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The Business of Private Practice
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Tips for Re-Engaging Inactive Clients
By Deb Legge, PhD, CRC, LMHC

Many clinicians spend each and every week fretting about where their next client will come from. This can be so anxiety-producing that it takes the fun right out of being in private practice. 

Although it is good to always be reaching out so that new potential referrers and clients will notice you, it’s equally important not to forget about those you already know.

Inactive clients are a great source for filling your book. They already know you and your work. It is easy for them to see you again (they don’t have to start all over). They just need to be reminded you are there when they need help or support.

Here are two quick and easy ways to re-engage (or stay engaged with) inactive clients.

1.    Keep your clients informed with a newsletter or blog:

  • Distribute a monthly or quarterly newsletter to your clients. As part of your intake, let clients know that you prepare a helpful newsletter and ask for permission to share it with them (via email or snail mail). You can also just keep these newsletters in your office and place them in the offices of key referrers. Include brief articles that will address t
  • he needs and concerns of your target market. Be sure to note any new groups or services you are offering as well as any speaking or writing you are doing that might be helpful to them.
  • Write a blog for your website. Consider writing an inspiring, encouraging, and supportive blog for clients. Let them know they can visit your site regularly, or you can let them know when something new has been posted (via RSS).

2.    Send out a follow-up email or phone call when appropriate:

  • Make a call when a client cancels or no-shows. If you believe it is clinically appropriate, connect with your client to express your concern and to reschedule.
  • Consider the clinical impact of any outreach before doing it. If appropriate, reach out to clients at times that are significant to your work together, or consider sending a holiday card. Use your clinical judgment and reach out from the heart; you are not just looking to “fill your book”—you are looking to help those you are meant to serve.

Many times inactive clients hesitate to contact you because they are embarrassed or feel badly that they have not called in so long. You can break the ice for them to reach out when they really need you again.