This week I received a terrific question from a student who was doing my So You Want to Start a Pilates Business online program. I thought others might benefit from my response because everyone has clients, customers and/or patients to follow up.
Hello Ingrid, I’m working through your online program and I need your help please.
Is there any template or any formula I can apply to my studio as a follow-up process for new and regular clients?
I have noticed that sometimes when I am not physically present in the studio it is hard to have a track of all the clients and I tend to forget to speak to someone or to ask about their progress etc
Because I haven’t automated a system for that, I guess my clients could feel really lonely sometimes.
Do you have any suggestions to address this problem?
Thank you, Claudia
This is such a terrific question and one of my favourite topics. I get asked this exact question or some version of it at least once a week if not more often.
Claudia, you’ve asked for a formula and it is actually quite simple:
Book time into your calendar to follow up with clients and do it – just call them.
The truth is that when we don’t have an automated system to follow, things don’t get done.
The trick is to set up a system.
Follow up is something that pretty much every business can implement.
A few questions for you to consider as you get started:
* Who do you want to follow up?
* Why do you want to follow up with your client?
* What do you want your client to do as a result of your following up?
I work with many different health professionals and client based businesses so let me give you a few examples of the ways I have worked with my clients to help them to follow up with their clients, patients and customers.
You may find some of these ideas inspire you for how to follow up with your new and regular clients.
Case study Number 1:
Recently I’ve been working with a physiotherapist and they’ve instigated a system where every single new patient receives a phone call on the day following their first treatment.
It’s a courtesy call with a “How did it go?” style and tone and includes “Do you have any questions regarding your treatment? Or the exercises you’ve been given?”
Every single client receives this call the day after their first treatment. They also have other follow up calls during the first weeks of treatment.
Retention rate for this practice? Close to 90%
Case study Number 2:
I’m working with a yoga client in the US and she runs a mix of small group sessions and larger unlimited classes.
When a new client books a session she and any other instructor makes a point of speaking to that person when they first come into the room, they help them find a spot to lay out their mat and let them know where the water fountain is and bathrooms etc.
Yes, might sound basic – right? Amazing how many people don’t do this – just leave new people to find everything themselves.
At this studio they also introduce new people to another regular member of the class.
They also ask the new client to please stay for a few minutes after the class is finished. At the end of the class they check in to see how they went – and of course they were aware of their progress during the class.
One of the key messages they say is “It is super important for you to come back tomorrow, is there any reason you cannot come? Can you come the next day?” and together they book them with the booking app into their next session.
This is repeated for a number of sessions. Important to note this is done from a welcoming and caring perspective and not a finger-wagging, disciplinary approach. (You know what I’m talking about here!)
Retention rate at this yoga studio: almost 95%
Claudia, I am so glad you asked this question. As you can see, when we actively follow up, our clients stay longer …
Here is one more example of an effective follow up system.
Case study Number 3:
One of my dental clients wanted to follow up with her patients. Originally she wanted to call all of them and then wondered if that might be a bit weird.
So alternatively she opted to call all the patients she saw on any day who had a big treatment – for example a large filling or an extraction.
We mapped out how it would work. At the time of the treatment she lets them know she’ll be checking in with them the next day and asks what is the best way to call them, the best number to reach them on. Every day she sets aside time in the morning to make these calls and … she … calls … them.
Another member of the team is responsible for calling the new patients and a different team member calls all the regular patients after their treatment. Everyone gets a call!
Together we developed the wording for each scenario, we worked together to practice and “role play” so that it feels normal and comfortable. The team love it and their patients love them for calling!
Retention rate for this dental practice: 87% year on year
Claudia as you can see there is no one right way to do this. Based on your studio, your client mix, the types of sessions you offer – your system for follow up will be different to everyone else reading my response to your question.
As I said, this is a topic I believe is a game changer when it comes to staying connected with your clients.
Claudia, I believe in you. You know how to do this. You care about your clients, you care about them taking care of themselves and you know that when they keep coming back it makes all the difference in their lives.
Your clients don’t want to feel lonely, or invisible. No-one does.
In the world today where everything is technology and automation, it doesn’t take much to make people feel special by giving them the personal touch.
This is why you do what you do …. Please let me know how it goes!
kind regards, Ingrid
Have you implemented a follow up system in your business? I’d love to hear what’s working for you.
If you’re a bit stuck, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org and we can work on it together!
I truly believe that how we follow up makes an enormous difference to how clients, customers and patients feel about our businesses.
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