While your patients may be animals, your business depends on the relationship you have with their human owners. Taking steps to make visits easier for them is critical for retention. Fortunately, most of these steps don’t take much to set up, and can actually save your staff time, improving the clinic experience for everyone.
What Can Your Clients Do Ahead of Time?
The less time your clients and their pets have to spend at your clinic, the better. One of the best ways to shorten visits is to move paperwork from your office to online. This gives owners a chance to fill out forms for new patient information at their leisure. It also means they don’t need to remember to bring adoption and vaccination records, since they can fill out this information at home.
Use Multiple Reminders
It may be months before your clients visit your office again, which gives them plenty of time to forget about appointments. Using more than one reminder gives them time to finish forms, schedule time off and prepare their pet.
This starts with an immediate notification after the appointment is booked. This gives them a chance to write down the appointment or put it in their online calendar. A notification one or two weeks before the appointment gives the client time to schedule around work and other responsibilities. A phone or text confirmation a day or two before the appointment gives them one last reminder, and assures you that their block in your schedule is filled.
While digital notifications are handy, don’t underestimate the value of a paper reminder. While not everyone checks their phone frequently, they do check their mail. It’s also easier to notice a card on the fridge than a cleared notification.
Know Your Clients and Their Pets
Recognizing the client and their pet at each stage of the visit does a lot to make them feel comfortable and boost their confidence in your practice. If you can, add a photo of the pet to their records, so your staff can recognize the patient on sight. It doesn’t just make clients feel welcomed, it shows that your office is prepared for their visit.
Explain the Process
The client doesn’t just walk in and see the vet. Instead, they’re passed to a series of people, including office staff and technicians. As the client moves from person to person, each staff member should explain what they’re there to do. How is the information your office staff gathers going to be used? What information does the vet tech need to get for the visit, so the vet has a good picture of the pet’s health? What is the vet looking for during the exam? This sets expectations for each stage of the visit, so the client knows what’s going on. It also helps jog their memory, so they will volunteer important information that may be missed otherwise. Likewise, when tests, procedures and medications are ordered, the client needs to be told why they’re needed.
Create a New Patient Packet
Thanks to a huge increase in pet ownership over the past two years, you’re probably seeing a flood of new owners come to your clinic. A new patient packet gives these clients a starting point for pet care, including advice on care plans, ways to seek emergency medical help, and policies at your clinic.
You can take this a step further by building packets aimed at specific species and age groups. This can include suggested care schedules, as well as dietary and training advice. This is also a great place to add promotional items. Fridge magnets, pens and other items keep your clinic information on hand, so your new client can contact you when they need help with their pets.
Are Your Services Separated, or Do They Work Together?
It’s one thing to bring in dental technicians, boarding staff and groomers to boost your business. It’s quiet another to integrate these services, so your clients feel like they can give equal trust to them. Consider ways to link these services together through discounts and suggested care plans.
Having a one stop shop for pet care doesn’t just bring in more money. It helps your patients become familiar with your clinic. This cuts down on the fear and anxiety they experience during visits, which makes them and their owners more comfortable.
We Can Help You Stay Connected to Your Clients
Positive Impressions, LLC offers a wide range of products for your practice, including everything from prescription labels to memorial items. Looking for promotional items to give your clients? We have pens, tennis balls and more. We also have short turnaround times for custom printing on many of our products. Visit our website to see what we offer, or check out our Facebook page to see our latest specials.