Creating a Client Retention Strategy for your Wellness Practice

It’s clear that growing a wellness practice, requires a lot of time, energy and resources to ensure a steady stream of new clients. While this is a crucial part of your business growth, client retention is a large determinant of long-term success. Dedicating equal amounts of time and resources towards client retention, will both increase your revenue and client success over time.

While some clients may only be working with you short-term, the majority of your clients are likely looking for support to make long-term changes in their lives. Ultimately, your clients are seeking your services for guidance, support and accountability. As wellness professionals, you stress the importance of consistent check-ins to achieve real change, but what happens when they start to fall of your schedule?

Having a clear client retention strategy ensures that you’re staying top-of-mind with your clients, with improved retention and outcomes. Over time, this increases revenue for your business.

Here are 4 ways you can start improving client retention, and establish a strategy that works for your wellness practice.

1. Set expectations upfront, and retain clients long-term

Whether it’s on a discovery call, or initial session, speaking to your client about the process of working together is important. Outline for your new client how you’ll work together, what follow-up sessions will look like, how often you’ll meet. You’ll also want to discuss what the time-frame for success looks like. Being clear in how you’ll work together, will help the client have realistic expectations. This will help to decrease the number of clients that come for a couple of sessions and then fall off because they were looking for a quick fix for their problems.

Many wellness professionals choose to offer packages of sessions, as opposed to one-off sessions. A package offer clearly shows prospective clients upfront what the process of working together looks like, and provides a structured timeline for working together. Even more, it helps with accountability and retention. If a client purchases a 3 month or 6 month plan, they are committing to working together for that time, and will likely have better success!

Related: Client Packages for Your Nutrition Practice

2. Connect with your client between sessions for improved client retention

There’s one thing all wellness professionals know, and it’s change is hard. Clients work with you in your practice because they are looking for support and accountability to help them achieve their wellness goals. Working together during sessions is one part of the support you provide, but the between session connections can be even more instrumental in the success of your clients.

Connecting with your clients between sessions, checking in on their progress and providing support goes a long way with client retention. Some ways you may want to connect with your clients:

  • Check in and ask how their day/week is going
  • Ask if they’ve been facing any challenges
  • Help them focus on relevant goals for them to work on that day/week
  • Provide a supportive word or motivational message, especially if a client is struggling

Creating a Client Retention Strategy for your Wellness Practice

The Healthie Chat platform is a HIPAA-compliant way for you to connect with your clients in real time. Phone, text and email connections are not secure and puts your client private health information at risk. Through the Healthie mobile app or desktop, you can quickly message your client(s) in an individual message, community chat (group message) or blast messages (like bcc’ing multiple clients). If you work as part of a team, the Healthie platform also allows you to create an internal group chat for your group practice.

Related: Chat: a secure way to connect with your clients between sessions

Pro Tip: How to get paid for your time spent communicating with clients between sessions

Connecting with clients between sessions can be time-consuming, and often is not time that you’re getting paid for. As your client load grows, you may want to charge for this added service. You can bundle “between session communication” (ie. chat messages, food diary revues, check-ins) in a service package. If you’re primarily insurance-based, you may want to offer this as a concierge service (add-on) that a client can purchase for separately (ie. $20/month for

3. Review your client schedule weekly (and monthly!)

As your practice grows, and your schedule gets busy, it can be challenging to keep clients on top-of mind. Many clients won’t actively reach out between sessions, and over time may start to fall off your schedule. Reviewing your calendar at the end of every week or downloading your client list for the month, will help you proactively reach out to your clients. Run through your client list regularly to touch-base and let your clients know you’re here to support them. These periodic check-ins will help to keep your clients motivated, and improve client retention.

Creating a Client Retention Strategy for your Wellness Practice

4. Always have a follow-up on the schedule, for optimal client retention

If you work with clients to schedule individual follow-ups (versus packages), clients without a follow-up on the schedule can quickly fall off. They may forget to follow-up, you may forget to reach out to them, and in the end, a client that would have kept working with you is lost.

Rule of thumb: always make sure a client has an appointment on the calendar at the end of your session. Let your fears of being a “pushy salesman,” go. A client is coming to you because you are the expert that is going to help them achieve their goals. Just like you make strong recommendations for their nutrition, health and activity, recommend when the appropriate time to meet again would be.

ie . “I suggest that we meet every 2 weeks to help you stay on track, and reach your goals. So let’s go ahead and put your next session on the calendar. If you need to reschedule, it’s no problem, you can always call or email me to let me know!”

Even if a client is unsure of their calendar, suggest that you put an appointment on the calendar for now, and if they need to reschedule, they can reach out anytime (if you have a cancellation policy, now is the time to mention it!) If you don’t offer package sessions, you can still book out multiple sessions for a client in advance. Make an appointment recurring, or schedule out the next couple of sessions, so your client feels like there is a clear plan of action and accountability.

Related: Should I Establish a Cancellation Policy?

Putting these client retention strategies into action will provide a boost to your client base. As you retain your clients, they’ll have improved outcomes. Even more, with more clients successfully achieving their goals, they’ll be more likely to recommend and refer your services, which in turn will bring more new leads into your practice.

To learn how Healthie can help you automate and streamline your client retention strategies, schedule a demo today.

Stefanie Mendez, MS RD CDN

Stefanie is a New York City-based dietitian, with a master's degree in clinical nutrition from New York University. As a dietitian, Stefanie has spent her career working in private practice, helping her clients achieve healthier, more fulfilling lives. Looking for ways to support and mentor other dietitians, Stefanie found her calling when she joined the Healthie marketing team. Although she still counsels clients, she is able to write, connect and inspire other dietitians to make the leap as entrepreneurs.

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