How to Make a Welcome Package That Is Simple and Effective
Are you finding that you have a hard time keeping clients coming back? Are the administrative facets of your practice in a state of disarray? Could those things be related? We think that they are and we want to help you consolidate so that your clients experience is engaging, efficient and memorable.
The last thing you need is more responsibilities on top of the ones you already have. But, Welcome Packages are a simple and effective avenue for you to engage and establish rapport to keep client’s coming back. It’s even simpler thanks to our free note templates.
If you don’t already do this, we’d like to walk you through why you should and how simple it is to do. If you do, let’s discuss how your Welcome Package can be more effective in making client’s more inclined to keep attending sessions.
Why You Need a Welcome Package
Everyone knows what it’s like to meet someone for the first time and be less than impressed. We don’t ever want that to be you or your practice. Welcome Packages provide a natural opportunity for you to get to know your clients before they even walk through the door. It also gives your client a chance to establish expectations, learn about you and your practice, and mentally prepare for their first session.
Your Welcome Package should collect vital information, inform the client of policies, and collect signatures so that time isn’t wasted at that first appointment. But it can do much more than that.
By creating engaging worksheets, encouraging or motivational quotes, and perhaps even some helpful resources for them to check out, you can engage the client in healthy and anxiety-riding behaviors before you even meet. Welcome Packages aid in creating a memorable experience for your clients and provide branding opportunities for you. They are a chance for you to differentiate yourself, to list the services you offer, and establish the value you can bring to their life.
What To Include
So what exactly should you include? Well that’s largely up to you, but we do have some guidelines to help you decide.
First, you’ll want to make sure to include a welcome letter that lets the client know what you plan to offer, sets forth your practice’s policies, and offers some guidance for what they should expect from you throughout their sessions. This is a great time to include your hours of availability, your openness to talk outside of sessions, and policies pertaining to client relations, such as do you accept gifts from clients.
Next, you’ll want to offer them your contact information, how they connect with you via social media, and an email. You’ll also want to list out the contact information for emergency services, hospitals, hotlines, and crisis centers in the area. It’s nice to include some informative FAQ’s to ease some of their anxieties about therapy. This is a great chance for you to provide them with a list of services you offer.
Be sure to include anything that your clients need to fill out before their first session. This should include demographic data, insurance or credit card information, and any consents they need to sign. Including this in the package will save you time and will help you consolidate and keep track of intake paperwork.
Finally, make sure to include something that the client will remember and preferably something that will speak to any concerns or fears the client might be experiencing. This could be motivational and encouraging quotes that align with your practice’s mission or beliefs. It should certainly include some engaging worksheets that get them thinking about their needs and what they’re hoping to get out of therapy.
Make sure to tailor this towards the client. For example, if your client is young, you might find it more appropriate to include some worksheets geared towards young children. If your clients are married, perhaps provide them with worksheets they can work on together. Ideally, this part of the package will be used in between sessions and perhaps will even aid in driving conversation during sessions.
How you get your paperwork to your clients is also largely up to you. We suggest using TheraNest’s Client Portal as it streamlines the process and gives you a place to store the documents securely. If the client feels comfortable providing you with a home address before the first session, you could of course mail it to their home.
Sending the package digitally is preferable for a few reasons, though there are certainly pros and cons to both methods. The most obvious benefits of a digital welcome package are:
- it’s cost effective
- it’s simpler
- it’s less time consuming for both you and them
- it is better for the environment
- the files are more accessible for you and them when they’re stored online (TheraNest offers bank-level encryption, a Client Portal, and a secure messaging feature that is, of course, HIPAA Compliant).
If you choose to print and mail your packages, know that it is more time intensive and costly, but your clients might appreciate the extra effort. We trust that you know your clients well enough to gauge which delivery method is most effective.
You also have the option of mixing up print and digital. You could digitally send them the intake paperwork that needs to be signed in order for the first session to begin and hand deliver the rest of the package to them at the first meeting.
Whichever method you choose, make sure to have efficient and detailed procedures for doing so to ensure that nothing is left out, that addresses are not misspelled, and that everyone involved on your practices end knows how to handle and store confidential documents.
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Originally published at www.TheraNest.com on May 12, 2017.