News & Events

The Key to Forward Booking Appointments

March 7, 2017

It is an unfortunate reality that many clients don’t book an appointment until their pet is truly ill. In this day and age people are busy and they simply forget to schedule that annual exam or wellness visit. Sure, you may send a postcard every year, but who is to say those don’t end up with all the other junk mail … you know, in that drawer, pile, or dare I say trash (come on you know you do it too).

Perhaps the veterinary profession should steal a play from the handbook dentists use. If you’ve visited a dentist any time recently, you will know how hard it is to leave the office without scheduling your next cleaning six months from now. Their persistence, also called forward booking, should be a cornerstone for how veterinary practices handle their patients’ annual exams.

You may have been forward booking for years without even realizing it. Forward booking simply means booking the pet’s next visit before it leaves the practice during its current visit. Most of the time they are called recheck or progress exams, but why should they only be utilized for that purpose — after all, we all acknowledge the importance of annual exam and wellness visits.

Some may argue that a client will not know what they are doing a year from now and even if they did, how could they ever remember to keep that appointment if they can’t even remember to book one. It’s simple — have your front desk staff acknowledge to the client that most of us don’t plan our lives that far in advance, but since today’s date and time worked then generally next year’s appointment will too. Have your staff assure them that there will be plenty of reminders leading up to the appointment and they can always rebook if necessary. While some clients may be resistant to this practice, a majority of clients will actually appreciate having the responsibility shifted off of them.

The bottom line is that when veterinarians and their practice teams see clients and pets on a regular basis, they receive the highest quality of health care. Forward booking is a simple solution to afford the opportunity to achieve both goals — healthier pets and healthier practices.

Visit partnersforhealthypets.org/forward_booking.aspx to learn more on how to implement this program consistently and effectively in your practice.