Growth is something most veterinary practices are after, but as that client list continues to get larger, keeping up with that demand can become increasingly challenging. If your practice is starting to bend under the weight of new business, restructuring the way you manage client scheduling could be your ticket out. Here’s how to maximize the efficiency of your appointments to relieve your staff and ensure a consistent, positive client experience across the board.
Set a limit and stick with it.
If you don’t have set appointment lengths, it’s easy for your schedule to unravel. Just one or two visits that go long can impact everything else for the rest of the day. This is not only stressful for you and your staff, but it can result in frustration amongst your clients as well. Obviously, there will be occasional deviations based on the circumstances, but in general, you should establish a set duration for appointments – say 20 or 30 minutes – and then stick with that limit.
Be strategic about appointment scheduling.
If you have multiple doctors working in your clinic, the scheduling team should take this into account and try and stagger appointments. This will keep things flowing more smoothly for the whole team. It will also help optimize the time and availability of technicians and support staff so they can get on an efficient rotation schedule. In other words, while one patient is being checked in by a vet tech, another can be seen by one of the doctors in the exam room next door, and vice versa.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Veterinarians should take ownership of their daily schedule and communicate any changes with staff accordingly. For instance, if a vet has more flexibility on a given day, then the front desk team should be made aware. This will allow for more streamlined appointment setting, particularly if your practice takes walk-ins or emergency visits.
Review, optimize and repeat.
In order for your appointment scheduling to be most efficient, it needs to be fluid. You should routinely meet with the rest of the team to go over how things are working currently and identify areas where improvements could be made. This is ideal after a particularly challenging day, since the problem areas will be fresh in everyone’s minds and easier to pinpoint.
Solicit (and use) feedback.
Ask employees to share their thoughts, ideas and suggestions. Remember – running an efficient practice requires all hands on deck. Empower your team by including them in the process. Most importantly, incorporate their feedback whenever and wherever doing so makes sense. This will serve to continuously improve your practice operations and client satisfaction while simultaneously boosting employee engagement and satisfaction. That’s a win-win-win in our book!
For more practice management tips, tricks and expert advice, be sure to bookmark our blog and check back often for new content. And if you could use some help growing your practice, that’s what we’re here for! Get in touch today to find out if our program would be a good fit for you!