Do you have an effective Patient Recapture strategy?
How often have you received an email or text from your doctor or dentist, read it and realized you had completely forgotten the appointment? Or thought to yourself it was ‘only a few months’ ago that you last saw them and suddenly you received a recall for your annual check-up?
We all know that our memory can be unreliable – particularly so because of the busy lives that we lead. So, no matter how much your clients love and care for their pets, it’s inevitable they will forget or put off important visits to your veterinary practice that are crucial to their pet’s wellbeing.
As a veterinary professional, you want the animals in your clinic to experience the best possible standards of care throughout their life. However, you also want to see your business grow and thrive. One of the best ways of achieving both of these goals is to make sure you have an effective patient recapture system in place, as part of an integrated client communication solution.
Protect your patients’ and your practice’s health
Veterinary communications consultant, Wendy S. Myers, says “without regular check-ups, patients could be exposed to any number of diseases and parasites. Veterinarians also could miss opportunities to diagnose dental disease, obesity, arthritis, and other chronic conditions. Besides protecting patients’ health, check-ups also safeguard your practice’s financial health.”
The financial impact of neglecting repeat visits to your practice can be significant. Covetrus research shows that losing a single appointment each day can cost you over $66,000 in revenue per year. This figure doesn’t take into account the time and money wasted making follow-up calls to schedule and remind clients; nor does it consider money lost through no-shows.
Think about how your practice could benefit from an added $66,000 to your business’s bottom line – and that’s just for a single missed appointment per day.
While your appointment calendar may seem full at first glance, did you know that upwards of 20% of patients in the average veterinary practice haven’t attended an appointment in more than 18 months? Worryingly, this number is growing. The American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) categorized 53% of dog owners and 59% of cat owners as ‘inactive’ in 2015.
What is concerning is that – instead of responding to this challenge with the basics of good practice management, including an effective patient recapture solution and regular reminder and recalls – veterinarians feel the need to introduce time and resource-hungry initiatives. These include extended hours and services, hiring additional support staff, and expanded facilities.
While these are potentially good additional responses to high and increasing competition within the veterinary industry and the threat of ‘Doctor Google’, they definitely don’t fall into the category of ‘low hanging fruit’. It pays to make sure you’ve ticked all the ‘operational efficiency 101’ boxes before considering additional expensive options.
It’s accepted by veterinary professionals that new clients are vital to a practice’s health; they replace natural attrition caused by death, relocation or lack of motivation. New patients often also require more veterinary attention than those who attend regularly and who are already on an annual checkup schedule. And new customers with patients who require little immediate treatment also have a role to play as contributors to a steady and reliable client base.
20% of clients are lost through poor relationship management
But, as important as it is to attract new clients, Veterinary Practice News reports it can cost up to five times as much than keeping an existing one. Not only that, the average business loses around 20% of its clients each year by failing to focus on existing client relationships.
Veterinary communication consultant, Wendy S. Myers, says it’s reasonable to expect a 70% response rate once clients have received first, second, and third reminders. While it’s unrealistic to accomplish this manually, advances in messaging technology mean it’s now possible to send personalized, repeat communications to each one of your clients, every time.
A fully-integrated, automated solution that combines digital email communications with tried and tested printed postcards in the mail will increase the likelihood of successful patient recapture.
Covetrus’s Patient Recapture Program targets patients who haven’t visited your practice in the past 18 months. Through a series of postcards and email communications, the importance of preventive care is reinforced and the owners of these patients are encouraged to schedule an appointment.
A typical two-veterinarian practice has around 7,000 clients. If 20% of this patient base hasn’t been seen in the past 18 months, this works out at 1,400 patients. Just a 4% recapture rate – using Covetrus Patient Recapture – will result in 56 new appointments. At an average appointment value of $150, this could mean $8,400 additional revenue for your practice.
How much are you willing to invest to create positive, long-term momentum for your practice? With the Patient Recapture Program, the only cost you incur is when lapsed patients return to your practice.