Five ways client communication tools boost practice compliance

By Marketing

20 January 2020 5 min read


Client communication tools help you engage with pet owners to encourage return visits and build strategies to increase compliance in your practice.

This is where our seamless integrations can help your team on your way to compliance success.

According to Provet, a Covetrus company, preventatives and food product sales in 2018 grew at a slower rate than prescriptions. Over-the-counter products contribute around 40% of a vet practice’s cost of goods sold and remain an important source of revenue for practices across Australia and New Zealand. While there are many options for pet owners to purchase these products online from providers outside of the veterinary industry there are three concerns vet practices need to workaround:

  1. Pet owners miss out on important health information regarding dosage
  2. Pet owners miss out on reminders of how frequently to dose their pet before a check-up is needed
  3. Veterinarians lose visibility on which patients have received their preventative treatments

What are client communication tools?

Client communication tools are software solutions that connect to your practice management software with a secure connection. They use your patient and client records and history to send personalised messages to your clients that are relevant to their pet’s immediate or intermediary needs. Practice owners and managers can set and work on strategies to:

  • Minimise no shows
  • Improve compliance
  • Promote best practice client experience

The right client communication tool can help you achieve better compliance via fully automated reminders and recalls using the best practice approach combining post, SMS and email. This not only allows customers to schedule appointments online, but it also helps you increase staff efficiency, market, and grow your practice. When we talk to our clients using client communication tools with their RxWorks™ and VisionVPM™ vet practice software we hear the same benefits around practice compliance reported time after time.

Here are five ways client communication tools can help you boost your practice compliance:

1. Increased reminder compliance

Consider this typical scenario. A client is due for their next appointment, so you give them a call to remind them of the date and time. They’re busy at work, so your call goes through to voicemail. You leave a message but get no response. A few days later, you give them another call and get their voicemail again.

As this example reflects, trying to contact busy clients can be time-consuming and often ineffective. And, while attempts to make contact even once by phone can be a struggle, industry best practice suggests that recalls are most effective when clients are reminded more than once and through multiple methods: text, email and post.

Automated scheduling and confirmation can free up your staff to focus on value-add tasks, increase reminder compliance and reduce no-shows by up to 50%. Having integrated software that automatically recalls clients through each of the key channels of communication not only reduces staff time and effort significantly, it also means that clients can respond to reminders at their convenience.

2. Reduction in no shows

Your practice compliance goes hand in hand with the percentage of pet parents successfully attending their scheduled appointments. It’s also no surprise that appointment no-shows and cancellations can negatively impact your practice revenue, can cause inefficiencies in operational performance and create financial pressure. Our recent study found that losing a single appointment each day can cost a practice over $34,000 in revenue per year.

Client communication tools are designed to help reduce fail to attend and findings have shown that sending an automated SMS on the day or day before the appointment can reduce no-shows by up to 50%. Our team are on hand to set up your reminders system start to finish based on what your practice needs, providing you with a system of automated communications scheduled at pre-set intervals and sent at the most effective times. Depending on which integration your vet practice chooses, reminders and recalls can be designed to your brand as well, which are highly effective and carry your look and feel for consistent, on-brand communications.

3. Stronger client relationships

As well as bringing customers back through your doors, a strong bond between client and veterinarian is also likely to increase compliance. Just as we listen to the advice of our close friends, if a client feels a bond with their veterinarian, they are more likely to follow their recommendations for care. In this respect, bonding with your clients is not just important from a customer service point of view, it can also impact on the overall welfare of your patients.

Additionally, bonding can increase compliance; not only through trust but also through a better understanding of animal care. Part of having a good veterinarian-client bond is open communication, where clients feel comfortable asking questions about their animal’s care. If clients understand the reasons behind certain treatment options – and these can be discussed in the context of a good relationship – compliance follows far more naturally.

Building trust and commitment through effective communications is key in showing your clients that you care about what matters to them most. Rapport is a tool that many of our VisionVPM practices have found instrumental in building these stronger relationships and boosting client retention. For any business consistent messaging portraying your purpose and values is key to building a brand and business that customers want to engage with. This is particularly important when it comes to the veterinary industry and earning the trust of pet parents. We know that engaged clients visit more, promote more and stay with your practice longer.

Rapport’s integrated communications via email, SMS and postcard facilitates this engagement and can act as an extension of your brand, helping you get closer to your clients. Communications between appointments such as a practice newsletter containing news, updates and promotions are a great way to keep your clients aligned with and loyal to your practice.

4. Time-saving automation

Many practices continue to rely on traditional channels and manual methods to contact customers and schedule appointments – all done during business hours.  It’s easy to forget that this effort takes the focus away from customers in practice. We have been working with our clients to help them make the move from time-consuming manual operations to an automated practice management solutions to improve their business processes, save time and streamline the day-to-day. In a recent client story, Churchfield Vets explain how they have benefited from Rapport’s automated communication tools as part of their daily operations:

“It is immensely easy, there is no more toing and froing. The time saving has been the biggest benefit, and the cost savings that accompany this.”

With Rapport, your clients will receive relevant and fully automated communications at exactly the right time within the reminder or recall cycle. This means your practice can retire manual reminder runs, increase efficiency and promote a steady stream of appointments and product sales throughout the year.

5. Convenient online booking

In today’s time-pressured world, not only are your practice staff busy, your clients are too. Client communication tools give your clients the power of choice and simplifies things dramatically for your team. With an online booking system, clients don’t have to commit to an appointment date and time during their visit – they can do this at a time and place that suits them, using their device of choice.

In fact, practices with an online booking facility report that 50% of all appointments made using an online booking system are made outside of regular business hours, and 17% are from new clients. With an online booking system, your reception desk becomes available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These online client communication tools help your practice increase compliance by capturing appointments which might otherwise be ‘lost’ by offering your clients booking convenience and saving your practice valuable staff time. Having an online booking system need not replace traditional methods but by providing your client with more options and the power of choice, you are already on your way to increase compliance.

Your practice management software + Client communication tools = Your new strategy for boosting practice compliance

Do you want to learn more about what our Client Communication tools could do for your vet practice? Contact us today.