Retaining clients and keeping your schedule full is an essential part of making it in the competitive world of physical therapy. Of course, the number one driver of client retention is something you’re already doing: providing high-quality service that helps your clients strengthen and improve their bodies. But other strategies that can also increase your retention rates may fall by the wayside. Interpersonal client engagement, professional development, expanding your offerings, and giving opportunities for feedback are all ways you can encourage your clients to keep coming back and keep your schedule packed. We’ve put together a simple guide on how to incorporate these strategies into your daily practice below – let’s take a look.
Client engagement is a general, jargon-y way of talking about clients who turn up and follow through on the exercises you give them. An engaged client is an ideal client, because it feels like they’re taking you and your job seriously. But encouraging engagement can often be tough, even when the client does truly want to improve their performance. One way to encourage engagement is to just be a good person that they’re happy to be around! It sounds simple, but being friendly, conversational, and interested in their life outside of being your client can lead to a much more engaged relationship.
On a similar note, it’s important to make a good first impression! Not just being a nice person, but also being confident in your skills, explaining how you operate, and addressing any immediate questions or concerns the client may have off the bat is vital. This is where using objective assessment technology like AxIT can help to clearly show imbalances and deficiencies and illustrate the improvement your client has made under your care to help build trust and rapport. Once your initial assessment is done, clearly outlining your treatment plan with exercises, goals, and timelines is a great way to make a positive first impression and put your client on the right path to engagement.
In our daily work alongside physical therapists, we notice a lot of disparity between those who go above and beyond with their continuing education, and those who maintain the bare minimum. It is absolutely essential that you stay up-to-date with the latest research and techniques to provide your clients with the highest quality of care possible. Incorporating evidence-based practice into your work also means that you’re able to show your clients real, solid data about what is happening with their body, which can be a great motivator!
There is also constant innovation within the technology being created for the sports and health industries. Keeping up with the current offerings, and what’s on the horizon, is as important for your own professional wellbeing as it is for your clients’ – after all, these emerging technologies are being made to address issues that physios just like you face every day. Companies like us here at Strength By Numbers are developing new ways to measure your clients’ performance; new practice management platforms and scheduling systems are regularly providing new efficiencies for your admin; new social media platforms and strategies are emerging all the time to assist with your marketing efforts. Streamlining the ways you work can help you provide a better service to your clients, and making the process easy and comprehensive for them is guaranteed to boost their engagement.
Alongside your continuing education, building additional offerings for your clients is a great way to keep them engaged in their therapy journey. Using AxIT, many of our customers have been able to create assessment-specific services to help generate new revenue streams and assist clients to engage with their exercise plans. Speaking of exercise plans, giving your clients exercises to do at home is a standard part of a rehabilitation program – but what if you were to film yourself exercising alongside them? Or what if you had an app that reminds them and guides them when they need to do their workouts? And the options don’t stop there. Group sessions, non-therapeutic workouts, virtual events, workbooks or tracking documents – there are a lot of ways that you can engage your clients outside of their scheduled appointments that can boost both your relationship with them and their overall health and wellbeing.
Giving your clients a chance to offer you feedback is the best way to grow and improve your practice. No matter whether you do a more formal digital survey, or just have a chat with them in person, getting and implementing feedback is vital to improving as a therapist.
When assessing the feedback you receive, remember that negative feedback is always more useful than positive. If a client says “My therapist was really great!”, that of course feels good and proves that what you’re doing is working. But, when a client says they didn’t enjoy their time with you, didn’t see results, or something similarly negative, it’s important to take an objective look at what happened with that client, why it happened, and what can be done to ensure it doesn’t happen again. It takes a lot of commitment and self-assertion to take negative feedback in stride, but it’s a good opportunity for professional growth, and it’s guaranteed to boost your clients’ engagement in the long run.
Here at Strength By Numbers, we’ve developed a powerful toolset called AxIT to help physical therapists comprehensively assess their clients’ strength levels in ways that traditional testing just can’t match. But we go beyond just the tools – we’ve designed our data dashboard to be as clear and readable as possible to help your clients see how their exercises are directly improving their bodies. We’ve seen direct improvements in client engagement in clinics that use AxIT, purely because those clients can see their results so clearly. If that sounds like it’d be useful in your practice, head over to https://go.strengthbynumbers.com/home today to begin your journey towards boosted client engagement.