133: Efficient Client Onboarding Strategies & Systems with Brittany from Practice Better

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In this episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, I sit down with Brittany Andrejcin from Practice Better to talk all about coming up with efficient and effective onboarding systems to make your client experience event better, and to help you...

In this episode of The Dietitian Success Podcast, I sit down with Brittany Andrejcin from Practice Better to talk all about coming up with efficient and effective onboarding systems to make your client experience event better, and to help you feel less overwhelmed with your practice.

We cover:

What are must-haves when it comes to client onboarding? What makes for a great vs. mediocre client onboarding experience?Practice Better features and workflows that dietitians can use to enhance their client systems


This episode is sponsored by Practice Better. DSC Members can get 20% off 4 months of any Practice Better paid plan with the code DSC20. Use this link to purchase: https://practicebetter.grsm.io/dscpodcast

Join us in the DSC Membership here (7-day free trial available until May 12th 2023): https://www.dietitiansuccesscenter.com/membership

Episode Transcript:

Welcome to the Dietitian Success Podcast. Here at dietitian Success Center, we’re all about making it easier for you to build your confidence and expertise. So whether you’re a dietitian or a dietetic student, we’ve got something for you. I’m Krista, your host and the founder of DSC. Now, are you ready to ditch the imposter syndrome and join our incredible, vibrant community?

If so, let’s jump in.

 In this episode of the Dietitian Success Podcast, I sit down with Brittany Anderson from Practice Better to talk all about coming up with efficient and effective client onboarding systems to make your client experience even better. And to help you feel less overwhelmed with your practice and just the day-to-day administrative stuff.

And so just to preface this episode, it is sponsored by practice better. But I promise you, there is so much value. To be learned. From the people who literally specialize in client systems. So Brittany and I talk all about what things that you can incorporate into your onboarding process. What is essential to have in your onboarding process?

What makes for a good onboarding process versus not so good. And so much more as a gift for DSE listeners, you can get 20% off, four months of any practice, better paid plan. Just click the link in the description of this podcast episode and use the code DSE 20 at checkout. And if you’re not familiar with the platform already practice better is a practice management software. Some people refer to them as EMR platforms for health and wellness professionals. So it allows you to simplify your tech stacks, but you’re not trying to combine a whole bunch of different platforms.

It’s to do. all of the things that you need to do in your business. Because trust me, I’ve been there before trying to piece together a bunch of different tech. Platforms and it just gets really Massey. So it’s nice to have everything under one roof.

And practice better was created by practitioners, for practitioners, with the goal of setting, both practitioners and their clients up for success. Brittany’s role with practice better is a business success coach. So she helps practitioners. Tap into the potential of their business and find success.

By showcasing how practice better could be the tool that helps take their businesses. To the next level so with that let’s jump into the episode

Brittany, welcome to the podcast. Thanks so much for joining me. Yeah, thanks for having me. I’m so excited to chat today. Me too. Because this is a topic that I haven’t really spoken to that much on the podcast up until this point.

But we get a lot of questions about it and this whole concept of onboarding and what happens when. A client or a patient reaches out to you, what is the next step? What happens when they become a paying customer? What is the next step? There’s so many different components of that onboarding process that I think is really confusing for people that have never done it.

So that’s really the goal today is to. Help our audience understand a little bit more about what an efficient and effective onboarding process looks like. So I’m super excited to pick your brain a little bit. So can we just start with defining what exactly is onboarding? Yeah, absolutely. To really simplify it, onboarding is how you’re introducing a new client into your business.

And I actually like to think of this in two different branches. So the actual facilitation of, the booking payment and the actions that need to take place in order for these people to even be clients. But secondly, I’d like to think of onboarding as a way that you can involve your client in educating them on what and how it will look like to work with you.

So how will you meet for your sessions? How are you going to communicate? What’s your typical response rate? How to use the tech that you’re going to be using in your business. Where they can access resources, ask questions, how you’ll support them. So all of this can be a part of your onboarding experience too.

And I think it’s actually really important to set the tone for the entire experience. Yeah, I couldn’t agree more. And so on that note what do you feel are some of the benefits of having a solid onboarding process in place for the practitioner and for the client? Yeah, definitely for the practitioner.

