Today is Counselling West Bridgford’s birthday!
Time to look at Counselling Data and Statistics (still a Finance Director…!)
I’ve gathered anonymous data since the start, with a desire to understand how clients discover the business, how they make the first move, how many appointments they tend to have, along with the uncomfortable stuff e.g. enquiries that don’t convert into clients, and those that leave before the work is done.
Armed with this, I and fellow professionals can work to understand how / why clients make those choices and adapt our business model and ways of working in line with our findings.
Counselling West Bridgford Story
Of course the data collected is for just one year, and for Counselling West Bridgford only.
I started as telephone-only on 16th April 2020, spoke to my first client on 25th April 2020, and I saw my first in-person client at Pavilion House on 1st September 2020. I didn’t make a note of when I first offered video counselling, but my first video appointment was 5th August 2020.
I obtained 2 contracts: as in-house counsellor at Turner & Co, and for the university.
Clients were and still are asked to pay in advance, at least 48 hours before their appointment. Since day 1, clients can book online, by telephone, text or email. A few clients have requested to pay by bank transfer, but otherwise using the Stripe invoice system which links to a secure payment page has eliminated fee collection problems. All clients have accepted this approach without concern or question.
The 3-week lockdown in November 2020 was followed by 3½-months for the first quarter of 2021.
Other than that it was a straightforward year! 😀
So, bearing all that in mind…
Counselling West Bridgford Year 1 Statistics
Headlines and Commentary
122 enquiries*, 92 clients (75%), 480 appointments completed.
On the whole, delighted with the enquires, conversions and numbers completing their course of treatment.
I would like to improve the ratio of men:women. Finding ways to appeal to men, is an ongoing topic.
In the early months, enquiries were coming in for services not currently on offer, so adjusted website and advertising in response so potential clients have the information in advance.
I have strict criteria for how a client can be considered ‘work done’* to minimise the amount of personal judgement on my part. Learning how to reduce levels of drop-out is a challenge for the profession so I want to keep a close eye on it, introducing strategies to reduce.
Half of potential clients use the online booking system when they make their first move, which confirms what I considered to be a vital tool from day 1.
There doesn’t seem to be a preferred day of the week for making an initial enquiry via the online booking system, and telephone is of course restricted to business hours. Email tends to be the first 3 days of the week, which is surprising, and don’t have any explanation for that; it could be skewed because of low volumes.
The average number of appointments for work completed is likely to be understated compared to the anticipated long-term trend, as long-term clients are, of course, still attending.
Enquiries and Conversions
Excluding contract work: 95 enquiries, converting to 66 clients (79%)
7 no-show to initial (free) consultation.
The ratio of men : women clients is 1:2
Excluding contract work,
% of first contact by method:
% of enquiries
The day those enquiries came in:
Number of appointments
Overall average number of appointments, including time-limited and ongoing clients: 5.2 appointments per client
Ongoing clients, excluding time-limited clients: 11.0 appointments per client (median = 9)
Clients who finished their course of treatment (as opposed to ending ‘Early’*) and excluding single-session: 6.1 appointments per client, (median = 7).
7 clients attended single-session appointments.
An interesting first year, and will forever remain atypical!
The natural business cycle (the months / time of year) clients make the first move I will learn over the coming years. One thing for sure is the ‘January rush’ was skuppered by Lockdown!
Despite various consultancy advice, experiments and lots of £££ spent, how to become part of the client decision making (i.e. how they decide it’s time for counselling in the first place) remains a mystery. And I’m baffled as to why I haven’t had dozens of enquiries for my in-house counsellor service, which works brilliantly and is such good value for money as well as a great add-on for staff welfare.
The great news is I have a basis to build on. I’ve learnt lots, and adjusted my approach based on feedback and experience.
I look forward to updating you again next year with more counselling data and statistics!
Enquiries were counted even if they were for services not on offer
‘Early’ is defined as any client who stopped having appointment, without having an ‘ending’ session, e.g. cancelled when advance payment was due, or indicated they would be in touch with day / time but didn’t