How my veterinary practice succeeds with client callbacks


When pets head home after hospital stays, an evening phone call can make all the difference for clients.

The best advice I can share with veterinarians is to place an evening call to clients whose dogs or cats were sent home from the office after hospitalization or an anesthetic procedure that day. The "magic" time for this call is between 9 and 9:30pm. By 9pm, dinner is over, dishes are done and the family is settling down; after 9:30, bedtime is a concern.

In our office, callbacks are different from follow-ups. A follow-up is when a team member calls the client to check on the patient one to two days after discharge. A callback is when the doctor calls the client the same day. In our practice management software, treatment codes for anesthesia, sedation and surgery trigger both follow-ups and callbacks. The team member at checkout inputs the callback code, which creates a list organized by doctor. Then the staff emails the callback report tailored to each of our veterinarians, which includes clients' phone numbers and information on the pets' issue. All I have to do is press the call button on my cell phone.

I start the phone call by asking how the client's dog or cat is doing. Usually, the client is surprised—"I'm so glad you called!"—then he or she tells me a bit more, followed by a question or two.

Some clients have important questions concerning the appearance or behavior of their pet they wouldn't otherwise have asked. I'm able to answer most of these inquiries over the phone, although a few have resulted in a referral to an emergency overnight facility.

I'm fortunate to work with two other veterinarians who also make these calls each evening. It's a commitment they agreed to upon hire. They were concerned at first about clients having access to their cell phone numbers, but they quickly saw how respectful our clients are.

Callbacks are easy to do, only take a few minutes and show our clients that we really do care. The payback is priceless.

Dr. Jan Bellows owns Hometown Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic in Weston, Fla. He is a diplomate of both the American Veterinary Dental College and the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. He wrote this piece originally for CareCredit.

Related Videos
adam christman peter weinstein carecredit
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.