How to Implement Texting for Preventive Care in Your Practice
The importance of using texts as a communication channel for preventive care reminders was laid out in this previous article. If you haven't read it, please check it out. But recognizing that texts are a great way to communicate is not enough. Read on to get great tips on how to do so and even, a few scripts to try!
1. Choose a Platform That Works for You
With so many communication platforms and reminder systems available, you may feel overwhelmed. The good news is that a lot of practice management software allows for texting directly to the client, so you don't even need a cell phone. If you do opt for a text message-specific platform, look for an option that does the following:
Sends follow-up reminders if a client doesn't initially respond
Allows messages to be customized and personalized
Sends automated appointment confirmations and reminders
Allows for two-way messaging
Customizes the delivery method based on client preference
Customizes the reminder cadence based on practice preference
2. Personalize Your Text Reminders
Clients are turned off by stiff, robotic messaging. Make your text reminders personal and friendly, and include pertinent details that show the client this text message was intended just for them. Consider these models:
- Hi, Betty! Ms. Kitty is due for her senior wellness exam in May! Click here to schedule an appointment. We're looking forward to seeing you and Ms. Kitty soon! — The ABC Animal Hospital Team
- Hey, Joe! Fluffy's senior wellness exam is tomorrow at 9 a.m. Don't forget to bring a stool sample. Reply C to confirm. See you tomorrow! — The ABC Animal Hospital Team
- Hi, Mr. Morgan. How's Smitty doing? We miss him! It's been 18 months since he was here for a wellness exam and bloodwork. Please click here to schedule an appointment so we can keep Smitty healthy! — The ABC Animal Hospital Team
3. Make Your Text Reminders Fun
Texting is a casual form of communication. Feel free to have fun with it by including emojis and photos, as in these examples:
- Hi, Betty! Ms. Kitty's 🐈 senior wellness exam is tomorrow at 9 a.m. Don't forget to bring a stool sample 💩. Reply C to confirm. See you tomorrow! — The ABC Animal Hospital Team
- It's June 1, and the mosquitoes 🦟 are out in full force! We've seen two cases of heartworm disease this week 😭. Be sure to give your pet their heartworm preventive today! Click here if you need a refill. — The ABC Animal Hospital Team
4. Ask, and Get Permission First
It may seem simple, but it's always wise to simply ask your clients' preferences. Find out how your clients want to be communicated with, and then honor that wish. Always get permission before sending texts, and make sure to provide an opt-out feature on your text messages.
5. Don't Bombard Clients With Messages
It's important that you don't overwhelm your clients with marketing messages. Limit texts to important reminders and personal updates about hospitalized pets.
Text messaging is a convenient, affordable, effective, and direct approach to preventive care reminders, engaging your client right where they are. Inviting pet owners to join a text conversation will create a dialogue that bonds them to your practice and provides their pets with a lifetime of attentive veterinary care.