How to Set Up Online Consultations for Your Holistic Practice

3 min read

If you aren’t already offering online consultations to your clients, then you’re falling behind the curve. As more people settle into permanently working from the comfort of their homes, they expect to access services from home too. Here’s how to set up online consultationsand set yourself up for success.

The Quickest (and Most Affordable) Way to Offer Online Consultations

Step 1: Set the Rules

As a healing arts professional, offering online consultations may seem counterintuitive, after all, talking virtually makes it harder to read your clients’ body language and impossible to conduct a physical assessment. However, as the saying goes, there is a time and place for everything, and knowing when—and when not to—offer an online session can make all the difference. 

It should go without saying that online consultations aren’t always appropriate. For example, if your client has a physical injury, is in severe pain or discomfort, or in mental distress, then it may be best to offer a house call, invite them to come into your office, or encourage them to seek urgent care. 

While it may seem like common sense to you, it’s important to highlight the limitations of online consultations to your clients when you market the service or before they book a session. Looking out for your clients’ best interests will only serve to reflect positively on you as a holistic professional.

You could take things a step further and offer online consultations for certain categories of clients or for specific situations. For example, you could offer online consultations to elderly clients or clients with limited mobility. Another option is to reserve online sessions for clients with simple questions, those seeking health coaching services, or for general follow-ups.

This is a great way to make your practice more accessible, cut down waiting times, and generally offer a level of convenience to your clients.

An open monthly planner with two pens on it

Step 2: Choose a Booking System

Now, there is no single way to go about this, and your decision will likely be based on a combination of your technical expertise, your practice’s needs, and, of course, your budget.

If You Have a Website

Are you building your site or already have one up and running? Then you could have a custom appointment booking system developed for your site. This way, you can have a system that’s not only on-brand but one that also incorporates all the bells and whistles you want. 

However, hiring a professional developer often comes with a hefty price tag, and if you’re just getting started, then it’s understandable if you’re not in a position to make that kind of investment. The good news is that there are ways to get started without a developer.

If you have a WordPress or Shopify site, for example, then all you need to do is choose and install a booking plugin. A plugin is a software, much like a mobile app, that you can download onto your site to enhance its functionality. 

So, in this case, you’d need to find, download, install and configure a plugin that adds a booking system to your site. It sounds more complicated than it is, and a quick online search is sure to put your mind at ease when you read through a few of the endless guides available.

If You Don’t Have a website

Don’t have your own site? Don’t sweat it, you don’t need a website to offer online sessions. Calendly and Google Calendar, for example, are both excellent ways to organize your consultations. You can use these tools to set your availability; accept, reschedule and cancel appointments; and automatically send meeting links to your clients.

In fact, this is a great option even if you already have a site. It’s easy to use, low maintenance, and low cost.

Step 3: Pick a Video Conferencing Platform

Before you get nervous about signing up for an account with one of the major video conferencing platforms, you’ll be happy to know that you probably don’t have to pay for a thing. That’s right, most video conferencing platforms are free for one-on-one meetings. 

However, as with most businesses, ‘free’ often comes at a cost. Check whether your chosen platform imposes a time limit on free accounts. You’ll want to be sure that your consultation won’t suddenly cut off without warning.

Here are just a few of the most popular choices:

  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Skype
  • Whereby
  • Slack

Final Thoughts

Getting your business online has never been easier. So easy, in fact, that you probably don’t have a good reason not to start offering online consultations. For more tips on growing your holistic business, follow the Institute of Holistic and Integrative Studies’ business academy offerings, and follow our blog for industry guides and more.

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