How do your clients experience your private practice?
Have you ever thought about all the stages that a client will go through, from knowing nothing about you to deciding to work with you and then becoming one of your best clients?
Whether you’ve thought about it or not, clients are having an experience with your brand.
Every interaction with you and your practice is leaving an impression upon them, whether it’s a good one or bad one.
But if you’re intentional with how you want new and current clients to feel as they experience your therapy services, you can leave your clients feeling like they’ve made the best decision to work with you.
In this episode of the Private Practice Elevation Podcast, I share with you how “user experience” can help you attract more clients and create fans who help share your services with others.
In this episode, you’ll learn:
- What “user experience” is and how you can intentionally design how people are feeling as they interact with your private practice
- The 8 phases that clients will go through as they experience you and your services
- Ideas to help you improve your clients’ experiences so that they can’t help but refer you to others
- Simple steps to help you asses your current client experience and map out areas for improvement
Download The Free Client Experience Worksheet
To get you started, I’ve created a simple worksheet that will help you asses how your clients currently interact with your private practice and then think about ways to improve it. Just subscribe to download it and start filling it out.
User Experience Design & Your Private Practice
So what is user experience design and what the heck does it mean for your therapy practice?
I love the definition of UX design (as the nerdy folks like myself like to call it) given by Joshua Porter in this article from UserTesting:
“[User experience design is] design with an awareness of every touchpoint that makes up the overall experience with your product or service.”
I love that because it implies the emotion of the potential client that is interacting with you and your practice from start to finish.
How does a client feel when they go to your website?
How does a client feel when they call you or fill out a form?
How do they feel when they show up to your office and what are their first impressions of your space?
How will a first counseling session be conducted?
Think of some of your own experiences with a service or brand that really made you feel great.
Those feelings most likely didn’t just happen, but the company intended to create an experience that left you with a positive connection with their brand.
While a website may have played a part in that experience, I’m sure there were many other points in which you interacted with the brand or service that made you feel comfortable doing business with them and maybe even excited.
That’s user experience design!
It includes all the ways that potential clients interact with you and the entire process they go through from first glance at your website to leaving your office after their first session.
The 8 Phases of The Client Experience
In this episode, I dive into the 8 phases that your potential therapy clients will go through as they interact with your brand.
These phases were taken from Joey Coleman’s book, Never Lose A Customer Again.
You can listen to the episode for more about each phase, but here is a list of the typical steps your clients will go through:
- Assess – A potential client is deciding whether they want to do therapy with you
- Admit – A potential client admits they have a need or problem and they believe you can solve it with your services
- Affirm – A client feels a bit of “buyer’s remorse” as they enter into business with you and you must affirm their decision
- Activate – Marks the beginning of a client’s service with you (i.e. first therapy session)
- Acclimate – Your client becomes accustomed to your way of doing business and your process of therapy
- Accomplish – The client achieves the result they were seeking when they first decided to do therapy with you. You’re delivering on the hopes they had when they first began therapy with you
- Adopt – The client takes some ownership in the relationship and deepens their loyalty to you and your service
- Advocate – Your therapy client becomes a fan and will refer you to others who can benefit from your practice
You can use these 8 phases as a guide for thinking about what your client is feeling at each phase and find creative ways to affirm that working with you is/was the best decision the could make.
How to Design An Experience That Will Keep Your Clients Coming & Refer You To More People
Step 1: Choose A Phase to Focus On
Use the free worksheet or take out a piece of paper and start by choosing one of the 8 phases that clients will pass through as they experience your private practice.
You could start with the phase you think needs the most improvement.
Step 2: Understand How Your Client is Feeling
Next, I want you to think about how they’re feeling at this stage in the therapy process.
Are they at the beginning, or Assess Phase, and feeling hopeless and nervous to share their challenges with a therapist?
Tap into that empathy side of your work and list out some of the emotions you think your clients are feeling.
Step 3: Break it Down
The next step is to break down the phase into sub-steps where you can laser focus on what your client will go through and, most importantly, what they will feel along the way.
Think about what you’re currently doing and the steps your clients are going through.
Using the Assess Phase as our example, perhaps your clients find you on Psychology Today, then visit your website, and then email you to learn more.
Step 4: Look For Ways to Wow Your Clients
Now that you know what you’re currently doing, look for holes in the process where you can wow your clients and remind them that therapy with you is different and it’s the best decision they’ve made.
You’re looking to create hope and affirm their decisions along the way.
Let’s use your website as an example of one of these steps.
List out as many ways as you can to improve the experience that people are having with you at the Assess Phase of their experience with your practice when they may be more likely to visit your website.
Another example of a step you may have in your clients’ experience is the first visit.
How can you make this crucial visit stand out to your client and let them feel like they just made the best decision to come to see you for therapy?
You may come up with things like:
- Offering tea or coffee in the waiting room to create a comforting and homey environment
- Having spa music playing in the waiting room to relax people as they come in from the stress of the outside world helping them transition to their therapy time
- Finding wall art with an affirming saying on it that will be the first thing they see as they enter your office
Get creative and brainstorm as many ways as you can to wow your clients.
Step 5: Implement
The last step is the ongoing one and that’s to implement the ideas you just came up with.
I suggest focusing on one phase of the client experience and put some of your changes in place.
This will help you dive in deep and make some solid steps forward before addressing the next phase.
I hope this episode was helpful as you think about the experience your clients are already having with your private practice brand and how you can make it even better.
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