Now that you know what to expect when your client arrives, you must incorporate ways to engage them to ensure that you build rapport, trust, and establish a good professional relationship. Whilst it’s one thing to get a client through your doors, it’s another to retain them through good service that promotes value. As a result, we have collated some of the top tips when it comes to client engagement, to ensure that you’re connecting with your clients and prioritizing their health.
Orienting the client to the consultation session
The first session is quite different from the following therapist and consulting sessions, as there is quite a bit of administrative paperwork involved. However, you must make sure to greet the client as usual and spend some time validating whatever emotions they have and acknowledging that it can feel weird. Anything to help the client feel welcome and comfortable is key, and sometimes being transparent with the question you’re needing to ask goes a long way.
Focused diagnostic evaluation
When starting, it’s important to not overwhelm the client or get into extensive details, as these can often be lost in translation. It’s certainly important to identify the client’s main concerns, and pose follow-up questions to provide direction for future sessions. However, more in-depth evaluations must be left to the remaining sessions. The first meeting helps with more of a broad understanding of the client’s issue, and you should not aim to immediately treat the whole scope within the first session.
Provide feedback to client
It’s important that you thank the client, and show appreciation for their willingness to meet with you and discuss their concerns. This can be a very daunting process for many clients, so you must empathize with them and their experiences. You should also provide feedback in terms of letting them know what you’re thinking and any potential diagnosis. Doing so allows them to see your expertise, and that you are recognizing their concerns, and validating their anxieties.
Share your initial plan (let the client know that you can help them)
When sharing your expertise, you must let the client know of any potential plans so they are aware that there is concrete treatment in the development stage. This does not mean you have to construct a full-fledged treatment plan on the spot, however, you should share ideas with your client. Framing ways that could help the client in terms of ‘we’ can create a sense of teamwork, and you can also provide an honest timeline for the client to have some confidence in. Before drafting detailed strategies and plans, you should work with the client to gauge some ideas that could work for them.
Answer the client’s questions (giving them a choice to schedule for follow-up with you)
It’s important to ask whether the client has any questions for you, and to take the time to answer them. Being as transparent as possible is a great way to build rapport and establish professional relationships, and is an excellent way to wrap up the session.