Increasing Client Compliance as a Nutritional Therapist or Dietitian

You meet with a patient that wants to lose weight, you work hard studying his particular case in detail, you determine the perfect meal plan for him, and spend an hour explaining how to follow it and why it is important... and three days later your client is eating McDonald's.

Or perhaps you have a call with a new client, you schedule a visit... and she doesn't show up.

Your client forgets filling in his medical questionnaire, signing in documents prior to the visit, or forgets to book in a follow up appointment... Does this happen to you?

Getting clients to comply with your requirements as a nutritionist and to follow your advice and instructions is hard. It is difficult for most people to acquire new habits simply by being told so. Additionally, people tend to forget instructions easily if they are not reminded at the appropriate moment.

Luckily, there are ways to alleviate client compliance problems.

Why increasing client compliance?
Because your clients will be happier and achieve better results. Moreover, you will get more business from existing customers plus referrals to new ones. You may also experience a reduction in stress and headaches.

How can you increase your client compliance in your nutrition business without investing too much time?
The answer is: having a thorough client book-in process, and automating admin tasks and client reminders. Here are 3 specific areas to work on:

1. Automate your health questionnaires

Wouldn't it be great if all your clients filled in their questionnaires before consultations? The benefits are clear: maximising discussion time together (specially in a physical visit to your clinic) and allowing you to study your new patient's record.

Suggestions:

  • Send your questionnaires via email a few days in advance.
  • Make your questionnaires maximum 10 minutes in length. Many people will procrastinate if your task is perceived as boring and long.
  • Use online questionnaires for nutritionists. Ensure questionnaires can be completed from a mobile phone.
  • Remove all hassle from the clients' perspective, such as having to install a specific program in their computer to complete your questionnaire.
  • Send reminder emails (preferably automated) before the consultation if your client has not completed required assessments yet.

2. Improve your client booking process

The easier it is for clients to book an appointment with you, the better. Many people trying to reach you will give up if they have to exchange too many emails beforehand, or have many calls to agree on a date or go through disclaimers.

Tips for improving booking:

  • Use software to send your available meeting slots to clients, allowing them to book one with a click. This is much better than 8 emails back and forth to pick a day.
  • Send an auto-generated email reminder the day before the visit and/or the day of the consultation (some people may actually forget they had an appointment with you if they are not reminded).
  • Schedule follow ups (e.g. 4 weeks forward) the moment you finish a consultation. Using automation software for this will help.
  • Send all disclaimers, contracts, pricing, etc automatically upon booking an appointment.

3. Check your clients' data and progress regularly

If you are meeting with your client on a regular basis, (every few weeks, or even months) you can improve their adherence to your advice (meal plan or other recommendations) by frequently reviewing their data and providing feedback.

Things to consider:

  • Keep clean and tidy client records with all the data you need
  • Update your client records after every interaction with your client.
  • Monitor progress and provide feedback regularly
  • Send reminders to your client to complete meal journals or to stay on track of other tasks when appropriate.
  • Send progress reports often, including actionable advice to follow.

How to apply compliance strategies in a practical case

Implementing the strategies outlined above will result in noticeable improvements in client compliance. There are many ways on how to actually include compliance in your workflow. Here are a few options:

a) Do it all yourself
If you are extremely disciplined, and able to remember to send dozens of emails and documents every day to clients, then go for it! This won't cost you money, but will inevitably consume time (and perhaps sanity). This option is only good if you have a low volume of clients – or if you really like paperwork and admin tasks!

b) Use a variety of software tools
There are many separate tools for appointments, scheduling, questionnaires, booking in clients, setting reminders... Many of them are free (or cheap) and work well. Disadvantages are that it's hard to keep up with 5+ different programs. Furthermore, most admin software won't be designed for nutritional therapists but rather for a generic audience of users.

c) Use nutritionist software like NutriAdmin
NutriAdmin is software built specifically for nutritionists – and it allows you to easily implement all of the compliance suggestions explained in this article: automatic client reminders, online questionnaires, booking in clients with one click, etc. Furthermore, NutriAdmin can help you with reports, meal plans, client records, and more. The software is affordable and you can try it for free at nutriadmin.com.

Conclusion

It is possible to increase your clients' compliance via a combination of timely reminders, removing the hassle in the actions they need to take, and communicating frequently. Software can help you automate all of these tasks, liberating your time so that you can focus on the human component of your business – that no software can do for you.

An engaged client base that is able to follow your nutrition advice without issue is worth the investment in process optimisation. Follow the tips included in this article and both you and your patients will rip the benefits straightaway.

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