Appointment Reminders to Clients : Best practices for Veterinarians
As a Veterinarian, you must ensure the best health for your patients. And, it happens more often than not that, your clients fail to bring their pets for check up on scheduled time. This can be a big deal if you are a busy veterinarian with tight schedules. Hence, it is advisable to remind clients beforehand about their appointments. Usually, your receptionist would call up the clients reminding them about bringing their pets for the checkup. But, with the advent of Veterinary Software or what we often call Practice Management Systems (PMS), this job has become easier than never before. Sending reminders to clients is just one click away. Just tap a button on your veterinary computer program and your client receives a Reminder Email about their appointments instantly. Isn't that cool?
Why don't clients show up for the Check-Up of their Pet?
As per a survey conducted by our team of several veterinarians, we found that at least 20% of pet owners do not show up for the check up on scheduled time. And, this number may go up to 75% depending on the location of the pet clinic, demographic of pet owners & reputation of the clinic. Just imagine the business implications if 3/4th of your clients do not show up for the checkup. Although there are several reasons for the same, we found some common reasons why pet owners do not show up for appointments.
#1 No Time
On an average, it takes 23 minutes for the check-up of a pet. And, adding travel time & waiting time, it adds up to at least 1 hour 30 minutes for a checkup of a pet. Hence, the clients sometimes choose to attend other matters instead if the pet's is not severely ill.
#2 To Save Money
The vets call for routine checkups & follow-ups after an illness of the pet. However, occasionally the pet owners choose to ignore these kinds of appointments to save some money. According to a report by PetCareRx, an average pet owner has to spend $ 150 per year as basic costs of pet's health maintenance. The additional cost may range from $600 to $1200 depending on your pet's age. Hence, maintaining a pet may sometimes become an expensive affair.There is no wonder they skip few of the routine health checkups of their pets.
#3 Forget Schedules
This is the most common reason why pet owners don't show up for the checkup. This happens mostly when vets give reminder over the phone about annual checkup that is due. Clients acknowledge the call yet forget to note down the schedule. And, as a result, they don't show up at the clinic. These days, follow up emails & SMS are found effective after a reminder call. Also, sending invitations over calendar can also be very helpful.
an average pet owner has to spend $ 150 per year as basic costs of pet's health maintenance. The additional cost may range from $600 to $1200 depending on your pet's age. Hence, maintaining a pet may sometimes become an expensive affair.There is no wonder they skip few of the routine health checkups of their pets.
Ways to remind Pet Owners for Veterinary Checkup
There are multiple ways to remind your client about the checkup of their pet. It is advisable to send reminders through multiple channels(e.g. Email, SMS, Call) for better results. Here is a list of the channels that can be leveraged to send appointment reminders:
This is the easiest channel to target for the purpose of communication with clients. Emails are easy to automate, can be integrated with your Veterinary Software/Practice Management Software. Also, emails get synchronized directly with the calendar of the client which is a great advantage. Emails never restrict you in terms of the size of the content & allow you to put as much information you want inside an email.
SMS is another crucial channel which is not to be ignored. The open rate of SMSes is considerably higher than emails. Perhaps, that is why all financial transactions are linked to SMS alerts. There are some Veterinary Softwares that allow vets to send reminder SMSes directly to the clients. All vets are advised to use such a Vet Software for their practice.
Calls give a personal touch to conversations. Business conversation is incomplete without a personal touch. So, after email & SMS reminders, following up with a call would be the best thing to do.
Some interesting methods to increase patient show-up rate
- Schedule reminders within 24 hours of the initial call. If you are scheduling something for the next day, the likeliness for clients to show up will be the highest. The alternate way here is to remind clients about the appointment 24 hours in advance.
- Ask clients for the preferred time slot for an appointment. Give clients at least three times slots to choose from before fixing appointments.
- Prepaid Appointments: Allow patients to prepay for their future appointments by giving incentives for prepaid appointments. When clients commit money to something, they are more likely to show up.
- Reschedule: If clients miss appointments, contact them right away, enquire the reason for No-Show & ask if they would like to reschedule the appointment.
- Multiple Reminders: Multiple reminders through multiple communication channels are really beneficial when it comes to reminding appointments
- Waiting Time: People will value your time if you value their time. Hence, a wise idea would be to reduce the waiting time for clients in the waiting room. If there is any constraint in waiting time, then try to engage your clients & patients in some routine activities like measuring weight & blood pressure.
