How Veterinary Text Messaging Impacts Client ExperiencePosted: April 5, 2023 - By Health Dev
One of the most challenging aspects of running a veterinary clinic is earning customers’ trust. Pet owners need to put a considerable amount of confidence in your services to let you treat their pets. One of the best ways to establish this client relationship is a two-way communication channel, i.e., text messages (also called SMS).
Business text messaging provides a communication medium for you and your clients. Pet owners can easily discuss their concerns with you whenever they want. Being available 24/7 for your clients can enhance their experience and earn their long-term trust.
Veterinary text messaging can also help your office staff perform their day-to-day tasks more efficiently. A comprehensive text messaging platform offers various functions to make your life as a vet easier. Keep reading to learn how to use veterinary text messaging to improve your client experience.
What Is Veterinary Text Messaging?
Veterinary text messaging is a two-way communication that allows pet owners and vets to exchange text messages. It is mainly used for questions, updates, appointment bookings, reminders, and schedule cancellations.
Gone are the days when practices relied on phone calls and postcards to stay in touch with their clients. These methods are not so effective these days, as they may sometimes become too intrusive or lack a personal touch. With text messages, veterinary hospitals don’t have to juggle calls with different pet owners.
One of the best parts of a vet’s job is bonding with different pets and their owners simultaneously. Business text messaging ensures this connection-building by allowing you to add pictures to your messages. With proper execution, you can also make your front desk staff more productive and establish goodwill relationships with pet owners.
Additionally, SMS reminders are more time-saving and cost-effective than old-school methods. They also put less strain on your clinic’s phone lines, allowing you to enjoy a more personalized experience with every client.
How Does Veterinary Text Messaging Work?
Veterinary text messaging works in multiple ways through different mediums. You can stay in touch with your clients through a mobile app, landline texts, SMS voice notes, and similar options.
Two-way texting works like the regular texts you send and receive on your phone, but with an exception. It won’t use your personal phone number. Instead, you will talk to pet owners through your vet practice’s toll-free number.
This way, all the messages exchanged between you and your clients will be directed to a central location. From there, your entire team can access and address the client’s concerns.
With a business text messaging approach, you can manage several conversations and simultaneously access every client’s information from the contact list. Both parties can send images back and forth to better understand and address the concern.
As an additional benefit, an automated, single-text messaging software will save every conversation in the client’s communication log. So the next time you open a conversation, the entire chat history will appear automatically.
Regardless of how it’s used, veterinary text messaging aims to connect vets to pet owners, answer their questions, and update them about upcoming appointments. All of this is to establish robust and ongoing client relationships.
The Benefits of Incorporating Texting in Your Veterinary Clinic
Veterinary text messaging ensures effective communication in a veterinary practice. It is a time-saving and cost-efficient way of communicating with clients. Thus, incorporating this strategy in your vet practice can help you achieve your goals more efficiently. Below are some other benefits of veterinary text messaging.
Automated Text Messaging Saves Precious Time and Resources
With a text messaging platform, you can craft campaigns with fewer resources in less time. You can also automate your responses and the entire follow-up process. Depending on your vet practice’s needs, you can opt for either two-way SMS or a one-way SMS channel.
Whenever your client uses specific keywords, such as “Help,” “Schedule,” or “Book,” the software will automatically send an instant response. Automated text messaging especially comes in handy when you have to respond to repetitive messages, including:
- Payment reminders
- Appointment reminders
- Appointment confirmations
- Pet’s status
- Feedback messages
- Welcome messages, etc.
Automated veterinary text messaging also lessens your staff’s burden, allowing them to focus on enhancing the client experience. That too while saving resources!
Increases Response Rates and Improves Client Communication
Automated text messages help businesses achieve higher client engagement and open, response, and delivery rates. In fact, text messages have a 98% open rate, while emails stand at only 20%. Also, people are almost five times more likely to respond to text messages than emails.
Moreover, 95% of texts are responded to within three minutes of delivery. Regarding click-through rate, automated texts have a 36% rate, while emails have a 2% rate. With almost 98% of Americans owning a smartphone, these statistics are a clear reason to use text messaging to connect with your clients.
Plus, most of your clients likely prefer to interact via text messages rather than calls or emails. So a veterinary text messaging system can be a great way to enhance your veterinary practice’s client experience.
Reduces the Stress and Inconvenience of a Phone Call for Pet Parents
People like texting so much that 9 out of 10 consumers want businesses to interact with them through text messages. While email and phone calls are crucial communication channels, they often become stressful and inconvenient for many pet owners.
On the other hand, veterinary text messaging allows vets and pet parents to communicate whenever they want. The clients don’t have to respond immediately to the messages. Instead, they can read them at their convenience without feeling pressured to reply instantly.
