“Over the last few years, some practices have reported an increasing number of no-shows, and with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, no-shows in some practices have increased dramatically”.1 According to a recent study completed by the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association (VHMA), one of the survey questions asked, “Have you had an increased number of clients no-show their appointment since the pandemic started?” It’s clearly a problem with just over 50% saying yes”.1

So what can be done to help reduce no-show appointments and increase follow-up services? In order to help reduce client no-shows for your practice and increase repeat client services, consider using automated SMS/email reminders and postcards.

Here are some best practice strategy tips to help your practice reduce no-shows and increase repeat client services.

Reduce no-show appointments by sending out automated SMS reminders

  • At the time of booking the appointment, send a confirmation text message to the client acknowledging the appointment
  • Send an SMS message at least 24 hours in advance before the appointment to get confirmation if they will be able to make it
  • For appointments booked a couple of weeks or months out, send a series of SMS message reminders first with confirmation of the booking, then one week before the appointment, and again 24 hours before the appointment
  • In the SMS appointment reminder, make sure to personalize the reminder to the patient in order to increase engagement by including the patient’s name, appointment date, and time of the appointment
  • Also, include a clear call-to-action for confirming or rescheduling the appointment

Increase repeat client visits by sending out automated SMS/Email Reminders and Postcards

  • Whether for vaccinations, annual wellness exams, medications, or other services, using an automated SMS/Email reminder and postcard system is one of the most important client contact opportunities you have to increase client retention at your practice.
  • Sending out email notifications to your clients is not just for reminders but can also be used in providing important health concern update information. “Pet owners who receive emailed notifications of disease outbreaks and other events usually become more observant, bringing their animals in for a checkup”.2
  • “Some might say direct mailings are a thing of the past; however, they are still a popular option for many clients. Reminder card wording is important, so be sure to highlight the needed service or product.”3 Sending out a customized postcard provides a physical reminder for vaccinations, annual exams, medications, or other services that your client can stick on the fridge or in an easy spot for remembering to schedule the appointment. Don’t get lost in the text message or email inbox shuffle. Provide a physical touch point to your clients with direct mail postcards.

Schedule a demo today to see how automated appointment reminders can help decrease no-show appointment and how using SMS/Email/Postcards Service Reminders can help draw clients back to your practice!

References:

  1. Felsted K. Client No-Shows: Frequency, Deposits and Fees. Insiders Insights. Veterinary Hospital Managers Association. Available at: https://cdn.ymaws.com/members.vhma.org/resource/resmgr/insiders__insight_2020/VHMAInsidersInsightNovember2.pdf
  2. Greaney, C. Boost Client Retention Using Email Marketing for Veterinarians. Available at: https://imatrix.com/blog/email-marketing-vet/
  3. Walsh, S. Veterinary Client Reminders: 5 Effective Ways to Reach Your Clients. Available at: https://www.practicelife.com/en/latest/veterinary-client-reminders-5-effective-ways-to-reach-your-clients/