Dr. Steve Bishop needed a strategy for reminding his clients when their pets were overdue for exams or treatments. It freed up receptionists, cost less, and could be done with flexible hours.
Dr. Steve Bishop needed a strategy for reminding his clients when their pets were overdue for exams or treatments. So for more than 10 years, he hired retirees to call clients at Animal Care Hospital in Phoenix with reminders. This strategy had many advantages:
Dr. Bishop now has a practice manager who makes all the reminder calls, but he still thinks hiring retirees is a great idea.
Dr. Bishop started out by hiring a retired client to make past-due reminder calls three times weekly between 4 and 6 p.m. "We had better luck connecting with clients between these hours," he says. Over the years, he had as many as three retirees working for him at a time. His callers contacted all clients with pets that were past due for exams or treatments after the client had received three written reminders. The retiree called the client once, then again a month later. If the client didn't respond, the practice didn't pursue it further.
Dr. Bishop created a written job description for the retirees, and one of his receptionists worked with them for a few weeks to fine-tune their delivery. The callback worker generated several lists on a monthly basis (see "Ringing Reminder").
Theory into action: Ringing reminder
The caller also tracked the number of clients who'd left the practice and their reasons for doing so—for example, the client or pet had died or the client had moved, chosen another veterinarian, or used a less-expensive vaccination clinic.
"From this information we identified trends in our practice, saw how well we were doing with reminders, and updated our client database," Dr. Bishop says. Using retired people let him use his team more efficiently, and both the practice and its clients benefited from the arrangement.