Today’s pet owners are busier than ever, and more technologically savvy. With higher expectations for convenience, providing great veterinary care these days may no longer be enough on its own to attract new clients, increase retention and grow patient visits.
As you’re no doubt discovering for yourself, modern veterinary practices not only have to compete with other local clinics, Dr. Google, and online retailers. But, you’re also up against your clients’ conflicting priorities. The net result is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get your clients to return with their pets for regular check-ups, which can be damaging to your bottom line.
There are solutions to these modern challenges, however, one of which is to consider implementing a total client communications solution. This simple strategy will help increase compliance, improve client retention, attract new clients, and streamline your practice workflows at the same time.
Four keys to successful client engagement
Secure more bookings
Making it as easy as possible for clients to book their next appointment is a key factor in ensuring they bring their pets in for their next check-up. Even if they have an appointment booked already, providing them with the option to change the time or day makes it much more likely they’ll turn up. If they still need to reschedule, this means you can offer the appointment time to another client.
The best way to do this is through online bookings. Research has shown that 17% of online bookings are made by new clients, and 17% of practices have reported an increase in revenue after adding this service.
Everyone you talk to these days complains about how busy they are. You’re busy, your staff and colleagues are preoccupied, and your clients are most likely telling you how full their days are, too. With the busy lives we lead these days, it’s no wonder that your clients sometimes forget that their pet is due for an annual check-up!
Automated appointment reminders not only streamline your practice’s recall and reminder process, they also remind your clients of the value of this critical part of their pet’s care. By linking reminders and recalls back to your online booking system it makes it much easier for your clients to confirm, book, or reschedule, appointment times as required.
Besides securing the patient’s health, checkups also safeguard your practice’s financial health. According to veterinary communications consultant, Wendy Myers, preventative services and products generate 38% of a practice’s income.
Break through the clutter
It’s estimated that in America the average office worker receives 121 emails every day. So, it’s easy to imagine that your reminder email may get lost amongst this huge volume of incoming email traffic.
Covetrus research has found that it’s good practice to send several reminder communications out across various channels in the weeks before a scheduled appointment. This includes by email, SMS message and postcard.
This gives your client plenty of opportunities to receive these reminders and take action; either confirming they’re coming or rescheduling the appointment. If none of these communication attempts have been responded to, this should still leave time to give the client a quick follow-up call and re-book the appointment.
Referrals are one of the most effective ways to gain new clients. Also, people are much more likely to trust the word of someone they know (or even an online review by a stranger), than what a business has to say about themselves.
Providing your patients with a way to review your practice and services quickly and easily and post these online is a super-effective marketing tactic. Combine this request with a short survey asking how they found the experience and you’ll also get invaluable information about what in your practice is working, what’s not, and what improvements your clients would like to see.