These days, pet owners without an established relationship with a veterinary practice are SOL. (Yes, I know the rule about spelling out an acronym on first mention in an article, but I’m going to assume you know what SOL means. I also know what assuming does, but… I digress.)
The point is, veterinary practices are booked. Existing clients are lucky to get appointments within a few weeks, and new clients are often being turned away. That’s why veterinary client reminders are more important now than ever—you don’t want a valuable appointment slot to be wasted because someone forgot about it. Here are a few tips to get the most out of your reminders.
1: Vary your cadence and reminder types
“One email and done” is not the most effective way to remind clients. When I worked in veterinary practice, our compliance rate improved by 10% when we began to vary our reminder types and cadences to ensure people would actually see the reminders, and so we didn’t over-remind.
Varying our appointment reminder types brought in more wellness visits, which allowed us to intelligently schedule the wellness visits at spaced out intervals, giving us better bandwidth to see more sick or injured pets without breaking the souls of the veterinarians and veterinary technicians.
What kinds of reminders should you be sending and when? Based on my experience testing the most effective reminder strategy, I recommend the following:
|WHAT TO SEND||WHEN TO SEND IT|
|Postcard||60 days before service is due|
|30 days before service is due|
|Push notification and/or text message or email||10–14 days before service is due|
|Text message||5–7 days before service is due|
|Phone call||Only if requested by the client,
or if other outreach efforts have failed
|Postcard, push notification, and/or email||30 days past-due|
2: Include a clear call to action
The last thing you want to do is send a beautiful reminder that grabs your clients’ attention, only to have them not book a veterinary appointment because they don’t have time to call your practice right now, or they don’t know where to go on your website to schedule.
Make it easy for clients to book an appointment when they receive your reminders. Include a clear, clickable call to action.
Clearly tell your clients what you want them to do, followed by how they can do it. “Call our office at <phone number> or click here to request an appointment.”
- On your postcard reminders, include a QR code that links to your practice app or scheduling page on your website, and list your practice’s phone number.
- On emails and text messages, include the direct link to your app or scheduling page, as well as a clickable hospital phone number.
- On push notifications through your app, include a link to your app’s appointment request feature.
3: Automate your reminders
Gone are the days when all clients needed was to be called to be reminded of their appointments. Through your PMS or veterinary practice app, email, text, push notification, and postcard reminders can be automatically sent, so phone calls can be reserved for only those clients who didn’t confirm via another reminder method.
4: Make your reminders stand out
What good is it to send reminders that are ignored or missed because they’re boring? Here are a few ways to ensure your reminders grab your clients’ attention and inspire them to act:
- Include the pet’s name in your email subject line — “It’s time for Fluffy’s visit!” will more likely be opened than “An important reminder from ABC Animal Hospital!”
- Personalize the reminders — Include the pet’s name, the client’s name, and any pertinent details in laypersons’ terms.
- Include an eye-catching design — Don’t let your postcards be mistaken for junk mail. Make them stand out with bright, attractive imagery.
- Address reminders to the pet, not the owner — Not only will this make the reminder more memorable, but it can also make a past-due reminder feel less accusatory. “Oh no, Coco! You’re late for your wellness visit! Have Mrs. Smith click here to schedule your appointment!”
DON’T: “Hi! Your pet is due for DHLPP. Call our office to book an appointment.”
DO: “Hi, Spot! It’s time for your canine distemper vaccine. Mr. Jones can call <phone number> or click here to schedule an appointment!”
5: Communicate expectations
Some clients will respond when they receive that early postcard reminder. Others will need a text message a week before to act. And, some will wait until they receive a past-due reminder before booking a veterinary appointment. Rather than asking clients up-front which type of reminder they’d like to receive, educate them about all the types of reminders your veterinary practice will send them. The pickiest clients won’t be shy about expressing their preferences, so if they request not to receive certain types of reminders, honor their wishes.
Vet2Pet’s all-in-one client engagement and communication platform offers automated email, text, and push notification reminders at a cadence of your choosing, as well as coming-due (60 days before) and past-due (30 days after) postcard reminders. Schedule a demo to learn more about Vet2Pet’s reminders.