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How to Prevent No-Shows When Running a Veterinary Practice

How to Prevent No-Shows When Running a Veterinary Practice

No-shows are frustrating when running a veterinary practice. When a client books an appointment, you’ll have to set aside time to meet with him or her on the scheduled date. While most clients will arrive on time, some clients may not.

Each client who doesn’t show up for his or her appointment is a no-show. Some studies suggest that one in 10 appointments will result in a no-show. If you land 100 appointments in a given week, for example, only about 90 clients may show up for their appointments. Rather than allowing them to consume your veterinary practice’s time and resources, you should consider the following tips to prevent no-shows.

Confirm 24 to 48 Hours Beforehand

One of the most effective ways to prevent no-shows when running a veterinary practice is to confirm appointments. You can call clients 24 to 48 hours before their appointments. During these confirmation calls, you can ask them if they are still planning to attend their appointments.

Veterinary practices that struggle with a high rate of no-shows often fail to confirm appointments. They don’t call or otherwise contact their clients to see if they are still planning to attend. As a result, they experience a high rate of no-shows. You can reduce the number of no-shows your veterinary practice experiences, however, by confirming appointments with clients 24 to 48 hours beforehand.

Send an Email Reminder

You can send clients an email reminder to minimize the risk of no-shows. No-shows, of course, are often the result of clients forgetting. Clients who forget their appointment won’t show up for it. By sending them an email reminder, you can help clients remember their appointments while subsequently preventing no-shows.

Some veterinary practices manually send email reminders, whereas others use software to automatically send email reminders. Regardless, you should send each client an email reminder after he or she books an appointment. The email reminder should include your veterinary practice’s name and contact information as well as the client’s appointment date and time.

Ask for a Preferred Method of Contact

When you land a new client, ask him or her for a preferred method of contact. Some clients may prefer that you call them, whereas others may prefer that you can send them a text message. If you know a client’s preferred method of contact, you’ll have an easier time reaching him or her.

You’ll have to reach clients, of course, to confirm their appointments. Failure to reach a client may result in a no-show. Assuming you know a client’s preferred method of contact, you can try to reach the client using that method. Alternatively, you can try using the client’s preferred method of contact and other known contact methods.

Beware of Wait Times

The wait times at your veterinary practice can affect no-shows. Veterinary clinics with long wait times typically experience more no-shows than those with short wait times.

If your veterinary practice regularly experiences long wait times, clients may intentionally skip their appointments so that they aren’t forced to wait. Some clients may not have the luxury of waiting for a half-hour or longer in the lobby of your veterinary practice. As a result, they may skip their appointments while taking their pets to a competitor’s practice, instead. Optimizing your veterinary practice’s operations to achieve shorter wait times will improve client loyalty and satisfaction while also minimizing no-shows.

Provide Clients With an Appointment Card

When clients make an appointment in person, consider providing them with an appointment card. Appointment cards are tangible cards that, as the name suggests, feature the date and time of an appointment. They often feature a magnetic strip on the back. After returning home, clients can place their appointment card on their refrigerator where they are able to easily see it.

Appointment cards are a smart investment if you’re struggling with a high rate of no-shows. They will help clients remember their appointments. At the same time, appointment cards are marketing material. You can order them with custom designs, such as your veterinary clinic’s logo.

Consider a Deposit

Some veterinary practices require their clients to make a deposit. When clients book an appointment, they’ll have to pay a small fee as a deposit. The deposit will ultimately go towards the purchase of the products or services purchased by the client on the appointment date. With a deposit, though, clients are less likely to forget or otherwise fail to attend their appointments.

You don’t have to require a deposit from all of your veterinary practice’s clients. Instead, you may want to require a deposit from new clients. You can then allow existing clients to book an appointment without a deposit.

In Conclusion

No-shows are more than just a nuisance; they can cut into your veterinary clinic’s revenue. You can prevent them, however, by confirming appointments beforehand, sending an email reminder, asking clients for a preferred method of contact, shortening your practice’s wait times, providing clients with an appointment card and considering a deposit.

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