Blog

December 17, 2018

Why veterinary practices should consider online booking

Dog computer

As people get busier by the day, we are always looking for the fastest and most efficient use of our time as we never seem to have enough of it in the day.
 
Imagine the situation where two people are calling your clinic at the same time, but there is only one person to answer the phone. Do you put one person on hold to answer the second, or let the second person leave a message? Either way, the likelihood that one of the clients gets frustrated is high. You risk losing that client’s attention and business to another practice.


What about a situation where Ms. Client gets home late from work and realizes she forgot to schedule her pet’s annual checkup. When she remembers this, your practice has already closed for the evening and staff have gone home to spend time with their family. Ms. Client goes on your website and hits ‘schedule appointment’, only to receive a message that says her request has been emailed to the clinic and she will hear from you within 24-48 hours. She was ready to book an appointment and pay for your services, but now she doesn’t feel as valued as before because she didn’t receive an immediate response.

Both of these situations are remediable, but let’s first look at the different between an appointment request and real-time online booking. 

 

Online Booking vs. Appointment Requests

Many practices utilize an appointment request; however, this is just another way for the client to send an email to the practice. Once submitted, this leads to the practice staff calling the client as they have time. If clients don’t answer then you potentially play an endless game of phone tag. When the client does answer, on average, you spend 7-10 minutes on the phone capturing the pet and client information and finding the best day and time for an appointment.

A real-time online booking system, on the other hand, is the ultimate way to capture your clients while you have their attention. Your practice can set parameters for the types of services pet parents see via your website and when those services are available. Once a client finds the right appointment type, they can see actual time slots that are open and select one of those times. This goes back into your practice management system and automatically enters the data into a client record. Everything is customized to your practice’s specific needs.

By utilizing an online booking platform, you can save those 7-10 minutes per appointment for both your staff and clients.

 

Be where your clients are, when they want you

In both situations described at the beginning of this article, clients become frustrated because they have to wait while you fit them into your busy day. If you offer an option for clients to book themselves instead, they are able to fit you in when they have time, not the other way. Additionally, your front desk now stays open 24/7 and is always ready to serve your clients whenever they are looking for you.

Whether it’s a few seconds in the car, or after hours at home, clients don’t always have 7 minutes to engage with your staff. Instead, being able to book online in under 20 seconds is a huge advantage to them and shows you value their time.

 

Your return on investment

In addition to huge time savings and showing clients you value their time, all it takes is one appointment booked online to pay for the service. As clients are able to book online, they keep your appointment calendar full without staff having to do a thing. This enables you to utilize staff in many different ways: from doing more follow ups on discharged patients, marketing the practice, or catching up on any overdue tasks.

 

Are you ready to learn more about how online booking can maximize the efficiency and profitability of your practice? If so, or if you have any questions on how Next In Line’s online booking platform can be customized to your specific needs, feel free to request a demo. We’d love to partner with you and your hospital!