How to get a second date


Forward booking while veterinary clients and patients are still in the exam room is far more likely to land you that next appointment than wooing with emails, text messages and phone calls.

It's much easier to get clients to commit to a next visit when they're in front of your charming self. ('ve called, emailed and texted, and you've gotten zero response. You've even gone retro and sent a postcard, but clients still aren't booking their next appointments. Frankly, both you and your clients are getting irritated by all of the reminders. You need a different approach-something that actually brings them into the clinic-namely, forward booking.

Reminders just can't beat forward booking at getting clients to return to your practice in a timely manner. Why? Because reminders are much easier to ignore than an appointment that's already on the schedule.

In my experience, forward booking is much more successful when the doctor makes the suggestion in the exam room (instead of leaving that task to the receptionist at the front desk). When the veterinarian says, “This is important and I don't want it overlooked, so let's make an appointment for six months from now,” compliance skyrockets.

A bonus: Scheduling the next appointment in the exam room also shortens checkout times. Dental practices tend to schedule future appointments while the patient is still in the chair. It's extremely effective and, over time, forward booking becomes a habit that creates healthy, lasting relationships.

Tracy Sheffield, BS, LVT, CVPM, is practice manager at Wimberley Veterinary Clinic in Wimberley, Texas, and a 2016 finalist for the dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year.

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