Two of the reasons why almost 90% of people want to interact with a business through text messaging are convenience and a stress-free experience.
Builds Client Loyalty Over Time
Client loyalty isn’t something that’s established instantly. Instead, it takes a long process that requires a business to stay consistent with its level of services.
With a veterinary text messaging system, you can send personalized custom text messages to clients to show them that you care. After all, 66% of people want businesses to understand their needs, while 52% expect personalized offers. When you fulfill consumers’ expectations, you’re likely to win them as long-time clients.
You can use ready-made text message templates and add personalized tags to them. This way, you won’t have to type the same message repeatedly. With personalization tags, you can auto-add your client’s personal info, such as their first name, in a text message. People love the sound of their name!
Veterinary text messaging offers customers an immediate, personalized experience that targets their sentiments. This will make them return to your clinic again and again, building client loyalty over time.
The Different Types of Text Messages Your Vet Practice Can Send
A veterinary hospital has multiple text messaging options to choose from. While some practices opt for one or two types, many combine different texts to achieve instant and more efficient results.
So what is the best text messaging system for your practice? Below are the most prominent types of text messages you can use as your veterinary text messaging system.
Upcoming Appointment Reminders
One great benefit of sending text appointment reminders to clients is that they aren’t buried under hundreds of emails or postcards. Instead, the client receives them instantly and responds to them within a few clicks. After all, it takes only three minutes for most consumers to respond.
Thus, veterinary text messaging narrows the waiting time for appointment booking, allowing you to cater to more clients simultaneously. You can also use automated appointment reminders to prevent no-shows. These messages are sent one or two days before the appointment.
You can also use veterinary text messaging to send follow-up texts to your clients after an appointment. You can ask them for feedback — whether they liked your services, were satisfied, and/or where they think your services can improve.
Appointment follow-ups show clients you care about their opinions and are willing to improve. You can also incorporate links to your social media accounts and ask your customers to leave positive reviews for your services there. This will enhance your reputation and market visibility, giving you a lead over competitors.
Clinic or Client Updates
Pet care services have animals and patients with different illnesses coming in and out. So no matter how strong your cleanliness protocols are, there is always a safety concern for the staff and other vets. You can inform your clients through SMS if you have implemented new safety protocols in your veterinary practice .
For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, most vet practices limited the number of clients sitting in the waiting room. Informing clients will help your staff and clients follow these new protocols and schedule appointments accordingly.
Many pets are very anxious when visiting the vet. In fact, 30% of dogs coming to a vet practice are highly stressed in the waiting room. With an automated text messaging system, you can let your clients text you upon their arrival. This way, you can send a vet outside, calm the animal down, and then bring them inside.
You can also notify your clients about the following:
- New check-in procedures
- New contact forms
- Updated office hours
- Closure information, etc.
Text messages are the easiest way to update your clients about new offers and discounts. While postcards, emails, and phone calls often go unanswered, text messages are likely to be seen by your clients.
You can attach a cute pet photo in your text messages with an invitation link to a holiday event. If the recipient signs up for the event, they can enjoy a 10% discount on their next appointment. This can lead to higher traffic on your appointment booking software.
The liberty to personalize your text messages is the most significant benefit of veterinary text messaging. It allows you to automatically pull information about each client and utilize it to create personalized messages.
Personalized texts must include the client’s information, their appointment and discharge time, and the vet who treated their pet. These messages should also address the pet and its owner by their first names. This shows you know your clients and care for them. Remember, people love a personalized touch!
Pet Prescription Refill Requests
One of the biggest challenges for a vet practice is emergency refills. Often, pet owners rush into the practice asking for immediate refills for their pets. Sometimes, you may not have the relevant staff or medicines available to fulfill the request. Fortunately, veterinary text messaging can stop this trend.
Whenever a person buys medicines for their pet’s condition, you must set a refill reminder for a week before the medication is expected to run out. Then, an automated refill reminder will be sent to these clients, avoiding emergency runs to the hospital.
You can also use a pet owner’s purchase history of the medications. Set reminders for each pet for a week before their medicine runs out, so their owners will have time to repurchase. This strategy is helpful for special-order medications.
Invest in Veterinary Practice Management Software To Improve Client Experience
If you are running a veterinary practice, you have a dual responsibility. First, you have to win the pet owners’ complete confidence so that they trust you with their pets. Second, you need to manage all these clients at the same time. One mistake can lead to losing a customer who could have been your long-term client.
With an efficient veterinary text messaging system, you can send appointment reminders, veterinary practice updates, follow-up messages, special offers, and prescription refill requests to your client on autopilot. You can also talk to them simultaneously while taking care of all these things.