Running a successful veterinary practice depends heavily on how full you keep your appointment book. There are lots of ways to get more visits on the calendar, from offering promotions to sending out reminders. One highly effective way to ensure that your practice is operating at maximum capacity and generating high profits is to focus on forward-booking.
Even if you haven’t necessarily heard the term, chances are that you’re already familiar with the practice of forward-booking. Think about the last time you visited the dentist. While you were checking out, the receptionist likely asked to get you on the schedule for your next cleaning.
This is standard practice for health care providers, and for veterinarians, it can be a game changer as well. Let’s take a look at three specific ways that forward-booking can benefit your practice.
Increased Revenue – The obvious benefit of keeping your calendar booked to capacity is that you’ll be able to maximize revenue. And while not everyone will agree to book a future appointment on the spot, nor will every forward-booked appointment stand, the portion of clients who will book and keep those future appointments make it a profitable strategy to implement.
Client Satisfaction – Your clients live busy lives. Keeping track of when their pets are due for their annual checkups or vaccinations might be the farthest thing from their minds. By offering to book those services at the time of checkout, you essentially alleviate that burden for your clients. As a result, they’ll appreciate the extra effort and be more likely to stay engaged with your practice.
Better Patient Care – You chose the veterinary field because you wanted to improve the health of animals. By investing your time and resources (or that of your team) into forward-booking, you’ll be better able to achieve that goal. Preventative care will become more consistent and proper follow-up care will be ensured, which means healthier, happier pets.
Now that you know the main benefits of forward-booking, here are a few tips for how to implement it in your practice:
Have your front desk agent ask clients who are checking out whether the same day/time works for their next appointment. By incorporating this into the checkout process, it will eventually become the norm for clients. That means they’ll be more likely to follow suit and schedule a future appointment.
If your front desk team is large, designate just one or two employees who will handle all forward-booking appointments. This will allow you to maintain consistency and track your success. Over time, other team members can be trained so they’re able to fill in if the designated employee is out.
Begin the process by segmenting just a small portion of your clientele. For instance, clients with senior pets who need more frequent wellness visits are a good place to start. Once you’ve got a process in place and everything is running smoothly, you can begin to forward-book with the rest of your client base.
If you’re searching for new ways to fill your open appointments, forward-booking can be the ideal solution. Not only will you be able to deliver better, more consistent care and service to your patients and their owners, but you’ll be able to maximize your profits at the same time.
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