Getting started with private clients can be daunting, but there are some things you can do to make it easier on yourself. Starting with your biggest concern – meeting and working with clients. Demand for your services is at an all-time high and is online, so you really do need to be visible and open for business online too. It may be that a client wants to book a session with you from the comfort of their sofa, while in their pyjamas at 1am after a late-night; given that our smartphones do everything for us now, there is no reason why they shouldn’t be able to do so easily and quickly. Nearly 65m people own a smartphone in the UK. The second most popular activity (81% of us do this) is to search for goods and services on our phones and 60% of us search for health advice. Making calls ranks just 9th on the list at 49%. It is also common for therapists to post their mobile number wherever they advertise their service, which carries many inherent risks. To avoid security issues and to facilitate clients being able to find you and book appointments easily and quickly, practice management software is often the answer.
Here are 5 things to consider:
Do I need it at all?
Before you start shopping around for practice management software, it’s important to have a clear view of what you’re trying to achieve. There is not yet any one magical solution that replaces everything that you or your clients need, though investment into these services is growing. HealthTech is the largest employer in the Life Sciences sector, employing 138,000 people in 4,140 companies, with a combined turnover of £27.6bn. This is your opportunity to choose which industry you influence with your work.
Ask yourself some simple questions:
• What parts of the process worry you the most? Handling appointments? Being invisible in a digital world? Keeping track of client records and making them fast and easy to search? Being ready for an Audit if it happens? Making sure your clients have all the privacy they need for sensitive issues?
• Then you can define the purpose of the software you need. Do you want an efficient way of communicating with clients? Or are you just looking for a tool that can make managing your practice easier on its own merits? Does it need to be connected, cloud based or mobile? Do you or your clients need to navigate different time-zones due to travel?
• How easy am I to work with? Note down each single step a client would have to take to participate in an appointment with you, and you’ll likely come to a big conclusion: You use a lot of software. Email / Video / Calendar / Notes / Payments.
Side-by-side is better
Integrated software is safer. Moving information between apps, platforms and devices means you can be more likely to encounter problems. Software services side-by-side are known as a ‘Platform’, and these types of digital tools can develop over time and bring you a huge amount of choice and value. If you choose to work with a platform, you and your clients can use the same system across multiple platforms and locations, and all your information is safely kept behind one location, backed-up and secure.
Let tech do the work
Setting up in Private Practice you want your time to be spent on the important things, using the skills you’ve spent a long-time honing. It’s not a perfect solution, since software is designed by humans after all, but in a similar vein to digital banking and online holiday bookings it can provide you with so many advantages. Fewer unintentional mistakes, capturing client details and automated bookings are all acknowledged benefits, combining to give you back more time in a day. With less maintenance overall for a cloud-based system you won’t have to update additional software, and neither will clients. For your own professional records, tech can also capture your CPD in a way that is useful to explore and evaluate.
As we said, it won’t be perfect, features like reminders and personalising communication are personal choices that not all systems yet accommodate, but your subscription to these services is an investment in your future needs, and improvements and upgrades are happening all the time.
Security and privacy matters
Privacy is an important issue. The way you protect your client’s information will have a huge impact on their perception and appreciation of your business, and this can be a real deciding factor when it comes to choosing your practice management software solution. Thinking about your own and your client’s privacy, you will register with ICO and need policies to cover GDPR, as well as complying with your insurance requirements. Working within one platform reduces the need for quite so many steps in your policies and procedures. You are also likely to need to consider your own Supervision needs.
Clients expect a smooth booking service
The booking service is an important part of your business as it enables clients to find you and book appointments online, encouraging their confidence in working with you. The best practice management software has a smooth booking option which allows you to make changes in real time, protects your privacy, and is a frictionless system that clients can use to take the appointment they want quickly and easily. Prospective and existing clients will be able to view your availability (that you control and choose to show) whether they are using a laptop or their mobile phone and book their session with you. So, think ‘Calendly’, but integrated safely with your client records and calendar
Digital breaks barriers
By using practice management software, you will be an agile business able to offer:
- A range of payment options
- Your chosen ratio of online or face-to-face appointments
- 24/7 access to appointments slots you choose to share
- Easier access to your specialist expertise, no longer limited to your geography
Now that is the road to a sustainable business.
Practice/Client management software can make your life easier but choose wisely!
There are many options available today, but only a few will meet your unique needs. Some of the features you should consider closely when choosing practice management software include:
- UK based – Make sure that any provider you choose is in the UK and not abroad. This ensures that the data on your system is more aligned to the data regulations that abide here, now and in the future.
- User friendly – The key to user-friendliness is enabling you to work quickly and easily, with minimal keystrokes and training time required.
- Strong customer service – Be able to talk directly to the team. Get any assistance you need and influence what is developed and when!
If you’re reading this, then you’ve made the decision to invest in yourself, your clients and your practice with a software solution tailored to what you do. Now that we’ve outlined the main features to look for, it’s time for you to make an informed decision about which one is best for you. You can look at our services here. www.isosconnect.com/features
Main photo by Mikey Harris on Unsplash