May 25, 2020
In this episode, James and Lorinda Marland join in speaking about outsourcing work in private practice. A virtual assistant can be used to do loads of things in your private practice. For one, a VA will help you stay connected with clients. When a potential client speaks to someone on the phone the first time they call – that’s going to be a massive win for your practice. James and Lorinda talk about other things a VA can do for your practice, such as marketing, social media, and perfecting your website. Plus, they explain how a VA can help you build relationships and sell more content.
James Marland is Chief Operations Officer at Move Forward Virtual Assistants with over 18 years of experience in social service and non-profit organizations. James loves the power of learning and holds a Master’s degree in Ministry and Business Administration.
Lorinda has been doing secretarial and scheduling work for over 15 years. Her experience ranges from working in small businesses to large scheduling offices. Some of those years were spent working in the medical field with Philhaven, now Philhaven Wellspan. Lorinda enjoys working with the public and using her administrative gifts to help the business grow and thrive. She brings a unique perspective to the table having not only worked doing scheduling but also managing an office. Listen to her interview on what makes it easy to onboard with a new virtual assistant and what might make it hard to start with a new practice.
A virtual assistant will connect with the clients by passing along messages or just getting them in contact one-on-one with their therapist. A virtual assistant can generally do that a little quicker or maybe much quicker than the therapist. Many new clients like to get a live person on the phone – they appreciate that fact. When Lorinda first started taking calls for a therapist, she got like sixteen calls. Out of the sixteen, there were probably about four or five that she scheduled as new clients to her practice. Whereas if Lorinda hadn’t been there, the therapist wouldn’t have gotten all of those calls.
Despite COVID-19, we still have clients to see. We still have phone calls to make. We still have insurance issues to figure out. We still need marketing, podcasts, social media, webpages. It’s good to remember that even though a lot has changed, a lot hasn’t changed. You’re still a therapist, you’re running a business. How you do it now that the world has changed? We need to figure out that puzzle.
One thing a virtual assistant can do is connect with current clients. A lot of work needs to be done to ensure that the existing clients keep coming to their sessions. The VA can spend a lot of time connecting with current clients, sending letters, checking emails, calling them, making sure they know about virtual therapy. A VA can even call the client and let them know about the missed session. Lorinda has been sending out emails, making phone calls to different referral places, and reminding clients of their appointments. She has also calls to reschedule with clients and touch base with them. Some of the clients aren’t as technology savvy. Lorinda has had clients call before their session, trying to figure out how to get into the link. Lorinda will send a message to the therapist and let the client know they are trying to enter the session while coaching the client on how to use the technology.
We still need to continue to build relationships with referral sources. A VA can let referrals know that you are doing teletherapy. Plus, they can find new referrals by contacting hospitals, schools, churches, and colleges. Now with everything kind of shut down, a VA can develop relationships with these referral sources because it does take time. Virtual assistants always pay off for people. The sooner you can get back with somebody, the more likely that person will go with you.
Many people have been trying to repackage their workshops, classes, paperwork packets, or some sort of online course or tool. Typically, that’s a lot of investment of time to get that going, but once it’s out there, you have it forever for marketing. So a virtual assistant can assist with social media and helping create teachable courses. They can also create blog posts for your website.
You might have an HR policy that’s out of date, or you have to review your paperwork, and it’s not really clear. A VA can help you do those types of things. It’s essential to have systems and processes in place to where things are more automated. A virtual assistant can help you bridge that gap. When we’re starting out in private practice, we’ve got a lot of time on our hands. Once you get busy and your practice starts getting full, that’s really the time to begin outsourcing and getting those things off your plate.
You do have to cut hours, don’t stop because you don’t want to stop completely. Maybe you can cut back a little bit, but keep doing your process, keep the routine, try to keep your current clients. Keep running those insurance reports and verifying benefits. Keep doing those things that have kept your business successful. Because if you have to start over again, there will be a month’s worth of work piled up. It will take hours to dig out from starting over again. It’s much harder to restart. So keep some of the momentum going.
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Gordon is the person behind The Practice of Therapy Podcast & Blog. He is also President and Founder of Kingsport Counseling Associates, PLLC. He is a therapist, consultant, business mentor, trainer, and writer. PLEASE Subscribe to The Practice of Therapy Podcast on iTunes, Stitcher and Google Play. Follow us on Twitter @therapistlearn and Pinterest “Like” us on Facebook