In a recent article for Practice Life, Steve Manyak, DVM, wrote what many veterinary teams now understand about managing appointment reminders and other client communications in a busy practice. “To deliver on these time-consuming demands with the ever-increasing details,” Dr. Manyak recommends client communication technology to save staff time, improve efficiency, and generate practice revenue with minimal effort.
“Perhaps no part of veterinary practice has been more affected by the technological innovations,” writes Dr. Manyak, adding, “Failures in this regard represent one of the most common challenges in veterinary practice.”
How to boost your Client Communications & Engagements
1. Strike a comfortable balance between formal and informal writing.
Clients trust you as an animal healthcare professional. That’s why they became clients. To maintain professionalism, avoid any liberal use of abbreviations, acronyms, texting language, emojis and other conventions of contemporary informal writing. Yes, a smiley-face emoji can lighten the mood, but even so. Such informalities should be used sparingly.
2. Know your audience
Who are they? Where do they live? Is your message for all clients or just some of them? Knowing such details helps clients feel that you know and value them as real people, which improves engagement and encourages better patient outcomes by motivating clients to act on your recommendations.
3. Keep communications brief
Concentrate on a single subject. Brevity and clarity hedge against information getting lost through oversaturation.
4. Know how to best utilize social media
Social-media channels like Facebook and Instagram are effective tools for practices to engage and share information with clients. Yet just like in any writing connected to your practice, maintain a professional boundary when posting socially.
5. Be mindful of tone
Sarcasm used in person, for example, can be humorous. Yet sarcasm can easily be taken the wrong way when used in an email or social post because there’s no wink-wink feature to let readers know you’re kidding. To stay safe, avoid sarcasm and frame your thoughts in a clear, straightforward way.
At its core, personalized communication ultimately serves the health of animals everywhere. According to Veterinary Practice News, regular personalized client communication increases after-care compliance, enhances client satisfaction and most importantly promotes better pet health outcomes. And all of this combines to promote good business health, engaged pet owners and growth for your practice:
- According to recent research by InfoTrends, 84% of people surveyed said they’d be more likely to open personalized communications.
- In separate research by Evergage, 10% of businesses surveyed reported improved business results greater than 30% with personalized communication.
5 Tips for using personalized communication in your clinic
Find the happy medium between formal and informal writing.
To maintain a level of professionalism, avoid the use of texting language, abbreviations, and limit the use of emojis (although they can lighten the mood, they should be used sparingly).
Know your audience.
Who is this message for? Understand the level of detail needed to adequately communicate with the client to be sure the information they receive is well understood.
Keep it brief and concise.
It is important to keep messages brief and concentrated on a single subject. This ensures clear communication with the client, that nothing gets lost in translation and there is no oversaturation of information.
Know how to utilize social media.
Social media is a great tool that can be used by practices to engage and share information with clients. When on social media, it is important to keep in mind the personal versus professional boundaries that should be maintained.
Be aware of your tone.
Sarcasm used in person can be funny, but sarcasm used in an email or text can be taken the wrong way. Remember with electronic communication, you lose the visual and oral queues. To be safe, try avoiding sarcasm and framing your thoughts in a different way instead.
Labor Savings Are a Big Part of Veterinary Client Communication Technology
Labor costs are one of the more expensive costs for veterinary practices, at around 42-50% of each dollar received. Utilizing the latest technology in veterinary-specific client communications systems reduces the amount of staff time used for manual functions. This allows practices to reduce the cost of labor without reducing the quality of client communications.
Client communication tasks that can be automated also reduce staff stress—a practice cost in terms of staff burnout, lost productivity, and staff turnover. For these reasons, the AVMA recently recommended that practices “implement innovative and lasting approaches that harness technology, better utilize staff members, and engage our teams.”
Client Communication Technology Offers Features Pet Owners Now Prefer
According to a recent National Pet Owners Survey, 57% of pet owners receive veterinary appointment reminders by phone, and only 25% receive reminders via text messaging.
What pet owners really prefer
Though pet owners prefer the immediacy of phone calls for updates when their pets are hospitalized:
- 57% of millennial pet owners (the largest pet-owner demographic) want text messages for appointment reminders and other everyday client communications. (Weave)
- 86% want an appointment reminder by text—regardless of whether they received a phone call. (Weave)
- Only 29% of pet owners prefer phone calls. (National Pet Owner Survey)
Pet owners also prefer client communication systems that allow them to request appointments and prescription refills, view medical reminders and practice announcements, and manage their communication preferences.
Appointment Tracking Increases Practice Revenue
Pet owners often fail to show for veterinary appointments because they didn’t receive a reminder from their practice. This naturally impacts patient care and costs practices thousands in lost revenue. With client communication technology that syncs with your practice management software to automatically identify missed reminders and appointment opportunities, practices save time and reduce no-shows to increase practice revenue and patient care.
This is the heart of ALLYDVM: client communication and retention software.
ALLYDVM’s Retention Calendar syncs client data from your practice management software to automatically identify missed reminders and appointment opportunities and flag clients with additional pets they could be bringing in. Built-in prompts make it easy for your team to book those appointments, which saves staff time, drives better health outcomes for patients, and more practice revenue.
According to research published in Veterinary Advantage, one group of practices saw a 17.9% drop in missed appointments and $59,000 in additional revenue over nine months after using ALLYDVM.
Offering what pet owners prefer in communications, ALLYDVM features a practice-branded, client-facing mobile app, enabling pet owners to:
- Request appointments
- Order prescription refills
- View practice announcements and updates
- Access select medical information for their pet
ALLYDVM also features an automated loyalty program to engage pet owners and encourage repeat visits and mass communication templates to save staff time sending communications.
“We just recently switched to ALLYDVM, and it has been amazing! ALLYDVM does everything I wished our other communication system did, and it does it very well.” – Cheryl Wimmers, Practice Manager, Tansley Woods Animal Hospital
Getting Started with ALLYDVM Is Simple and Cost-Effective
You install the software, train your team, and start communicating.
Questions? Concerns? Request your free ALLYDVM consultation today.