As far as things on their side. Overall, a really great onboarding process will set your client up for success in terms of their experience and their outcomes, and that’s really going to mean that there’s less kind of back and forth with you as a practitioner answering questions and troubleshooting with the client and kind of having to pivot with them.

So ultimately it’s going to be more efficient for you and your workflows and just saving you time day to day. I also think that expectations and boundaries can be very clear from the beginning. So as far as who you’re working with and how you’re working with them, you can maintain a lot of those boundaries so that if you don’t wanna be working at 7:00 AM and having a client messaging you with questions, you can have those boundaries.

You can let them know about your cancellation policies and your no-show policies. You can really protect your peace of mind and your business overall. So I think those things are just really important as far as, that side of things goes. You’ll also feel like you are more comfortable leading into this relationship with a client, knowing that everything is out on the table.

They know what to expect, you know what to expect as far as what’s expected of both of you. Cause we’re both bringing something to the table in these relationships. And I think you can just hit the ground running a little bit faster when you have these smooth onboarding processes. Yeah. And it feels like it’s I feel like having a good onboarding process is like equal parts protection of you and your business, like you mentioned before.

Making sure that you’re super clear around expectations and just what exactly you are promising, what you are offering. And just what you mentioned before, protecting your time and your boundaries, that’s so important. And then also just that. Professionalism too, and that first impression that people have of you, I feel like that is so important, and it’s often underestimated by practitioners, right?

It’s like we first impressions are important, and especially as healthcare practitioners, it implies a first impression, A messy first impression has an implication around, a messy service or, And vice versa. Something that’s super crisp and clean and professional is going to imply something about the service as well.

So it makes sense for people, for practitioners to really invest some time into this process. Yeah, it really sets the tone for the entire experience, right? From that very first impression. Yeah. Like they say that a first impression is like minutes, right? When you’re meeting with somebody and that stands here.

Yeah okay, so let’s talk through then. What do you feel like makes for really good onboarding versus that unsuccessful onboarding that we were speaking to before? Definitely, I actually wanna share a little bit more about my career history in this big Oh, sure. Yeah. Moment. I would love that. And I have kinda carried me throughout throughout the years.

So I actually used to work in real estate, specifically for developers building new construction homes. So oftentimes I was entering into these really lengthy relationships with clients who are waiting, maybe eight months for their home to be constructed. And these were big investments, big purchases for.

So I learned very quickly that if you do not communicate how the process is going to go what’s happening in each milestone, what they need to do on their end to make everything go smoothly for the final outcome. If you don’t set those expectations and educate the client, be communicative, be upfront, the client will.

End up coming up with their own narrative on how they think the process or the outcome will go. So they’re going to come up with their own expectations of what they think you should be delivering to them. And inevitably, when reality does not meet that expectation, which is often the case because expectations are not kept in check and they’re maybe too high.

Suddenly that whole experience is running off course or maybe a little bit tainted. And this really does matter, not just maybe for that specific client’s experience, but the for, for the potential of word of mouth experience, right? So the word of mouth referrals from that client are going to be far less likely.

And that kind of really makes sense, right? If an experience turns out to be worse than what we expected, it’s not going to be as likely that we’ll promote it to our friends and family. Our communities. So I bring this piece of experience with me when I think about successful onboarding. Onboarding, again, it’s your opportunity to set the tone right from the beginning for that entire journey, working together.

So thinking beyond just signing them up for the service, collecting that payment, taking that booking, how can you educate them on the entire process? Can you anticipate some maybe friction points and get ahead of them? So things like learning tech, right? We know that there’s a learning curve associated with that.

And how can we get ahead of that potential frustration for our clients? Identifying if there’s any key milestones, what they can expect, maybe, through the halfway point working with you, how should they be feeling? What should they be doing, that kind of thing. And how do you want to interact with them on a daily basis?

So I think the worst thing that we can do when we’re onboarding our clients is assume that they know things and leave it up to. Them guessing what they need to be doing next, or assuming that they know that they should be asking questions or logging their food entries or whatever it looks like for each of us individual practitioners.

So that assumption can just, really ruin things for both the client and the practitioner. We can never assume that the client is on the same page as. Yeah, I think that’s so true. And I think oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes when we as practitioners feel like a client isn’t the term often uses like non-compliant or whatever, right?

