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4 Tips to Enhance Client Compliance
If clients aren’t complying with your recommendations, the cost of services isn’t to blame. Instead, reconsider how you’re delivering your messages.
Let’s face it, you can be the world’s greatest veterinarian and dispense gold-standard advice every day, but if your clients aren’t complying with your recommendations, your patients — and your practice — will pay the price.
When clients don’t follow your medical instructions or bring their pets in for an examination at all, it’s easy to blame costs. But the fact is, cost hasn’t been shown to be a barrier to compliance. That means the real causes lie elsewhere. In some cases, clients may misunderstand your recommendations or disregard them as unimportant. In others, the problem may be with your message — either how it’s delivered or how your client perceives it. There’s plenty of blame to go around.
Here are four tips to help you move the needle on noncompliance.
1. Get the Facts and Measure Your Results
It’s hard to manage compliance when you are not even measuring it. Practice management software can provide detailed reports by pulling information from your client database. Use tools that track purchasing and inventory; functions that compare current revenue numbers with those from previous quarters or years; and reports that compare the numbers of reminders you’re sending now with how many were sent in previous years and quarters to detect decreases in active clients.
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Once you know your compliance numbers, inventory controls and other metrics can help you target your messaging to focus on the clients you aren’t reaching.
2. Fine-tune Your Communication Strategy
Clients who bond with your practice are more likely to comply with your recommendations, so your communications with them are critical.
Vaccines and other preventive care services generate 38 percent of the average practice’s revenue. Ideally, compliance for these services should be at least 70 percent, so it’s worth investing some effort into optimizing the use of reminders that target these services.
Considering this goal, how effective are your current reminders? Are they impersonal laundry lists of overdue services (which clients may ignore), or are they customized, branded for maximum impact and worded to show that your practice truly cares about its patients?
And how are you communicating with your clients? Some clients may respond to traditional methods, such as postcards and phone calls, but your message may fall on deaf ears for those who prefer mobile-friendly digital messaging, such as texts or emails.
The ideal protocol is automated and includes multiple components such as text, email, manual postcards and phone calls. The messaging should engage your clients, using their preferred method(s), without making them feel bombarded by excessive contact from your clinic. Engaging clients bonds them to your practice, which, in turn, improves compliance.
Reminders aren’t your only means of reaching clients though. According to the Pew Research Center, an estimated 82 percent of Americans check online reviews before making a purchase. Are you doing all you can to manage your hospital’s online reputation? If not, consider incorporating tools to help you capture positive client feedback, engage dissatisfied clients (before they post a negative review) and encourage satisfied customers to use social media to spread the word about how wonderful your veterinary team is.
3. Automate When Possible
Consider your current strategies for sending reminders and client communications: How many of these services are automated at your practice? Automation reduces staff time, improves efficiency, saves money and helps you reach more clients. Try to use turnkey functions, such as online scheduling, automated reminders and automatic follow-up communications for clients who have visited your practice, such as “thank you” emails and satisfaction surveys.
4. Optimize Your Software
Whether your practice is paperless or you use software minimally, make sure you’re getting the most from your investment. If your software (or hardware) is outdated, you may become bogged down by inefficiency and technical headaches. So, keep your components updated. Additionally, consider looking into functions your software may already have but you are not using, such as forward booking, which can increase practice revenue and compliance.
Whether your practice is large or small, communication and compliance are key, so don’t shortchange yourself or your clients by leaving these details to chance. Even small or incremental changes now can make a big difference in the future.
Angel Fischer oversees marketing strategies for client retention, new client acquisition, and brand strategy for Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions. As aglobal division of Henry Schein, Inc., Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions provides some of the longest-standing veterinary software systems in the world.Henry Schein Veterinary Solutions also offers solutions that integrate with our software platforms, including Vetstreet and Rapport marketing and communication services, reminder postcards, data backup services, hardware sales and support, and credit card processing.