In nutritional care, working with clients to create long-lasting habit change requires more than a single consultation. You work with your clients over many weeks, months, and even years, to help them reach their long-term nutritional goals.
But how many times have you seen a client so excited to start working with you, but then slowly see their interest trickle away before you can make real progress? Oftentimes this coincides with old behaviors resurfacing. What if you could prevent this drop-off with better client engagement strategies?
Improving the health and wellness of your clients through changes in habits and behavior is hard, which is why increasing client engagement is essential to help your clients reach their health and wellness goals. No matter your niche, finding ways to increase client engagement is key to ensure long-term positive outcomes. With advances in technology and the wide availability of smartphones, engaging with your nutrition clients between sessions has never been easier.
Here are 8 benefits of using a client engagement tool in your nutrition clinic:
1. Creates relationships with clients over time
Real progress and change takes time. As a nutrition professional, the amount of time you’ll need to work with each client may vary, depending on their goals — but we do know that facilitating change takes more than one consultation. It’s important to build a rapport with clients, so that they can trust you and your process. Engaging with your clients as you work together lets you give them the feedback and support they need to stay motivated and make changes. You’ll find that as you engage with clients, retention is improved, and a real trusting relationship can be established.
2. Allows you to connect with clients in real-time
When you connect with your clients during sessions, they typically will recap their trials and tribulations since your last visit. While it is helpful to review these challenges, engaging with your clients between sessions allows you to address challenges as they happen. Real-time support is a powerful motivator for wellness clients. Client engagement allows you to deliver client care when it matters most.
3. Facilitates ways to support multiple clients at once
As your client load increases, it can be difficult to provide the one-to-one engagement and support you desire. The truth is, there are so many hours in the day, and this additional time you’re spending between sessions may be limited. Using the right client engagement tools can allow you to connect with multiple clients at once. In nutritional care, this may look like:
- Group webinars or support sessions
- Message blasts or group chats
- Sharing nutritional resources with a group of clients
- Creating an automated online wellness program that a multitude of clients can participate in
- Running a wellness challenge to drive engagement with many clients
No matter which client engagement model you use, delivering quality care to multiple clients at once will help you save time, and ensure that all of your clients are receiving regular touchpoints.
4. Highlights trends in your clients’ nutritional intake
When working with clients, helping them make changes to their dietary intake requires an understanding of what they are currently consuming on a day-to-day basis. While asking clients to recall their intake is a common method used, it often doesn’t share the whole picture of what they are eating. The truth is, we very quickly forget what we consume in a day — which reflects human nature (more than dishonest reporting). Studies show that self-reporting intake, even in a 24-hour recall is unreliable.
In the recent past we have seen a boom in health apps that help clients log, track, and analyze their meals. As a nutrition provider, having access to view these logs helps to reveal a more accurate picture of a client’s typical intake. Food logging over time allows for trends to be identified — and gives you the ability to make realistic dietary suggestions to clients, based on these trends.
5. Allows nutrition professionals to give personalized dietary recommendations
More than ever, clients are seeking personalized wellness recommendations from their healthcare providers. Clients are no longer satisfied with a generic handout, meal plan, or overly generalized recommendation — they want to know what dietary changes to make to their current diet that will actually work for their lifestyle. By connecting and engaging with clients, and learning about their dietary habits and challenges in real-time, nutrition professionals are able to give recommendations that work for each individual client. These tailored recommendations help to drive client success.
6. Demonstrates client progress over time
A major drop-off in client motivation occurs when they can’t see the progress they are making. The reality is, change takes time and this effort is not always reflected by the scale. So what are other ways we can help clients see the progress they’ve made?
✔️Create achievable goals for clients that they can keep track of, and refer back to over time.
✔️Set custom metrics for clients to track that relate to their health challenges. (How are their blood sugar levels doing? Has their blood pressure improved? Is their cholesterol level now within a normal range?)
✔️ Have clients articulate health outcomes that they would like to accomplish, beyond weight. (Do they want to have more energy? Or feel stronger? Or improve their cooking skills?) Identifying these personalized goals will give clients a strong sense of accomplishment over time.
Using these strategies show clients the changes that they’ve made, and the success they’ve achieved, beyond the scale.
7. Keeps clients accountable and motivated towards making change
Beyond making some steps towards change, health goals are achieved when clients can make consistent habit-forming changes. Finding consistency in these goals can be a challenge, and part of what clients are meeting with their nutritional provider for is accountability. Having someone monitoring their progress allows them to stay focused. Using client engagement tools to review client food journal entries, give real-time meal suggestions, answer questions, and more, instills a sense of accountability.
When clients can stay on track with their day-to-day changes, they’re taking strides towards their long-term health goals.
8. Drives revenue for your nutrition clinic
While we’ve been highlighting the benefits of client engagement activities, you may have found yourself wondering — but how will I be paid for this added time? The reality is, checking in with clients between sessions, answering their questions, and engaging with them does take time. When you multiply this across your full client load, this can add up to a lot of additional time. If you accept insurance in your practice then you know that only time spent in session can be billed for reimbursement, so client engagement time is not time you can expect to be paid for, right?
The service that you provide is valuable and you deserve to receive compensation for it. For self-pay nutrition professionals, these added services can be built into client packages. Not only does adding between-session support to your plans make them more attractive, but you can charge more for them. Many people will create a “concierge” service package that includes the added support, and will offer it as an upsell option to existing or prospective nutrition clients.
For insurance-based nutrition practices, while you can’t bill insurance for between-session time, you can create an accountability subscription to offer clients at a self-pay rate. Think through pricing that will work best for your clients, but for the ones who are interested in the added accountability and support, they can choose to pay out-of-pocket for your time.
How Healthie Facilitates Client Engagement
Using multiple client engagement tools — from emails to text messages, to tracking food journals across varying apps — quickly becomes time consuming. It can be hard to keep track of a single client, or provide the consistent client care you desire. To help nutrition professionals connect with clients, Healthie launched a computer and mobile app. Both nutrition providers and clients receive a secure login.
From a Healthie account, wellness professionals are able to:
- See photos of your client meals and make comments on each entry
- Message individual clients, a group, or send a blast message
- Connect via video chat for telehealth calls
- Create automated online programs for your clients
- Set goals for each client, and monitor their progress
- Customize and track metrics (or allow clients to log metrics)
Even more, Healthie is meant to be fully customizable, so that it works for your client-base. For example, if you work with eating disorder clients, you can easily hide any metrics or food journal settings that may be triggering to your clients. Adjust client engagement settings for your entire organization, a group of clients, and even for an individual client, to control how you engage with your clients.
Want to see how Healthie can transform your client engagement process? Start your free trial today.
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