grow your practice. Feel free to contact us to organise a consultation. We’re here to help.