In the wellness industry, November and December are notoriously referred to as slow months. For clients, the challenges to eating healthy and practicing healthy habits amass during the holidays. Between holiday parties, travels, and breaks in routines, many wellness practitioners find that client retention becomes problematic. Even the most consistent clients can fall off the radar during this time, and regaining them back in the New Year requires both time and effort.
To help nutrition clients keep their appointments, and stay on track with their wellness goals, finding ways to provide accountability while being flexible are essential.
Follow these tips below to keep wellness clients engaged during the holidays:
1.Create a holiday wellness challenge to increase client engagement
Nothing motivates clients more than signing up for a wellness challenge. Once committed (and paying), a wellness challenge builds in accountability during the holiday season. You’ll find your clients are more engaged with their goals, and more consistent in working towards the changes you’ve established. With that being said, your holiday wellness challenge should incorporate some flexibility. In truth, clients should be allowed to enjoy the holiday, and holiday meals, without being tied to a rigid wellness plan. Tailor your holiday wellness challenge to meet the needs and expectations of your client-base.
Some challenges (or goals) you may want to consider including:
- Keeping a daily food log
- Logging steps or recording exercise
- Adding in mindfulness challenges (ie. meditation, yoga, journaling)
- Tracking body measurements (ie. weight, percent body fat)
- Setting self-care activities (ie. sleep goals, healthy coping skills, etc)
You may also want to consider creating a prize for those who complete tasks consistently. Consider giving a gift card to members who tracked their meals every day during the challenge, or who exercised ten times during the month. Having goals for participants to work towards makes the experience more engaging. Keeping HIPAA-compliance in mind, it’s often common to create a group chat or Facebook page for those who are participating in the wellness challenge. Peer-to-peer support can increase accountability and success.
2. Offer virtual nutrition counseling sessions for flexibility
Clients who may be out of town, or have after-work obligations, can find it difficult to attend their in-person sessions. With schedule changes and travel plans (for both you and your clients), it can be hard to keep office hours that will work for all of your clients. Offering virtual sessions during the holiday season can provide the schedule flexibility and convenience your clients are looking for.
Virtual sessions can look like phone calls or video chat sessions, depending on the preference of you, and your client. You will likely find that when offered, clients may prefer a phone session during their lunch break, or before work. If you are an insurance-based provider, you client may (or may not) be covered for telehealth sessions. This depends on your client’s insurance plan. As a best practice, you can call the insurance provider directly to verify if your client is eligible for telehealth sessions, and if there are any special telehealth platform requirements.
If your client is self-pay, or is not covered for telehealth by their insurance, you may want to offer phone or video calls as an optional self-pay service. Some practices choose to set their cancellation fee the same rate as a phone session, to motivate clients to keep a phone session in lieu of cancelling their appointment.
For example, if a client calls the day-of your appointment asking to cancel or reschedule, you can state “I’m sorry, we aren’t able to reschedule your appointment due to the late cancellation policy we have in place. However, how about we do a video or phone session instead of having you come into the office today?”
Pro Tip: Choosing a HIPAA-compliant platform for telehealth sessions is critical in protecting your client’s private health information. Healthie’s EHR and telehealth platform allows you to securely schedule and launch virtual sessions with your clients.
3. Provide incentives for clients to keep appointments
Quite typically, wellness practices put a cancellation policy in place — to prevent clients from cancelling an appointment without sufficient notice. While you could, and should, have a cancellation policy in plate for your practice, you can also look at ways to incentivize clients to keep their appointment. Taking the “reward system” approach to client retention can be especially effective during the holidays, and increase client motivation.
For example, clients who attend an appointment between November-December can be entered in a raffle to win a giveaway. Or every client who attends a session can receive a discount code to use towards any ancillary services. Get creative with your incentive prizes, thinking through rewards that will work for both your wellness business and your client-base.
4. Send out a holiday message blast, and be transparent about holiday challenges
Often times clients cancel their appointments at times when they feel like they have no “good news” to report. Inherently, there is a good deal of shame and disappointment for a client when they don’t feel like they’ve been able to accomplish the goals you’ve set. As a wellness provider, you know that struggling with goals is precisely the time when your clients should check in. This gives you the opportunity to identify the challenges and put proper coping mechanisms in place to overcome them.
Being upfront about the reality of these challenges can be comforting to clients. Let them know that they aren’t alone, and that their struggles are not indicative of failure. Instead, show them the ways that your wellness business can support them during the holiday season and provide ways that they can find success. Sending out an email or message blast to your clients ensures your message is received, and will also provide you with the opportunity to promote your services (ie. virtual calls during the holidays, your holiday wellness challenge, etc.).
5. Set realistic wellness goals that are achievable during the holiday season
The first step to successful goal setting is ensuring that the goals your client puts in place are realistic. A client that was previously exercising five days/week in October, may not be able to achieve this during December. However, adjusting your goal to three days/week of exercise in December, or changing the type of exercise goal you’ve set, may be more realistic for your client. The outcome: instead of feeling as though they have “failed” their goal in December, they now are now able to accomplish it, finding success.
There are many clients who can feel quickly derailed once they are not consistently accomplishing their goals. Taking a more flexible, and realistic approach to goal setting during challenging times like the holidays can be just what your client needs to stay motivated – and retain their sessions.
Want to learn how Healthie can help you improve client retention this holiday season? Start your free trial today.
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