Increase your efficiency with a template for your welcome package for new clients
As part of your practice policies, you send a welcome package for new clients before they begin treatment. However, you’ve been piecemealing these packages together, sometimes emailing them out and other times printing everything manually and mailing them to their homes. At this point, you’d like to create a template so you can hire someone to manage this for you. Your administrative tasks are piling up, and to avoid burnout, you know it’s time to streamline some processes.
But, before you can pass this and other tasks on to someone, you need to get organized. Look to create both a digital and paper copy of everything you want to be printed and shared with new clients. Remember, besides collecting demographic and billing information and having them sign off on policies, this package should also include motivation for them to come to their first session (and keep returning!).
What to include in a welcome package for new clients
Your new client package should include all the required paperwork as well as encouraging info to keep them calm before their first appointment. But, what precisely do you put in there? First, start with a letter that introduces your practice and details anything that needs to be read or completed before the first session. (Not sure what to write? No problem! We’ve got a template for you.)
After the letter, include any relevant policies. Consider adding your practice’s confidentiality, payment, social media, and email contact policies. It’s worth it to include any other policies you deem relevant. Next, gather all the details you need from your new clients, such as personal demographics, insurance information (or credit card details) and the consent to treatment. Also, be sure to include contact information for your local emergency services, the local hospitals, substance abuse and crisis centers, as well as the national suicide prevention hotline. If you have on-call hours or an answering service, provide that information as well.
Finally, leave your new clients with something uplifting and instructional. This can mean you include a sheet of motivational quotes or a list of YouTube videos showing deep breathing techniques, easy-to- learn yoga stretches, or spoken positive affirmations. Another option, depending on the type of practice you run is to include information about how to deal with a panic attack or how to best neutralize a marital disagreement.
Because clients are often anxious about their first session, a worksheet that gets them thinking about their needs or any anxieties or questions about counseling, in general, may help to facilitate your conversation (or at least get them thinking about what you’ll discuss.
How to deliver a welcome package for new clients
There’s no “right” way to deliver the welcome package for new clients. If they’re willing to share their email, you could send it digitally, or you could mail it to their home. Just be sure to make it easy for your clients. Don’t request that they come to your office to pick up the package before their first appointment.
One benefit to sending the packet digitally is you know it will be delivered quickly, and your clients will have time to look it over before their first appointment. However, the digital landscape complicates the information you need to collect from your client. Unless you have a secure atmosphere, your clients may feel uncomfortable emailing back personal information such as credit cards or insurance numbers. Plus, there may be forms that need to be signed and kept in their paper file. (Check out SimplePractice — we provide bank level security!)
Printing and mailing the welcome packets is another option. If you want clients to sign your policies manually, you know it’s going to be on paper, so why not just provide it for them? Well, one problem is that it takes a lot of administrative time to prepare these packets. Plus, you need to schlep yourself to the post office every time you get a new client. And finally, don’t forget that all that printing is bad for the environment. If you choose to go that route, remember to print on both sides of the paper.
There are pros and cons to delivering a print or digital copy, so it’s a personal preference. However, there is one more option. Deliver your clients the package in two parts. The first, everything your client needs to read or see, but not sign, can be delivered digitally. Then, the forms that need to be signed or completed can either be sent in the mail or completed in your office before the session begins.
As mentioned before, SimplePractice is a great option to get your clients to upload their credit card information for payments, but we can do so much more. Check out our features today, and sign up for a free 30-day trial.
What do you include in your welcome package for new clients? Share your tips and ideas in the comments.