Reminders are one of the most effective tools in a veterinary practice for keeping the appointment calendar full and patient health on track. Back when they were first introduced, reminder systems were manual. A staff member would go through the cumbersome process of downloading the client list and then sending a direct mail card to remind clients of an upcoming appointment.
Today, these systems have come a long way. They are far more sophisticated, using emails and texts with variable content that are sent to clients automatically. But even with these advancements, many practices are not tracking the success rate of their reminder system to determine its Return on Investment (ROI).
Top Three Reminder Best Practices
We all have become reliant on those dings from text messages or emails reminding us of an upcoming appointment. They are undoubtedly valuable, but veterinary practices can take things a step further to ensure reminder protocols are being used as efficiently and effectively as possible. In an effort to help busy veterinarians get the most out of their reminder systems, we’ve compiled the following best practices.
- Take advantage of integrations. Most software programs have basic built-in reminder systems. They also seamlessly integrate with more robust client communication solutions making the process even easier.NaVetor, for example, comes with basic email and text reminders built in. (Email reminders are free with a NaVetor subscription and text reminders cost a small fee.)
NaVetor also integrates with the Vet Hero and ePET reminder systems, as well as the Weave system, allowing for multiple functions and solutions all in one place.
- Track appointment results. As with any process or system, veterinarians need to know if what they are doing is actually working, and how well it is working. With reminders, many software programs (including NaVetor) have the ability to run reports showing how many reminders were sent during a given period of time, and how many resulted in booked appointments. A staff member can then easily see the reminder system effectiveness, its ROI, and whether any step in the process can be tweaked and improved.
- Track methods and costs. Today, there are many options from which to choose—email, postcard, and text reminders, to name a few. If a practice is experimenting with any combination of them, it is important to monitor each option to determine which one is providing the best return. Not surprisingly, texting often yields the largest return, but while it needs minimal attention, there usually is a cost associated with text reminders, so veterinary practices need to ensure that the revenue generated from resulting appointments more than offsets the cost of text reminders.And while veterinary practices love the low cost of text and email reminders, some clients still respond best to postcard reminders sent through the mail. These are the most expensive form of reminder, so it’s most important to make sure these are generating a positive ROI.
Using client communication solutions that integrate with practice management software helps with many of these best practices, as they yield more robust reporting and allow for tracking of reminders plus newsletters, birthday cards, and other customized tools to increase client engagement. Each touchpoint helps to position the practice as a trusted health provider and to ensure that pets are seen regularly.
At the end of the day, it’s about increasing efficiency and productivity for your busy practice, while ensuring the best care possible for your patients.