A recent study revealed that, without reminders, 29% of clients were likely to not show for their appointment. This percentage was cut in half when clients received a reminder prior to the appointment. Consider this significant difference in last-minute cancellation numbers:
- 9% of clients without a reminder cancelled their appointment
- 2% of clients with a reminder cancelled their appointment
These statistics show just how important reminders are in improving compliance for busy practices.
Lift compliance by giving your clients the opportunity to schedule their pet’s appointments themselves using an online scheduling function. Your clients will appreciate the ability to make appointments at a time and a place of their choosing. For example, Covetrus research shows that over 50% of online bookings are made outside standard practice hours.
When combined with automated reminders, online scheduling is a powerful tool to reduce no-shows and keep your appointment calendar full.
So, what is the best way to maximize the combined impact of online scheduling and appointment reminders?
Manually scheduling appointments and then sending out manual reminders represents a significant time investment. This time could be better spent. Automation ensures that reminder messages aren’t missed due to busy office schedules or daily unpredictable circumstances.
Send a confirmation email or text message immediately after an appointment is made. This confirms that the appointment scheduling was successful and includes appointment details for the client to review. This way, they know instantly if they accidentally booked for the wrong time or date and they can immediately fix it.
When you send reminders to your clients, provide them with the ability to reschedule if necessary. A good way to do this is to include links in your reminder emails to your online scheduling platform. It’s also good practice to have any ‘reply’ emails go to a monitored inbox – like your primary email – rather than being ‘no-reply’.
If you can’t reach a customer via email, having a mobile number can be a quick way to communicate with them. Two-way texting allows you to communicate reminders, changes, or details surrounding their pet.
Text message confirmation
Text messages have a high engagement rate:
- 98% open rate
- 90% of messages read within three minutes of receipt
Another great feature of text messages is that they’re quick and easy to respond to. You can send a message a few days out from the appointment and request Y or N confirmation that the client will attend. If they don’t respond within a specified time frame, only then does your team have to pick up the phone and contact the customer.