6 Ways Therapists Help More Clients With Texting
Your clients depend on you for emotional support. But in between giving them guidance, organizing your session schedules, and managing the other therapists at your practice, things can slip through the cracks.
There’s no extra time to properly market your practice or reach out for much needed reviews. And sending last-minute session changes or payment reminders can feel like it’s draining valuable time away from the clients who need support outside of your regular sessions.
The problem is you need a more effective communication system than just phone calls and email, so you don’t have to split your time between playing phone tag with new clients and supporting the ones you already have.
Why should therapists be texting?
With texting, your practice can both increase leads and communicate faster. And that’s because:
- Texts have a 99% open rate, compared to the only 5% of calls answered and 15% of emails opened
- Texts allow new clients to reach out to you discreetly and in a way that is most preferred by them
- Texts have an average response time of 90 seconds, so you know your messages will be seen and answered
- People who need help don't always feel comfortable talking on the phone (especially in the middle of a crisis), but are more likely to text for help
Let’s look at six ways your therapy practice can increase its reach and help more clients with texting.
6 Ways Your Therapy Practice Can Use Texting to Reach and Help Clients
1. Generate new leads for your practice.
Your clients’ mental health is a private and delicate matter they may not want others to know about (especially if they’re seeking help for their first time). Having someone overhear their call might be a real stressor for them, particularly if they’re at work or in a toxic environment.
Clients are more willing to text your practice because it’s so much more discreet.
You can advertise your practice texts with SMS Chat. It’s a widget new clients can use to immediately text you when they find your site.
Chances are a new client may be in a crisis or feel incredibly isolated when they first search Google and find your practice. So, if those clients can directly start a conversation with you from your website and get an immediate response, it’s going to mean the world to them and most likely ensure they’ll schedule a session.
Up to 50% of clients will choose to work with the practice that responds to them first.
That’s why Text Request includes an autoresponder feature—so even if the person reaches out when your practice is closed, they’ll get a message saying their message has been received and that you’ll get back to them ASAP.
2. Make scheduling and updating your clients’ appointments a breeze.
Even after a new client schedules their first session, they aren’t guaranteed to come. They may get caught up in other things, forget, or feel too nervous to show up.
This can become true even for established clients, if their circumstances suddenly change or worsen. You need a way to send all of them reminders and nudges of encouragement, so you keep your sessions at the top of their mind. That leads to more help for clients, and more revenue for you.
With Text Request you can actually schedule these reminders in advance and even use merge messaging to make sending them to your entire client list a breeze. Everything from the date, time, and client’s name will automatically fill in from a pre-formatted spreadsheet.
Texting also makes it easy to schedule a client’s next session, or give you a chance to reschedule if they later text in saying they have to miss.
3. Offer support anywhere at anytime.
You want to get back to your clients ASAP when they have important questions or experience a crisis. Text Request makes it easy to never miss any of their messages with its three login options: the main dashboard, the chrome extension, and the phone app.
Your practice can use all three, or just the ones that suit your individual therapists’ preferences best.
Even if a message does happen to slip past your team, Text Request automatically escalates any unresolved texts to the top of your message queue (based on a customizable timer) so your therapists will find it. You can also have messages automatically forwarded to your cell if you're out of the office or your front desk hasn't responded.
Boundaries are also important for any therapist, and that’s why Text Request allows your therapists to text from a common landline number (instead of everyone’s personal cell phone numbers).
All your therapists will be able to jump in at any time, even if they weren’t the original therapist who responded to the client’s message first. All messages are time stamped and marked as resolved or unresolved to make this easy.
Therapists will also each have their own line only they or an approved associate can access for client confidentiality.
4. Share resources and mental health exercises.
Along with scheduling reminders and gentle nudges of support, you can also text helpful infographics and links with resources like:
- Coping exercises
- Breathing exercises
- Lists of common cognitive distortions to lookout for
- Emotion regulation worksheets
Depending on the different things your clients are working through, Text Request lets you categorize contacts into groups based on the resources you want to share with them.
This means you would immediately be able to identify which clients would benefit from anxiety-related resources vs. eating disorder resources, and share the most relevant messages with those specific clients.
5. Make client payment reminders quick and painless.
When your primary job is providing care and support for your clients, it can be easy to forget about yourself. But you've got to make sure you get paid. With Text Request, you can schedule payment reminders in advance, and even include links to pay online.
Your clients are busy with everything going on in their life, and so simply forgetting to make a payment is the number one reason they don’t. Texts are a perfect, non-pressure way to remind them to.
6. Directly ask clients for online reviews and surveys.
Reviews are critical for your practice. They’re a primary factor in whether or not your business shows up first in a Google Search when someone is in need of support.
You also need surveys to get feedback on how well people are responding to your sessions, so you can keep improving and garnering those much needed reviews.
You could ask your clients for these things at the end of your sessions, but chances are they’ll forget to check their email for the survey or locate where to leave their review on Google.
But if you send a text with a link to the survey or review spot, they’re way more likely to follow through with the link right in front of them, because:
- Links in texts have a 36% click-through rate
- 70% of people will leave a review if you ask them directly like this
How does your practice stay compliant and still text?
Here’s what you need to know for HIPAA and texting:
1. It's fine for you to message your clients, as long as they consent to being messaged and you're using a compliant platform that saves and timestamps every message. That means you can't pull phone numbers from a list and start messaging them at random. Clients have to opt-in by texting you first or by providing you with their phone number.
2. Picture messaging (MMS) is still not HIPAA compliant. So stir the conversation to a secure channel if clients try to send pictures of protected health information (PHI).
Need a compliant platform?
Text Request has multiple layers of security and encryption to meet and exceed security standards set by:
- Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)
- Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH)
- The Privacy Rule, Security Rule, and Omnibus Rule
Learn more about our HIPAA compliant accounts here.
Start Texting to Help More Clients Today
If your practice is ready to take the first steps to start texting, or learn more about how texting can help increase your therapists’ reach, you can click here to schedule a demo.
Our SMS Chat is also readily available on the right-hand side of the screen, if you want to talk directly to one of our trainers or ask about pricing.