Eight Easy Tips To Manage New Clients For Your Vet Practice

Written By:
John Donato
February 8, 2023
Struggling to manage your new clients? That's a vet practice's struggle. Find out how you can easily manage new clients with our 8 easy-to-follow tips that will ensure client satisfaction the first time around.

The "perfect storm," also referred to as staff shortages combined with the sharp rise in pet ownership, can be the worst nightmare of a vet practice manager. Pet lovers were forced to turn to pet adoption for company due to their prolonged isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the start of the pandemic, 3.2 million households have added pets, according to the Pet Food Manufacturers' Association (PFMA). Increased pet ownership leads to more visits to the veterinarian, which has overburdened clinics and worn-out doctors of veterinary medicine.

Managing new clients can be challenging, and the best course of action is to restrict the number of new clients. However, limiting new clients can harm your practice's long-term performance and expansion, but there is a fix!

Here’s our list of the eight things you can do to improve your vet practice's new client experience.

  1. Get payment in advance.
  2. Use online forms.
  3. Provide clients with relevant information as soon as they set up their appointment.
  4. Use telemedicine when possible.
  5. Space out appointments.
  6. Use an online calendar.
  7. Exclude already filled-out slots.
  8. Open up more slots.

Tips On Managing First-Time Vet Practice Patients

1. Pay in advance to reduce no-shows.

Have your customers made appointments but failed to show up?

When customers make an appointment, you can demand upfront payments (either a deposit or the full amount). This is to ensure that new clients show up for their appointment. Though, some finesse might be needed to convey this message properly to first-time clients.

2. Provide online forms to make it easier for new customers to sign up.

Clients who are brand-new to your practice will need to provide you with a little more information. For the registration of new clients, you can include a digital form, which will reduce the time needed for phone calls to gather their information manually.

You can automate this process with various online forms available online. You can enable the new-client form in addition to our booking platform, which asks pet owners for more information when they indicate they are new to your practice. You'll receive email replies from them in response.

3.  Increase the time between appointments with new clients.

This feature is ideal for making sure that your staff isn't overworked by consecutive appointments of the same type if your clinic has a sizable workload. Manage the time between the current time and the following appointment as you see fit for the schedule of your practice.

4. Use telemedicine or video consultations to prioritize new patients.

Do you provide telemedicine appointments for out-of-town clinic employees? It's simple to triage new client appointments using telemedicine by setting up nurse triaging or meet and greets.

Telemedicine can create an additional, more accessible route to help lessen emergencies and inconveniences when in-person appointments are fully booked.

5. Provide new clients with relevant information once they set up an appointment

When a pet owner schedules an appointment on your practice's website to make an appointment, a disclaimer may appear after they enter their information. Disclaimers, which are fully customizable, outline what new clients can anticipate and make them aware of pertinent information, such as:

  • Consultation fees.
  • A request to see the pet’s health records on the day of the appointment
  • COVID-19 guidelines or other safety measures.

6. Integrate your practice’s schedules into an online calendar

One of the things that can frustrate a new client is getting double booked. In order the make the experience much better for your first-time clients, make sure you integrate all your vet’s schedules into an online calendar.

Having a powerful online booking system can really help. The fact that you can choose which clinicians are available for online booking is the best part. This reduces any chance of you double-booking clients. You can also exclude specific appointment types and species from a clinician using this feature; for instance, you can exclude nurse appointments from veterinarian appointments and vice versa. This can also be modified for first-time clients by allocating a particular clinician or nurse to consultations with brand-new patients.

7. To make your schedule more manageable, use slot exclusions.

With this feature, you can block off areas based on dates and times and add which dates and times you anticipate will be very busy. Therefore, these "excluded" or blocked slots don't show up as a booking option when pet owners try to make an appointment.

Using slot exclusions, you can prevent certain appointment types from being scheduled. By excluding all other appointment types during your preferred window of time, you could, for instance, reserve Thursday mornings for vaccination appointments. This indicates that only pet owners who want to schedule vaccination appointments will be given Thursday morning slots.

You can also dedicate times that are typically difficult to fill, like the middle of the day or during lunch, to taking appointments from new clients, giving you complete control over the appointment scheduling procedure at your practice.

8. Increase the number of appointments allowed to manage availability.

Consider a situation where one of your veterinarians has 30 available time slots throughout the day. You don't want all of the slots to be booked by potential new customers. In that case, you can restrict the number of slots that are open to new customers each day to prevent all of the slots from being reserved by new customers.

Credits: Image by tonodiaz

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