Optimize Your Intake process – In One Afternoon!

by Sep 24, 2021

Clinic and Practice Owners: What happens after a potential client shows interest on your website?

Are you and your staff frustrated with your ability to track those who are interested in your services; forms, appointment, insurance, etc?

Are prospective clients falling through the cracks before they walk through your door? 

It’s common to spend lots of time trying to attract visitors, but marketing doesn’t stop once visitors arrive at your website.

Marketing doesn’t even stop once a potential new client has said yes! For clinics and practice owners, the process of following through after an appointment request is made, organizing new client paperwork and making sure your new lead actually walks in your door (or your zoom room!) is just as important as obtaining the new lead to begin with.

Your intake process is priority 1

Your intake system is a crucial touchpoint during the client journey and one where many therapy offices and clinics lose people and frustrate employees. Sloppy systems are rough on everyone.

As users of technology, we are all a bit spoiled and don’t want to deal with broken things or frustrating experiences. If things are broken or frustrating, we will often just bounce off and go somewhere else. 

And people in pain and crisis particularly don’t have the luxury of dealing with broken links or a clunky intake process.

The good news is that you don’t need fancy systems to fill in your intake gaps! Though software can make things easier as you grow, a  simple spreadsheet that outlines your workflow is fine. 

The following is a simple exercise to make sure you don’t have gaps in your systems. Give yourself some time free from distractions to think and outline your process. 

How to improve your practice or clinic intake process 

1. Become obsessed with your client

The most important piece of advice you can have for successful marketing is to become obsessed with your ideal client. Every marketing activity going forward depends on this knowledge. 

The first thing to do is outline 1-2 types of clients that you want to fill up your practice. You might help lots of kinds of people, but there will be some common denominators such as:

  • Demographics
  • Psychographics
  • Goals & interests 
  • Frustration & pain point
  • Where they get information (blogs, magazines, forums, associations etc)
  • Where they hang out (digital and in-person) 

Once you gain clarity about your client, you can create content at various points on their journey that will get them into your intake process.

2. Define your steps

Your intake process is made up of steps that will be unique to your practice.

How do you want people to walk through it?

Close your eyes and the ideal scenario when someone comes to your site. What is the first step…a call, a form? What happens next…an email follow up or forms?

I encourage you to plot this on a spreadsheet. I love Google sheets because it is so accessible. Plus they are great to build your whole intake system to track and never lose any information again!  Example here

Plot these steps the way you imagine will be the easiest for the user, not necessarily how it is now. 

3. Fill in the gaps

Is your intake system working?The trick to creating a seamless system is to find the gaps in each step. Each step works as its own mini-system that needs to be considered. 

This is usually where we find the most gaps. Systems depend on accountability, so go through each of your steps and add:

  • Who owns it
  • When is it due/when do they do it
  • How do they do it

Think through the entire system, all the people and tools involved. Leave nothing out. Here you will begin to see what things feel clunky or why no one knows what’s going on. 

4. Make your intake process clear & easy

Approaching therapy is already anxiety-producing, so make it easy for your guests. Knowing what to expect gives people confidence and they are more apt to take action. It’s a fantastic start to your relationships.

Here are a few ideas: 

  • Dedicate a webpage to your intake process
  • Create a graphic to show visitors the process
  • Make sure your site is loading quickly etc
  • Set up your forms to catch partial data so you can follow up if they don’t finish a request
  • Make sure that all your web pages have a call to action that guide visitors to take the next step

5. Analyze the data

Regular measurement and analysis will help you know for sure where people are coming in and how people are moving through your site and your practice. 

Setting up a monthly time to gather data and look for trends and gaps in your intake system can help you fill in the missing pieces. 

For example, if you know that there are 40 people every month who ask you for an appointment, but only 10 show up for their scheduled time, maybe there is a gap in your system.

Analyze this trend and go through the data and your intake process spreadsheet to pinpoint the step where you are losing people and how you can keep them from dropping off. 

Is Your Intake Process Set Up?

So what about you…have you thought about your intake process? It can be very overwhelming to get started. There are so many options and honestly, you are a therapist, not a business person.

Do you have someone in your corner to help you navigate all things digital?

We specialize in therapy practices and getting more clients in your door. See what we can do for you with a free planning session.

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