Human beings are forgetful creatures. According to a national poll reported in Huffington Post, two-fifths — or 39% — of us have forgotten or misplaced at least one everyday item in the past week. So it’s not hard to see how, without prompts, we can easily forget appointments we made a year, or even just months, ago. And this could be forgetting that the appointment existed entirely, or even just the date and time.
This inherent forgetfulness means that, without reminders, a portion of your appointments will be missed – resulting in a lack of routine care for patients and lost revenue for your veterinary clinic. Further, clients who aren’t forward-booking their pet’s appointments may forget to schedule without a healthcare reminder. Regular custom reminders aren’t only important for helping your clinic grow and thrive; they’re also essential for the ongoing health and wellbeing of the animals in your care.
We’ve put together the basics on why it’s important to have a system in place to override our natural human tendency towards forgetfulness.
Reminders are key for improving patient care
Healthcare and appointment reminders play a crucial role in the successful and efficient running of your practice. They’re not only important KPIs (key performance indicators) related to operational and financial outcomes for your clinic; they also play a key role in client retention and loyalty.
Most important is the positive impact of reminding a client they have an upcoming appointment for their pet, or that it’s time to bring in their pet for a check-up. Without these regular visits, pets can be exposed to diseases and parasites that left untreated could lead to serious illness. When patients aren’t brought in regularly you miss the opportunity to diagnose chronic illnesses like dental disease, obesity, and arthritis and begin preventative or remedial care.
Take a multi-faceted approach
Covetrus™ research has shown that clients often need reminders multiple times, via multiple touchpoints. This includes recalls for those that have been forward-booked in the past, or healthcare reminders that they need to schedule one for the future and bring their pet into your clinic.
Most of us carry smartphones these days to help stay in touch, as well as organise our lives. This means we’re regularly checking emails on our phones, making it easy to respond to email notifications as they come in. However, if you want to communicate with your clients, you don’t want to rely on a single channel.
A recent study showed that 67% of consumers prefer organisations to send text messages to remind them of upcoming appointments. Text messages are instantly received and are quick and easy to respond to.
To complete your multi-faceted program email and postcard reminders should be included. When used in conjunction, email and postal reminders prove to increase compliance by 31%. Add in text messages and see your compliance soar.
The power of three
People often need three prompts before they take action. This is especially true if you’re trying to recall a client who doesn’t currently have a booked appointment. So, it’s good practice to schedule in a series of text, email, and postcard reminders in the weeks leading up to the date of the appointment.
Take your reminders a step further by including online scheduling options. Clients can easily click through the reminder to schedule an appointment for an open slot, which automatically adds to your software schedule. The newly scheduled appointment will then fall into your appointment reminder cycle, sending the client and email or text in advance of the appointment to reduce the risk of no-shows.
Relying on your clients to remember that they have an appointment or that their pet is due for a checkup not only has the potential to hurt your clinic’s bottom line, it’s also not in the best interest of the animal. A multi-faceted reminder program plays an important role in ensuring your patients are getting optimal care, and your veterinary clinic keeps its appointment book full.
Contact us to learn more about reminders and scheduling options that suit the needs of your practice staff and your clients’ busy schedules.