Improving Client Retention in Your Practice | FP 93

Are you struggling with client retention in your practice? What are some good tips on how to improve your client retention? How can you create a good relationship with clients from the get-go to encourage them to return?

In this podcast episode, Whitney Owens addresses the issue of improving client retention in your private practice.

In This Podcast

  • What is retention?
  • How are clients experiencing you?
  • How can we improve client retention?

What is retention?

Client retention is the rate that you’re able to keep clients at your practice. So, how often are clients continuing their services with you? (Whitney Owens)

Due to a study completed in 2009, it was found that:

  • 35% of clients do not come back after the first session, and
  • 50% of clients do not show up after the third session.

This is something to think about with regard to your practice. Are your numbers similar? Then you are in the average, however, you can still work to improve these statistics.

Not only will you make more money if clients stay with your practice longer, but it is also important for the clients and their healing journey if they can stick to it and remain consistent in their therapy.

How are clients experiencing you?

When a client schedules at your practice, I encourage you to think about how much did that cost, and how many client sessions would that client need to attend to break even? To pay yourself, pay your expenses and to not lose money because you invested so much in acquiring them. (Whitney Owens)

This averages out to about four to six sessions, depending on if you are a cash-pay or insurance-pay practice.

You can share this information with your clinicians so that they know how important it is to work to retain any new clients, as well as encouraging their therapeutic treatment and forming strong relationships with them.

Most clients start to find relief from their symptoms after sessions spanning six to eight weeks. During this time, the clinician can learn about the family of origin and understand more of the root cause behind a client’s suffering.

This begs the question: why are clients leaving therapy too soon?

  • They have a poor fit with their therapist. It takes about three to four sessions to see if there is a connection between the client and the clinician.
  • They feel like their therapist was judgmental or not listening to them.
  • Maybe the therapist lacks experience in dealing with the issue that the client is experiencing.
  • The client underestimates the requirements and the commitment to therapy.
  • Clients feel put off over long wait times.

How can we improve client retention?

1 – Emphasize the importance of educating clients on the experience of therapy before their first appointment and during the first appointment.

  • This could be in person, or
  • On your website

Let your clients know that therapy is a process, not a one-time occurrence.

2 – Try to schedule your clients for the same time every week

The client is more likely to remember the appointment, and this helps them view their therapy as a commitment when it has a fixed time and day instead of being sporadic or inconsistent.

3 – Make it very easy to schedule appointments

  • Try to open up as many spots as you can, or open a group practice, so that you can make spots available to potential clients.
  • Consider hiring an assistant who will handle the intake calls because they will be able to handle the phone all day while you see clients.
  • Create a booking page on your website for clients to fill in.

4 – Problem-solve their financial problems

Think through their financial reasons: are they really not able to pay, or are they using money as an excuse to not show up to therapy?

  • You could offer bi-weekly sessions.
  • If you are cash-pay, you can offer superbills.
  • If you are insurance-pay, you can discuss with them how they can pay through insurance.
  • Discuss alternative payers such as through a church or another family member.
  • Work through their finances with them, if they are comfortable, to see where they can free up extra money that they did not know they had.

As a therapist, just really watch that in yourself, especially in the first few appointments with clients, making sure that you are offering a safe and therapeutic experience for them to talk about whatever it is they want to bring to the table. (Whtney Owens)

5 – Follow up with your clients

If a client never responds to you or never returns, you may not know what the reason is, and it is best not to assume.

Reach out to them and see what it is that they need right now. Put this in the disclosure agreement at the beginning so that they know that you will contact them to check up on them should they stop coming to their therapy with you.

Useful Links:

Meet Whitney Owens

Photo of Christian therapist Whitney Owens. Whitney helps other christian counselors grow faith based private practices!Whitney is a licensed professional counselor and owns a growing group practice in Savannah, Georgia. Along with a wealth of experience managing a practice, she also has an extensive history working in a variety of clinical and religious settings, allowing her to specialize in consulting for faith-based practices and those wanting to connect with religious organizations.

Knowing the pains and difficulties surrounding building a private practice, she started this podcast to help clinicians start, grow, and scale a faith-based practice. She has learned how to start and grow a successful practice that adheres to her own faith and values. And as a private practice consultant, she has helped many clinicians do the same.

Thanks For Listening!

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Faith in Practice is part of the Practice of the Practice Podcast Network, a network of podcasts that are changing the world. To hear other podcasts like Empowered and Unapologetic, Bomb Mom, Imperfect Thriving, Marketing a Practice or Beta Male Revolution, go to

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