Retain Clients by Revamping the Three Rs

Kara Bednarik

veterinarian petting cat

In a perfect world, your clients would schedule their pet’s next annual exam while checking out of the current year’s exam – but we know how rarely that actually happens. It’s not for lack of interest in coming back, it’s just tough for folks to plan one week ahead of time, let alone an entire year.

There’s a theme in several of our articles about changing times and upgraded technology – and, frankly, that theme isn’t going anywhere anytime soon as times will continue to change. But the good news is that there are easy ways that your practice can adapt and overcome these struggles.

Reminders

According to the second edition of Blackwell’s Five-Minute Veterinary Practice Management Consult, practice reminders should have a more than 60% success rate for vaccination reminders (preferred success is 75% to 80% even) following the last postcard or call. If your practice isn’t seeing this kind of success from the postcards and calls that you’re doing, it might be time to mix it up.

An article published on the Veterinary Team Brief’s website called “Remind, Recall, Recheck: Applying the 3 R’s to Today’s Practice,” says many practices are branching out to emails and texts for scheduling reminders. Your practice management software most likely already gives you the option to select reminders, this is just taking that to the next step to actively keep your clients coming back year after year.

An important piece of this puzzle is to keep reminding your clients even after they’ve scheduled. This will help enforce the appointment and increase the likelihood of them showing up. And if they still miss the appointment, be sure to follow up to get them to reschedule. The article above includes a great recommended reminder schedule as a guide.

Book Ahead

Forward-booking is a technique that more veterinary practices are adding where a pet’s next exam is scheduled before your client walks out the door. A pet’s annual exam, or bi-annual for senior pets, is an anticipated visit that happens on or around the same time each year. Why not schedule ahead of time?

This is something that the article recommends doing in addition to your current routine rather than as a replacement for traditional scheduling practices. It has a lot of success in the human health industry, so applying the same principles in veterinary medicine makes sense. By making it easier on your client and forward booking their next appointment, you’re more likely to see them back whether it’s three weeks or one year from now.

Combining the forward-booking method with postcard reminders, texts, emails, and/or calls is a great way to remind your clients that their appointment is coming up. Help your practice retain more clients by taking advantage of your practice management software’s ability to send reminders, forward book more appointments, and reap the benefits of your scheduling improvements.

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