No matter how foolproof your reminder system, or how wonderful your client experience, there will always be those clients who mysteriously stop booking appointments. They languish in your reminder process before dropping off into the depths of your PM system. But don’t be too hasty in writing these clients off for good. There are a few simple strategies that cost very little, or nothing at all, that we’ve had luck with in re-engaging seemingly lost clients.
During a slow week, ask your practice manager to pull a list of patients who haven’t been seen in the last 18-24 months. Put together a quick email reminding them that you haven’t seen them in a while and it’s time for their pet’s visit.
Whether or not you attach a promotional discount to this email is up to you, but we generally try it first with no discount, and then remove anyone who booked from the list and resend it with a discount a second time. And remember – marketing is all about repetition! If you take the time to put together the email, don’t just send it once! Send it multiple times for best results.
In terms of trying discounts, there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Again, we suggest not coming right out of the gate with a discount. Maybe a couple clients were just thinking to themselves recently, “it’s been awhile since Baxter was in for an exam,” and then they get your email. They’ll likely call and make an appointment, and you don’t want to shave dollars off your bottom line.
- If you are going to offer a discount, do it on services instead of products. Services have little to no incremental costs – you’re already paying everyone to be at the practice that day.
Imagine you’re a busy pet owner. You know you should bring your dog in for annual wellness checks, but he looks fine and you’ve got bigger fish to fry. Now imagine you get a voicemail from Baxter’s doctor reminding you she hasn’t seen Baxter in a while and it’s important to bring him in for his checkup. Suddenly scheduling that appointment seems a little more important.
Doctor calls as part of the reminder system can have broader impacts outside of just the patient as well. When a doctor sets aside 15 minutes a day to make 10 phone calls, it can pay dividends. Not only do patients view doctor calls as important, but if front desk staff see doctors making calls, they are more likely to understand how important phone calls are to the reminder process. These days you’re leaving voicemails 90% of the time, so it’s likely you won’t even have to talk to someone!
Remember, it costs much more to acquire a new patient than to keep an existing one, so client retention should be a top priority for you and your practice.