It’s like somebody’s not following through with their end of the actions. Sometimes it’s just because. Like we have to remember that people have a bazillion in one things going on in their lives, and like their nutrition care is probably not number one. It may be for some, but it probably isn’t for others.

And so we need to make sure that we’re being super clear and super transparent with people. And I think over communicating to your point communicating the obvious stuff or the stuff that you feel like you already mentioned, but mention it again, yeah, I think that’s, so people important, make those reminders.

Yeah. And. We, I as practitioners, we tend to exist in a bit of a bubble where we freak out totally what the average person knows, or someone who’s like brand new to working with a practitioner or a dietitian, a nutritionist, whoever it might be. This is new to them likely, so we need to do things like cut industry jargon.

Let’s talk to them in a language that they understand and also give direction to them and maybe it feels rudimentary to us, or very obvious, but it’s likely not to them. And I love your point about the non-compliance part, because we have to have that little bit of self-reflection as practitioners.

Yeah. To understand how we could have potentially avoided a situation. And like I said, got in front of it, I always had kind of a. Just like a personal policy in my past career life where I always wanted to be ahead of the questions. So I always wanted to be forthright with information pertaining to, how to work together and important information before the client even knew to ask or got to a point where they had to ask.

So always trying to think one step ahead of the client and what they need to. Yeah, I love that. And I think too, it speaks to the fact that your onboarding process can be an evolution over time, right? When you start to work with clients and you start to see these questions come up, or these, like you mentioned before, these pain points in the process, things like tech you start to see consistencies or you start to.

These challenges come up for a number of clients and so then you can re reflect on your onboarding process and revise and revamp it as needed. So I think it’s an evolution as well as you get deeper into your practice. Yeah, that’s definitely one of the strategies that I would suggest when talking about onboarding and how we can implement it with our clients, is seeking out that feedback and actually taking the time to learn from clients, even if it’s, maybe a little comfortable.

Totally. Asking so. We can iterate and improve upon things for sure. Yeah. Okay, so let’s talk about, we’ve spoken high level about this idea of onboarding, but let’s get into some more specifics around strategies that we can implement to successfully onboard clients. What does that look like?

Yeah, I first wanna, back up before we even get to our clients and go through the motions ourselves. So add yourself as a test client and go through those same that same journey that your client would be going through. And then, how is that process? I think this is especially important on the tech end.

You need to be able to know what your client is going to experience so you can answer any questions and guide them through as you introduce them into your business. So you could also recruit a family member, a friend, or even a beta tester. So maybe a client who’s going to receive a bit of a discount in exchange for their feedback.

And this is going to allow someone with fresh eyes and no prior experience to truly tell you how that onboarding felt to them. So onboarding, like I said, from the time that they’re booking, I like everything to come in as one package. So that booking, that payment, and any forms altogether, that’s going to be a little bit more of a streamlined experience for the client where they don’t have multiple things in multiple places that they’re juggling back and forth between.

And then on the practitioner and things are really succinct. I get everything that I need to do my job back in one complete package. So that’s something that I would recommend too, as that first step. And then when you have that client who has paid for that service and is in your calendar, then I think it’s the right time to actually start to educate them on your processes, your communication strategies, your boundaries, how to use the tech, all of that.

So I think this is a really great opportunity to have this really comprehensive package of all those resources to share with them before they even have that first, official session with you. Yeah, and I almost see it divided into kind of three stages of the onboarding process.

It’s like the discovery phase where, they can book a discovery call with you. You can get them on the phone, you can talk through your program. They have that opportunity to learn a little bit more. I feel like that’s phase one. And then phase two is the, okay, yes, I’ve agreed to become a client.

And then we get into the, okay, so let’s pay for the service. Let’s sign all the forms, let’s fill in all of the paperwork required. And then that’s step three, which I think which you spoke to that I think a lot of people forget about, which is like the, okay, now you’re a client. We don’t wanna just forget about you.

There’s this whole onboarding process that comes from that too. And that tends to be the education piece around, okay, so what are the next steps? How do you book your next appointment? What can you expect from our appointments? When can you get in touch with me? All of those little details. So I appreciate how you spoke to those.

And I think it’s helpful to think about it in those sort of three phases. Yeah, I think that perfectly puts it really, onboarding is so multifaceted and yeah, like you said, I think it’s that third component that often is forgotten about. So I really like the idea of coming up with a timeline for your client.

