Sample script: How to pitch clients on otitis rechecks

September 5, 2018
Katie Adams, CVPM
Katie Adams, CVPM

Katie Adams, CVPM, is owner and management consultant at Agrygation Consulting.

Otitis cases may need more than one appointment to resolve, but how do you get clients to see the importance of bringing their pet back to the clinic?

Otitis rechecks are part of providing complete patient care, so why do we struggle to get clients back in the door for these much-needed follow-ups? Typically, the disconnect has to do with something simple: plain ol' poor communication. Let's examine some strategies for ensuring your clients hear you loud and clear.

Be consistent. Ensure that everyone from the groomer and kennel staff, to your veterinarians, gives your clients a consistent message. Your hospital should have a standard protocol for otitis rechecks, so be sure that everyone knows it. Each touchpoint that a client has with your team should involve reinforcing the expectation that the patient recovering from otitis will be seen for the recheck according to your protocol.

Share literature. We all have a thousand things zooming around inside our heads at any given moment, with an onslaught of new info that doesn't stop. Give your clients the chance to be successful with your recheck recommendation by sending them home with a short and sweet handout on the importance of a recheck following an otitis diagnosis. If handouts feel old school to you, send them a quick email (or text) with the info.

Educate on social media. Launch a quarterly social media campaign that reminds clients about the importance of rechecks for all sorts of conditions. Pick a different diagnosis to highlight each time. For example, in Q1 talk about the importance of otitis rechecks; in Q2 highlight UTI rechecks and so on. You can even have some fun buttons made for your front desk team to wear during these campaigns to reinforce the idea.

Practice scripts. There are common objections to recheck appointments, so create some scripts for your team and role play (yes, I said it), so they are comfortable executing the script with a reluctant client.          

Sample script for otitis rechecks

Here are a few common pet owner objections to otitis rechecks along with possible team member responses. Ask your staff to practice these exchanges in small groups, so they learn to ask good questions of clients to gauge understanding as well as deal with the pushback about time and money that we often face.


"I don't have my calendar with me."

Team member response:

"I completely understand, I know my schedule changes all the time. But our clinic calendar can book up pretty quickly. We can get something scheduled to hold a spot for Max and you can always change it later if you realize it won't work."



"I'm not sure I can afford another $300 visit, so I'm going to wait to see how Max is doing before I schedule the recheck."

Team member response:

"I can certainly appreciate the cost involved with caring for pets. My concern is that if Dr. Smith doesn't get to see that Max is improving or healing as expected, it may result in costlier problems down the road."



"I'm going to wait and see how Max is doing before I schedule. He may not need the recheck."

Team member response:

"I certainly hope that Max is on the mend quickly. His recheck appointment is important for multiple reasons. Dr. Smith can ensure that he's improving as expected, that he's responding to the medication as expected, that he's healing as expected, and that the ear infection has completely resolved."

Most importantly, remember that nothing is obvious to our clients. We live and breathe veterinary medicine, but they don't. Whatever your strategy is, be sure it's clear and concise and doesn't assume that your well-meaning clients have any previous knowledge.

Katie Adams, CVPM, is director of Curriculum Development at IGNITE Veterinary Solutions.