How do you make sure your appointment book is full? Do you offer promotions when you anticipate slower-than-usual months? Do you send out additional reminders for annual checkups and vaccinations? Or, do you prefer to sit back and appreciate some downtime at work?
While more downtime is nice, it's doesn't beat having a full appointment book. For veterinary clinic owners out there, a full schedule means your practice is operating at maximum capacity. Work the same hours, bring in more revenue. Sounds like a good deal.
How do you get there? Forward booking.
Believe it or not, you're already familiar with forward booking -- just as a client. Think of the last time you paid the dentist a visit. When checking out, you might've heard something like "Does this time on Tuesday still work best for you?" That's forward booking and for dentists, it's standard practice.
It's obvious that forward booking will help your clinic generate more revenue. However, since we're all in this industry to promote better pet health, shouldn't there be a benefit to your clients? How can forward booking help your clients' health?
Let's find out.
1. BETTER PET HEALTH MANAGEMENT
- Pet owners live busy lives. Management of day-to-day obligations is tough enough. When an appointment is already on a client's calendar, they are more likely to make their appointment. This is especially true if your client gets their reminder on their mobile phone. If done through a mobile app like PetDesk, the appointment time and date will sync with their calendar, providing a secondary reminder to hold them more accountable.
2. BETTER PREVENTATIVE CARE
- When a client routinely brings their pet in for annual checkups, you are more likely to catch preventable health problems before they develop into something serious.
3. BETTER FOLLOW-UP CARE
- Some procedures require a follow-up appointment. If you book in advance, you are ensuring a proper follow-up for the pet.
Now that we've covered how this benefits your clients, what's the best way to implement this at your practice?
To start, create a process for your front office staff to follow during checkout.
- When a client is finished with their appointment, ask them if this same time works for their next appointment. Not only are they familiar with this checkout process (everyone has experienced this at the dentist or hair salon), your clients will feel that this is part of your process. This makes them more likely to follow procedure and schedule an appointment down the line.
- Second, designate one employee to handle all forward bookings. This ensures the process runs smoothly and allows you to track your success. Ideally, other employees will learn the process by osmosis and will be able to handle it if your designated employee is out.
Start by implementing this process with a select portion of your client base. Senior pets and annual wellness exams are a good start. Once you've got this under control and clients are booked far in advance, forward booking will become second nature!
To summarize, forward booking is a great way to fill your open appointment book. And while it won't be the solution to all of your problems, it will have an immediate impact on your clients and eventually your bottom line.
Schedule clients for future appointments during checkout. You will help your clients manage better manage their pet's health, prevent serious health complications, and ensure proper protocol for follow-up care.