So if you are working with them for a longer duration of time, from that very first session, how should they be feeling? What should they be doing? How should they be? Like what actions are they taking? And looking through that entire timeline and actually share that with the clients.

It’s going to be really eye-opening, I think, for you as a practitioner, but it’s also just going to ensure that you and the client are on the same page throughout this entire journey. Cuz onboarding, of course, it tends to happen at the beginning, but it’s important, for the entire journey that they know what to expect and what they should be doing on their.

Yeah, totally. So a lot of, obviously your firm practice better. A lot of our D S E members use practice better for their private practices. So can we just talk through what exactly Practice Better does in terms of supporting the onboarding process? Yeah, definitely. So of course, given that we’ve determined that your onboarding process should start from the moment that the client is looking at your services or booking in with you, this is the right time to set the stage.

And because of this practice better is really ideal because it is a comprehensive practice management software and every stage of that client journey is going to take place in. Spot. So the for features through that first booking all the way through the end are designed to be set up together and really speak together.

So it’s going to really play nicely into ensuring that there’s a cadence into how you’re working with clients. So when you’re educating your client about your cancellation policies or your shows or communication timelines, there’s actual features to back up all of those things that you’re saying to them.

You can put out of offices on your secure chat feature. You can be, making sure that they have the disclaimer for your no-show policy with every time that they’re booking a follow-up session with you. So there’s ways to reiterate that message that you communicated in your onboarding throughout that entire client journey.

So you have those extra layers of. Awareness to ensure that the client, doesn’t forget or it slips their mind, that kind of thing. So the platform is always going to be there to support what you’re setting the tone for at the very beginning. And really, we’re a very robust system and platform and that means that there’s a multitude of ways that you could be using many of these features to support your onboarding.

We recognize that every practitioner is going to work a little bit differently. So there’s usually many ways to achieve the same thing essentially. But the entire platform is designed for the practitioner and client in mind, meaning that there’s lots of ways from day one to set up your onboarding in a really well thought out way, cuz it’s not just about, of course, what the client bought and how things are, it’s going to be, how things take place.

How they’ll engage the tools and features that you’ll support them with. So in that onboarding, you can, be directing them to the journal’s feature and exactly how you’re going to be using that feature. And setting up recurring meetings so that they don’t have to go through that booking process more often than they need to.

It’s just going to make the entire process more smooth, essentially. Yeah, totally. And I feel like that’s what I think is so awesome about practice better is that it really is all in one. Like I, when I was, when I first started doing business coaching specifically, like to my knowledge, nothing really exists.

Like this for different areas of coaching, like business coaching where you know, you don’t need HIPAA or pepita compliance, you’re not charting on clients or anything like that. So there’s a lot of features you don’t necessarily need, but. Inherently, you end up having to piece together so many different platforms and pay for so many different platforms.

Like I know at the time I was using Calendly to book clients or patient, or, sorry, not patients, but to book clients in my calendar, and I was using HoneyBook to do all of the. Invoicing and to do all of this, the signing of forms and all of those pieces. And then I was using Google Docs to share all of the information with them.

Like it was just so many different pieces, which was really frustrating and I think that’s what’s so awesome about. Something like practice better is it’s like it’s all under one roof. You don’t have to worry about having all of those other separate platforms pieced together. It’s like you can collect your payments, you can link it to your calendar, you can chart, you can do all of those things right through the platform, which is so cool. Yeah, absolutely. And yeah, we call it like the patchwork of systems and stepping. And it’s just, it’s so nice. I can relate that when I was practicing I didn’t have practice better.

I came into it years later and even then I like just scratched the surface. But it was a game changer even with me just like barely scratching the surface because there’s features that actually like talk to each other. So yes, it’s all in one place. Also designed to be able to like interact with each other.

So I can take a completed form and have it import into my client record and then pull that information into a note template. So it just makes our lives so much easier. Yeah, totally. Okay, so I’d love to hear some examples of just features or workflows that you’ve seen other practitioners or other clients use when it comes to practice.

Definitely. So one strategy that I’ve seen implemented that I’m a big fan of is using the programs and courses featured to create a really robust onboarding experience. So programs can actually be added to packages. That’s what we refer to as bundled services that have been packaged together.

