How to follow-up with clients
As an agency owner I have the privilege of hearing the odd customer complaint. Admittedly we don’t get very many (thankfully!), but when we do one of the comments I hear is that the doula didn’t follow-up as promised.
Types of follow-up
In our last post we discussed the consultation and how important it is to follow-up within a couple of days of meeting a client. If you’ve gone to all the trouble to market yourself, then interact by phone or email and then meet with a client, why stop the great service once you’ve met with a potential client? Be sure to follow-up. If you’re wondering what you should follow-up with, read our last post for a reminder.
When a client calls or emails you to let you know they want to hire you as their doula (congrats!) be sure to follow-up promptly with your contract and/or next steps for how to finalize the booking. If you haven’t received a signed contract and deposit, you’re not really booked yet.
This is one of your first opportunities to show them that you’re responsive and it will reinforce for them that they made a good choice in choosing you.
It’s also a nice doula touch to thank your clients for booking you (once you’ve received the contract and deposit). Some doulas like to give a little gift. Think about other great practitioners in your community that might like to offer a free service to your clients (usually in the hopes of the client rebooking for extras). If you take the time to get to know these
practitioners it may make a great gift to your clients. In the past I’ve done this with photographers, therapists, acupuncturists, etc. The clients aren’t obligated of course, but it’s a nice touch. I’m sure you can come up with many other ideas! Let us know what they are so we can share among each other!
One of the most common times to need to send a follow-up to a client is after a prenatal visit. Because so many things come up in a visit, it’s a good idea to keep a piece of paper, notebook, or sticky note near you to jot down the things you’re going to send more info on after your visit. I like the sticky note because I put it on my phone so I get to it very soon after our visit. Be sure to follow-up promptly with anything you promised. The most common items are websites, links, more info, etc. Please know that if you’re a new doula who’s worried that clients expect you to know everything, they DON’T! No one knows everything and some things are outside of our scope to provide. So it’s totally normal and natural to have a list of things you’re going to research for yourself or send to your clients as a follow-up.
We definitely want our clients to feel like we’re there for them and thinking about them, but some clients feel overwhelmed at how many people call or text to “see how things are going” near the end of their pregnancy.
Maybe instead ask your client what they’d like from you. Do they want you to call or text? Do they want to be the one who reaches out to you? Will they feel cherished by a warm message with some info? Will they enjoy a short check-in visit while you’re in their neighbourhood? Be sure to inquire so you can provide the right and best type of support.
During early labour
Early labour can be another challenging time. How often and when people might want to be in touch varies from client to client. Again, the best course of action is to ask your client during a prenatal visit what they feel might be most helpful. Each time you chat with a client in early labour make a plan for what the next ‘check-in’ will be. Will they call you (my recommendation), or will you reach out to them? Get a clear understanding so you can meet your clients’ expectations.
It’s also nice to leave a parting gift. This could be something you make (if you’re crafty), or maybe a birth story if you like to write. My suggestion is that it be something thoughtful and something that you’d enjoy making or doing, so it doesn’t feel like a chore to you.
As you can see there are TONS of opportunities to connect with our clients outside of our in-person time together. It’s a big part of what we do and what makes us great. On a side note, it’s also part of the value we bring, and the hours we spend supporting our clients outside of the ‘traditional’ hours we think about. I’d love to hear your ideas too and if you’ve found other things that work well for you.
#WorldDoulaDomination #ClientFollowUp #DoulaSchool
About the Author
Stefanie is a visionary in the childbirth field. She leads the Discover Birth organization providing a variety of services to expectant parents and training for those wishing to pursue work in the childbirth field. Stefanie is a board member with the Association of Ontario Doulas, former Public Relations Director for DONA International, and sits on many local boards and coalitions to improve our communities. She is a DONA-approved Birth Doula Trainer, runs an Approved Program for Lamaze International and runs two doula agencies Discover Birth and The Nesting Place.
Stefanie is the founder of The Birth Doula Program at the Scarborough Hospital.
Stefanie is a contributing author in the best selling Power of Women United and the book Bearing Witness: Childbirth Stories Told by Doulas. She is a regular contributing writer and blogger, and has done many interviews online and for TV/radio.
Before becoming a doula, Stefanie worked in corporate intelligence, helping large companies keep abreast of their markets and competitors. She now works to bring some of those same skills to the doula profession, helping it grow and prosper, along with its many doula members.