Psychotherapy Practice-Building Tip: Confirming with Clients

“Do you call and confirm with new clients prior to your first session? Do you have a problem with them no-showing?” Katie Lemieux, LMFT

No, I don’t call to confirm new clients as a matter of course. And no, I don’t have a problem with them no-showing. (Trying to remember the last time I had a new client no-show as I write this and can’t come up with one.) However, prior to the first appointment, I’ve already had several communications with the client. We’ve gotten to know each other over the phone, they received my “New Client Welcome Kit” in the mail, and we’ve had a telephone consultation in which I explain the way we’ll be working together.

By the time our first appointment rolls around (usually 1 – 2 weeks after they first called me), we’ve already established a relationship with each other. If you’re having a problem with no-shows, consider your process for bringing a new client into the practice. Chances are there’s something that could help strengthen this process.

When I first started in practice, I remember being so nervous when a new client called me that I would try to get off the phone as quickly as possible. I was terrified that I was going to talk them OUT of the appointment by accident. Then, I would sit in my office crossing my fingers that they would actually show up. And if they did, then I was a nervous wreck again! But I think my fear and over-eagerness was actually causing my clients to be a bit apprehensive. I’ve now spent quite a bit of time working on this process, and while I’m still tweaking it here and there, I consider it to be quite effective. (If you’re not sure how to handle new client inquiries, please go back and listen to the January 2011 Success Strategies Call, dedicated completely to this topic. You may also benefit from the Client Communication Toolkit – it’s sold out at the moment, but watch your email to see when it’s back in stock.)

An additional note on sending reminders: I don’t have a problem with them in general, if that helps you with no shows. You may want to consider setting up an email or text message reminder system that can send messages automatically. Then you can also offer this to your existing clients.