Just as we check the weather outside to decide on our attire, we also have to pay attention to the changing climates in our local culture, in order to make appropriate changes in our business practices. And in today’s communications climate, nearly everyone has a smartphone and everyone is texting. Have you considered making changes to your business communications based on these cultural climate changes? Consider the following good reasons to develop texting relationships with your clients.
Improve Response Time
Let’s say a client leaves you a message. Normally, you would return phone calls later in the day, after your appointments, to answer questions or to get them on your schedule. You may even need to play phone tag with them, because you weren’t available at the same time. However, if you have their permission to text, you could quickly respond to their message in between sessions, while your next client is getting ready in the treatment room. Texting a quick message doesn’t disturb the quiet atmosphere of your office in the same way an out-loud phone call does. Your current clients are undisturbed, and the client who left a message receives a much quicker response time. Win-win.
Send Successful Reminders
Are you making reminder calls the day before each scheduled appointment? If not, you should be. This reduces no-shows and gives you an opportunity to fill appointment spots that are not confirmed. Usually we have to leave messages and many times our calls are not returned. However, if you get your clients’ permission to text, you can text those reminders quicker than making phone calls. Plus, clients are more likely to respond immediately with “yes, I can’t wait to see you tomorrow” or “oh no, I forgot, can we reschedule?” If you get the latter response, you then have the opportunity to fill an empty appointment spot right away.
Fill Empty Appointment Spots
When a client cancels or reschedules, and you have an unexpected opening, you can fill that spot more easily if you can communicate to all your clients at once. There are apps that allow you to send group text messages (with client confidentiality preserved) like, “I just had a cancellation for 2pm this afternoon. The first to respond gets that appointment spot.” You could even give a reduced rate for the spot, which is still better than losing a whole session for the day. You reduce the amount of income you lose from cancellations, and your clients appreciate the opportunity for a last-minute treatment.
Make Checking-In Easier
Do you make follow-up calls to your clients a day or so after their treatments? You should, at the very least, check-in with new clients to see how they are responding to their first treatment. If you get your clients’ permission to text, you can send follow-ups throughout the day, in between sessions, rather than waiting until the end of the day (when you are tired) to make a bunch of phone calls. Regular check-ins let your clients know you are thinking about them. It also helps them feel comfortable asking questions about their treatment plan.
I highly recommend you add something to your intake form that asks permission to text and invite your clients to text you with any questions. It’s a familiar climate for most people and it will improve your customer service, setting you apart from other wellness practitioners.
EXTREMELY IMPORTANT NOTE:
I absolutely do NOT support texting with potential clients—people you have never met in person and have never received a treatment from you. As a professional, you should first develop that professional relationship over the phone and in person. Texting should be an extension of an already-existing, therapeutic relationship.