How to achieve balance between new and existing clients

By Marketing

7 May 2019 5 min read


Recent Covetrus research reveals that client acquisition and retention is described by many veterinary practice owners as ‘challenging’.

This is understandable; gaining new clients and keeping existing ones isn’t easy – it’s a task that requires planning, research, time, effort and financial investment.

New clients are vital to your practice’s health; they replace natural attrition caused by death, relocation or lack of motivation. New patients often also require more veterinary attention than those who are already on an annual checkup schedule. 

It costs five times as much to obtain a new client

But, as important as it is to attract new clients, Veterinary Practice News reports it can cost up to five times as much than keeping an existing one. Not only that, the average business loses around 20% of its clients each year by failing to focus on existing client relationships.

Therefore, it’s easy to see how veterinary practices that are not doing enough to retain existing clients or attract new ones can quickly stagnate and lose revenue.

Covetrus research shows that practices who fail to monitor and respond to changes in their business run a high risk of being left behind or going out of business.

Attracting new clients and retaining existing ones is not just about promoting services. It is also about identifying available capacity, understanding which types of clients grow the practice and maintaining the delicate balance between new and existing customers.

Traditional channels of communication aren’t enough

Research also shows that reminders and recalls play an important role in veterinary practice success. In particular, they help with client retention and bring patients back to your practice for additional appointments.

Data makes it clear that the effective use of recalls and reminders can deliver a very healthy return on investment. This is especially true when an automated reminder and recall system is used. But, how do staff in a busy veterinary clinic take care of this important, but time-consuming, responsibility?

Staff often talk about the struggles they have trying to manage all of their day-to-day tasks, let alone calling clients to remind them of routine appointments.

It’s easy to forget that this effort takes the focus away from clients and patients in-office. With all the modern changes in communication, most clients these days are used to instant, electronic messaging and don’t respond well to printed communication any longer.

Three different communication methods are needed

In fact, research shows the best way to encourage repeat visits is to communicate three times using three different methods immediately before and after the recall due date. This means using methods such as SMS, email, and voicemail.

When this process is automated and integrated with online appointment booking or confirmation, it provides an efficient system that dramatically improves practice performance.

Automation can increase compliance by 50%

Automated scheduling and confirmation increases reminder compliance and reduces no-shows by up to 50%. Cater to your clients’ communication preferences and make it easy for them to respond using automated scheduling and reminders.

A fully-integrated, automated solution that uses email, SMS and voicemail streamlines your practice operations significantly. In fact, veterinary communication consultant, Wendy S. Myers, says it’s reasonable to expect a 70% response rate once clients receive first, second, and third reminders.

Advances in messaging technology mean you can now send personalized communications to each of your clients, every time. For example, imagine how pleased they’ll be if they receive:

  • Reminder postcards in their mailbox, with a picture of their pet on it
  • A customized welcome message
  • A Happy Birthday wish to your client’s pet

This individualized communication is easy with automation and keeps your practice top-of-mind.

Rapport helps you stay on top of your automated communications using message activity windows that show the type of communications your clients have received, and when. You can control:

  • What communications are sent to clients
  • Timing between communications
  • When to stop communications

Want to increase compliance and reduce the inefficiencies linked to manual reminder methods? Find out how to boost your client communications using Rapport’s customized messaging tools.