- Appreciations & Rewards: Acknowledging & Thanking the clients for the effort to show up on time is a great way to motivate them. Adding on to that, a discount on the bill for showing up in time can also be a way to incentivize those efforts.
- Allow patients to book appointments online. Clients are not likely to miss something that they themselves have scheduled. There are some Practice Management Softwares or Veterinary Software that allow your clients to book appointments online. VETport is one such PMS which enables you to choose schedule & fix appointments with the provider.
- Client Satisfaction: Keep your clients happy and keep their pets healthy.
5 Appointment Reminder Templates
- Dear XYZ,
This is a reminder you have an Appointment with ABC Clinic on DD/MM/YY. Please reply with Yes to confirm.
- Hi XYZ, your next app with ABC is on DD/MM/YY. Please reply with YES to confirm or call [BUSINESS-PHONE] if unable to attend.
- Hello XYZ, you have an appointment booked with Vet ABC on DD/MM/YY. Please text YES to confirm.
- Hello XYZ. This is an automated reminder of your appointment with Doctor ABC on DD/MM/YY. Please reply with YES to confirm or call [PHONE-NUMBER] to reschedule.
- Hello this is friendly reminder of your appointment tomorrow starting at HH:MM @ ABC Clinic
Best Practices for Veterinarians
Since the advent of Veterinary Softwares or what we often call Practice Management Softwares, organizing the practice has become easier & simpler. Veterinarians are not writing prescriptions on paper. Rather, they write it on their PMS dashboard & email a copy to the client. Similarly, Practice Management Softwares are allowing veterinarians to send automated Emails, SMS & Calls to the clients at the click of a button. If you are a Veterinarian Practitioner, we advise you to follow best practices & start using a Practice Management System. If you are wary of spending big bucks on a Veterinary Software, then try VETport's 30 Days Exclusive FREE Trial with no contracts. no obligation. Upgrade, downgrade, cancel anytime.
VETport is an Enterprise Grade Veterinary Software which can be used by Corporates or Group of Animal Clinics, Veterinary Universities, Single Clinics, Mobile Clinics, Equine Practices & Specialty Referrals. VETport features the world’s best veterinary EMR(Electronic Medical Records) which follows the SOAP process. Here are some of the unique features of VETport:
- Cloud-Based Architecture: Runs on any browser and device(Mobile, Laptop, Desktop, iPad). Can be accessed from your clinic, work, on the route, on clients site, from anywhere.
- SOAP-based EMR: Follows the SOAP format. Allows collaboration, i.e multiple VETs & staff can contribute and edit the same EMR at the same time. Doctors can create or modify their own exam forms & history forms. Can also add memos, attachments, education forms, lab records to the EMR easily. The EMR can be Printed, Faxed, Emailed or downloaded as PDF for sharing with clients.
- Time Zone Compatibility: Enables your staff to operate in different time zones. All the software work in local time and will automatically adjust time zone differences and Daylight saving time
- Personalized Dashboard: Option to customize the dashboard with multiple widgets & drag & drop features.
- Client Communication: VEtport's unique communication module supports two-way communication with your clients through EMails, SMS, Fax, Postcards & Chats. Send automatic reminders for appointments, vaccination & routine check-ups with VETport.
- Internal Communication: Tools like Clinic Chat which works just like any other instant messenger applications & Bulletin Board which allows you to display public messages & information.
- Reports & Analytics: Get reports on Accounting, Financials, Communication, Marketing & inventory. The CEOs dashboard is the two coolest reporting framework for Veterinary Practice Owners. Produce reports in forms of Graphs, Pie charts & Frequency Polygons. The reports can be exported in the form of CSV, HTML, PDF, PNG & JPEG format.
- Marketplace: Choose from more than 25 third party applications & integrate with your VETport account with just a click.
- Lab integrations: Both in-house & referral labs like Idexx, Antech, Abaxis, Gribbles, Fuji, Avid, Vet Rocket, Vetenvoy and many more.
- Inventory Management: Place orders, add vendors, change pricing, manage stock communicate, set stock levels etc.
- Free Support, Demo & Training.
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