And the client will automatically be enrolled. In it. So right upon purchase of a service modules can be released to the client to introduce them into your business. So everything from, how they manage the tech and the client portal to a thorough understanding of, what they bought, all the different cancellation terms of service policies that you want them to be aware of how to use certain features. Basically, you can take all of that education, all those resources, everything that you’re sharing with them, and package them really nicely into a program. Include that in all of the different packages that you’re selling or all the different services that you’re selling to your clients, and they’ll automatically be enrolled and go through all of that information.

Even before your first official session with them, and they can come back and reference that information at any time. So it’s a really nice place to house all of that information and automate things so that you’re not having to actually manually share that information each and every time. But beyond that, there’s just so many features that are going to help elevate your onboarding.

When a client logs into their client portal for the first time, they’ll automatically be shown a welcome video and you can actually customize this video so that it has the exact message that you wanna convey. And you can, show your face and have that no, like trust factor. Start building it as soon as you can, especially for those practitioners that are working virtually.

There’s opportunities, like I said, to bundle those services, payments booking forms altogether so that everything comes back as one complete package. You have everything you need and it feels really streamlined for the client. The client’s just gonna go through that process once I’m a, and another feature that I love is the custom booking page.

So if you are starting a client through maybe a discovery call and you want to set the tone with, you, know, who you are and what you do, and ensure that they’re the right fit for you, you could come up with a custom booking page where you even embed a video and share your message, describe your services and what they’re going to be getting.

Have them fill out a client application form and just really set the tone on a great foot right from the very beginning with a lot of these features. Yeah. That’s so awesome. And I know I’ve even found that a lot of, so I, I have a separate course that I run called Online Course Blueprint.

And that’s for practitioners who are looking to create an online course. And a lot of our, a lot of those who are enrolled in that course are already, are people who are already using practice better for their one-on-one. And so have started to just use that program’s feature too, to be able to deliver their course material to their clients, which is really.

Yeah, it’s such a robust feature. There’s honestly so many different ways that you can use it. So even if you know you are doing something like that, rehousing, like a signature program or a course for your clients, you could keep one module for the onboarding and have that released earlier for your clients.

So that right upon. Enrollment or signing up they have access to that one module and they can be welcomed into your business. And all of the information that we talked about that can be a part of your onboarding can be delivered to them right from the very beginning. And then you can choose, when the rest of the modules are released and that content is stripped out.

So whether you know you’re taking that program in, including it in a package or saving a specific module as part of a program for that onboarding. It’s just like the perfect way to automate and house all that information in one place for the client so that they have that really robust welcome experience.

Yeah. Yeah. And I think an important reminder here too, for those that are listening who are brand new to setting up their practice better, it’s like the things, a lot of the things that we’re talking about right now are things that can come over time, right? We don’t have to have all of this stuff figured out from the get-go, cuz I know that can feel a little bit overwhelming.

So it’s Just keep it super simple at the beginning, like you said, Brittany, have somebody have a test client. Set yourself up as a test client to go through the process. Have the key elements of somebody can book a discovery call, somebody can pay for their services, they can fill out their forms and you know how to chart on the client.

And I feel like those are the key elements of the beginning. And then as you start to work with people, you can add some of those other really fun features like the welcome video and the. The course videos and all of that fun. Yeah, absolutely. We have so many resources to support new practitioners, or even if you’re seasoned and just need a little bit of extra help with the platform, whether it’s our help center or blog or YouTube we actually have videos that are geared towards.

Both a practitioner, so educating them on how to use the platform and different ideas and workflows, but also some videos that are client facing. So if you do want to lean on those to support your clients getting started on the platform those are available to you on our YouTube and on our website so that you can send them to your clients and they’ll know how to navigate and you don’t have to worry about, directing them.

Yeah. Awesome. That was so helpful. Thank you so much for joining me. That was so great to chat through all of that stuff. I know that’s gonna be helpful for so many people. And sorry, I’m getting over a cold, so my voice is like scratchy at the best of times right now. But what’s really awesome is we are d s E and practice better.

We’re doing an awesome collab right now where D S C members can get 20% off their first four months of any paid plans, and you can just use the code D s e 20 for that, and you use the link that’s in the description of this podcast episode. So definitely take advantage of that if you are.

If you are starting your practice, it’s a really great deal. So thank you so much, Brittany. It was so good to talk to you. Yeah, thanks so much for having me.

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