In the past I didn't follow up with clients or customers I hadn't seen in a while. I figured people would just call or connect again when they were ready. Last week I noticed that my counseling load dropped due to summer vacations and kids in school taking a break till the fall. I decided to call back some clients I had seen in the winter to say hello and see how they were doing.
I made ten calls and six went to voicemail. Two answered and they each said they had been thinking about rescheduling appointments and made them on the spot. For the other two I reached, one said she will call back when things are quieter and the other said that she had resolved the marital issue but was glad I called. She also asked if I worked with eating disorders because her sister is bulimic.
From the six voicemails, two people called back and one of them set up an appointment for her “daughter with an attitude". The second caller told me that she started an exercise program and will pursue that through the summer and appreciated that I thought of her and would call if the need arose.
I learned something from this. People are busy and clients not calling back to reschedule does not have to indicate indicate a lack of interest or disappointment in the counseling sessions. I know for myself, I've been meaning to call back my chiropractor for three months but just haven't fit it in to my schedule.
Sometimes because we talk to people all day, we welcome our breaks and cancellations as time to surf the internet, call friends or read a good book. To build your practice, take half an hour a week to call people back you haven't seen in a few months. Don't be pushy, just ask someone how they are and tell them you are still available if they want to try to sort out some issues. Some people use coupons or specials as an incentive, especially in summer.
Another thing that is useful is to get someone's e-mail address when you meet with a new client or re-schedule with a former one . I tell people that I send out free tips once or twice a month via an e-mail newsletter. This is a nice way to give people ideas to apply outside of the sessions and it will go to people who may have not returned after a few sessions. Staying in touch is important and remember how you feel when you receive a follow up caring call or correspondence from someone.
Dee Cohen is a licensed social worker and has inexpensive and free marketing follow up ideas at Client Appreciation Tips where you can visit and learn more about how to stay connected to your clients at http://www.outside-the-box.net