Post-COVID Communication Tips: Getting Bookings Back on Track

The business shutdowns in spring 2020 led to wellness visits either being canceled altogether or rescheduled for early summer. To get bookings back on track, you need to implement client communication strategies that allow patients to get the care they need and your practice to operate smoothly.

Identifying Who Was Impacted

Before contacting clients, you need to know who to talk to and how they were impacted. Your PIMS should be able to help you find the two distinct groups:

  • Missed clients: Start with a report of all clients who haven't received a wellness exam in 12 months. If you don't already do this, you might be surprised how many there are. To keep things manageable, start with a list of those who should have come in during March and April and when their appointment should have been.
  • Rebooked clients: Finding these clients requires a bit more research. Start by looking up clients who had wellness exams in spring 2019, then review when they got their 2020 exam. Create a list marking when you want each one of them to come in so you don't have everyone scheduled for early summer.

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Preparing Your Team

Before reaching out to clients, it's important to discuss with your entire team what you are doing and why. For the most part, your technicians and receptionists will be fielding questions from clients. They need to be able to provide consistent answers about why these changes support their pets and help you to provide the best service.

Here are some key steps to take to prepare your team for these conversations:

  • Hold team meetings: If you're having an all-hands meeting, rescheduling wellness visits is a great topic to cover, given that it impacts everyone. If you're not able to do that because of the pandemic meeting size restrictions, host quick five-minute scrums with available team members to get the message across.
  • Share client documents: Before you send anything out to your clients, make sure your team has seen it first. Not only will this prepare them for what the client sees, but an extra pair of eyes to spot errors never does any harm.
  • Create internal FAQs: Start with the core reasons you're sending these communications about rescheduling and then, as questions come in, collect them so your team can share experiences and benefit from having a cohesive set of answers.
  • Emphasize the "why": Help your team to understand why these communications are important to them. If they feel part of the process and see how it will help them provide better patient care and avoid burnout, they will be better able to convey that to your clients.

Contacting Your Clients

Regardless of the method you use to contact your clients, you need your communication to be upbeat and informative. This is your opportunity to build on the trusting relationship you have while directing the client toward what you need to better control your practice. Use the tools you already have access to, tweaking them as needed.

  • Automated reminders: If you have a reminder system in place, you can trigger sending postcards or text messages early. In these short-form communications, you likely won't be able to provide all the details, but you can direct the client to call the practice with any questions.
  • Letters: If your PIMS supports customized mail templates where you can insert client and patient names, a letter can be a powerful tool that makes the client feel valued. With more space, you can explain more details about why you're reaching out and how rescheduling their wellness visit helps their pet.
  • Phone calls: You're probably already using phone calls to remind patients of their upcoming visits, so a new script is all that is required to propose the change you want. Setting targets or team bonuses for booking wellness visits may encourage your team to get owners to commit.
  • Emails: An email is less personal than a letter, but they are easy to send and, like letters, can be customized specifically to the owner and pet.
  • Social media: Your practice's social media channels are a great way to reach all of your clients at one time and with minimum. Try using one of the following posts!
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If it’s been more than a year, it’s time to schedule your pet’s next visit! Diagnostic screenings, vaccinations, and preventive medications help keep your pet healthy. Call us today to schedule your pet’s appointment!

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If not, give us a call to schedule their next one! Diagnostic screenings, vaccinations, and preventive medications help keep your pet healthy.

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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re scheduling wellness visits further out than we have in the past. We encourage you to reach out in advance to ensure your pet is seen on time.

Although you're not going to be able to recover every client who has moved on, nor move every summer appointment back to the spring, taking active ownership of your wellness appointments is not something you will regret. Actively managing patient care is something that many of your clients — and your team members — will appreciate.

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Des Whittall
Practice Manager

Des Whittall is an owner and manager of two veterinary clinics and pet resorts in Texas. A software engineer by training, he worked with an investment bank for 13 years in roles ranging from technical support to business divestment, managing large international teams and complex vendor relationships. With his partner, he has grown the clinics and resorts and is focused on developing businesses that can provide high-quality medicine and development opportunities for their teams.

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