You can also listen to the podcast episode on this topic here…
Therapists not returning phone calls from potential clients is a REAL PROBLEM. I understand why it happens, but that’s no excuse. We’ve got to do better as a profession.
I’ve had colleagues to return a potential client call two days later only to hear that they were the only one out of 10 therapists that called back.
I see both sides.
As A Therapist…
I get it! We are the only person running our practice. We are wearing 15 different hats, and it’s really difficult to stay on top of everything. We have to be the Owner, CEO, Marketing Specialist, Accountant, Receptionist, Social Media Manager, Bookkeeper, and so on. There’s bound to be something that falls through the cracks.
That ‘something’ is usually responding to a long list of voicemails at the end of your already busy day. It’s 6:15pm, you just finished up with a full day of clients, you still need to run by the grocery store on the way home, cook dinner, and do some laundry. The last thing on your mind is your voicemails. You decide that you will find time tomorrow, and tomorrow never comes.
As A Potential Client…
This can be incredibly frustrating. You may have been considering therapy for a while and have just worked up the courage to reach out for support when you are most vulnerable – only to have NO ONE respond to you. None of the people that are supposed to be there to help you can even return your call. This is very discouraging, and you may not have the energy to keep chasing down a therapist.
We have a responsibility to the potential clients who are reaching out to us for help. They deserve respect. And they deserve a response.
As you may be aware, I hate answering my phone. I struggled with this early on in my practice. I would always ignore my phone, even when I needed clients. In my defense, the phone never seemed to ring at an appropriate time.
I would get a call when I was with a client, when I was driving, when I was in line at the grocery store, when I was out to dinner with friends, when I was watching a movie at home – you get the picture.
I always returned phone calls, but it was a dreaded chore. For example, every day or two I had something like the following: 3 telemarketing calls (which I wanted to ignore anyway) and 5 voicemails from potential clients.
The first client didn’t leave any contact information.
I returned the call from the second client only to reach a voicemail box that was full (so I had to make a note to try again the next day).
I reached a voicemail for the third client and left a message.
The fourth client answered the phone but had already booked with a therapist earlier in the day.
And the fifth client was just calling to see if I accepted insurance – which I do not.
What Did I Do About This Problem?
If you’re like me, you don’t want to grow your practice beyond yourself. You want to be able to manage all the aspects of your practice – which is quite an undertaking. But you CAN do it with the help of technology.
Because I struggled with this problem the first couple years of my practice, I was able to come up with a thoughtful solution. A solution in which I didn’t have to change any of my natural, preferred behaviors. I’m never going to like answering my phone, so I found a way that I never have to – which actually works out better for both me and my clients.
I’m able to give clients the information they need to make an informed decision about working with me, and they can decide if they want to follow through and book a phone consultation.
This system has worked wonders for me. My phone is always on silent, I have an average of one voicemail per month, and I’m booking new, ideal clients weekly.
Are You Interested In Solving This Problem Too?
That’s why I’ve created an online course for therapists to walk you through the process of setting up your very own system so that you can continue ignoring your phone and still book ideal clients.
By setting up this system and letting technology do the work for you, you can relax knowing that the potential clients reaching out to you are well taken care of and know what to expect.
You can find out more about the course, and decide if it’s the solution you’ve been searching for, here.
I Want You To Be Successful In Business & In Life!
Starting, growing, and maintaining a business is a big deal. It's super-exciting and super-scary all at the same time. I created Mountain Practice Journeys to support you through the difficult and muddy terrain, and to celebrate with you when you have reached each summit of the many mountains you will conquer on your journey.
Happy Climbing, Cindy