Veterinarians are incredibly busy people. Along with their duties as practitioners, they’re frequently small business owners that have to tend to the day-to-day demands of managing an organization. Vets in more rural areas also choose to travel to take care of animals that can’t easily be transported to their clinic.
In short, vets are constantly on the go. Many of them have adopted modern communication technology to help them cope with their busy schedules. However, these technologies are often lacking consolidation, which means their overall communication network is a bit disjointed.
For those veterinary practices looking to bring their communication together into an integrated system, one of the primary benefits is that this unification of your network allows for improved mobile management. It’s time-consuming having to repeatedly check-in at the office when you’re working remotely. Putting as many communication strategies in the palm of your hand as possible facilitates optimized remote work for vets and their employees.
Some vets may wonder how such a system would work on a practical level. The goal of this blog post is to describe eight methods for managing a clinic with a mobile device. Consolidated communication that’s accessible through a smartphone is a reality for thousands of offices already. Here’s why you should consider upgrading:
1.Founding your communication on VoIP Phones
Veterinary practices that still rely on conventional landline phones are doing themselves a disservice. Not only are their basic daily phone calls more difficult to manage with landlines, it’s virtually impossible to create a unified communication network with landlines in-house. VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) phones are foundational to any modern communication network because they connect your phones with the central feature of information flow in today’s world: the internet.
When a vet clinic’s phones are converted to VoIP, a whole range of possibilities open up to your practice. For starters, the average office sees an 18% improvement in the amount of calls it answers. This increase leads to higher customer satisfaction and more regularly scheduled appointments with pet owners.
But that’s just in the office. For vets on the go, they now have the ability to access their voicemail through their mobile device, letting them stay up to date with the everyday administrative needs of the practice. From their device, they can also alter their voicemail message and phone tree, or simply allow their front desk team handle things while still keeping in contact.
2.Starting text conversations with customers
It’s hard to really manage your clinic without business texting. Many customers now prefer texting to calling, and busy pet owners are also likely to utilize texting, especially considering how often they’re on the go. Veterinary practices that adopt text messaging within their communication system are much more prepared to manage themselves remotely.
Text messages are perfect for vets that are constantly on the move because they’re much less time consuming than phone calls. Vets can shoot a quick text to their administrative team or their next customer, then get going on their next appointment. It’s crucial, however, that your clinic’s business texting have a two-way capacity in order to allow for dialogue with pet owners.
Through software that syncs with VoIP phones, customers that aren’t able to get through to your front desk receive missed call texts that are sent out automatically. These missed call texts initiate conversations that can be handled with a mobile app. This feature opens up possibilities not just for veterinarians, but for their employees.
3.Having customer insights on hand
When vets are trying to access information about specific pet owners from outside the office, it can be a bit of a fiasco. If their systems haven’t been updated, they’re forced to call their own front desk and have receptionists share information over the phone. This scenario is a waste of valuable time, especially when it could be taken care of with customer insights available through a mobile app.
Veterinary offices with a VoIP phone system can connect the individual information of pet owners to calls. This level of connection allows your network to populate a computer screen with information that’s directly pertinent to your call as soon as it’s received. If you’re a vet on the move, a mobile app gives you this same personal information.
Having customer insights at the ready makes for more efficient management of your practice and better customer service. If you can look at the names, pictures, birthdays, medical history, and payment history of customers regardless of your location, you’re able to recognize each customer’s needs and remember the particular condition of their pet. You and your staff can also make notes within a customer’s profile for future reference.
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4.Automating your scheduling
Vets that aren’t always in the office may have difficulty keeping track of their schedule. If their employees are also having to work remotely because of social distancing measures, scheduling gets even more chaotic. Utilizing communication software that automatically ensures that appointment reminders and confirmations are going out on a regular basis cuts down on the stress of managing a practice’s schedule.
With scheduling software that’s part of your communication network, your office can program appointment reminders and confirmations to automatically go out to customers at specific times, relieving front desk workers of the need to cycle through reminders each and every day. These reminders keep your schedule full and customers up to date, even if as a vet you don’t have the bandwidth to worry about your upcoming calendar.
These automated messages allow for two-way text conversations to start, providing an alternative channel for customers that might need to reschedule or cancel. In the event of cancellations, scheduling tools provide a feature that lets practices send out last-minute text blasts to priority customers. Again, vets and their employees can access these features from their mobile app.
5.Collecting digital payments
Veterinarians on the go can sometimes have clumsy or uncoordinated methods for collecting payments from customers. If they’re showing up at a rural location, they might be taking checks back to the office that won’t be cashed for days. Credit cards can be a pain in their own way; cards and card readers tend to backfire, creating a huge hassle for busy vets.
Luckily, technology has evolved to the point where veterinary offices can get around conventional payments, including cash, check, and cards. By implementing digital payments, clinics can simply send a text message to customers after appointments to take care of payments. All practices need is card information, and then customers handle the payment by clicking a link within the text message.
Vets with small practices sometimes manage payments themselves. If they’re out on a call, it’s remarkably easy to use a mobile app to send a payment request after an appointment than almost any other methods. This approach also appeals to younger customers who are getting accustomed to paying for things with services like Venmo and PayPal.
6.Setting up a team chat
As already mentioned, a point of difficulty for busy veterinarians is staying in touch with their administrative team. Even if they’re simply in a back part of the building, there can be a divide in the communication between vets and their staff. Putting the whole team into a group chat can save your clinic from having information fall through the cracks.
Recent events have led to many offices working remotely. Relying exclusively on calls or personal texts presents organizational problems that can be avoided with a team chat. Team chats are available through mobile apps and integrate with the other features of a VoIP phone system.
86% of employees cite lack of collaboration or ineffective communication¹ for workplace failures. Vets that travel regularly can manage their teams with greater efficiency by setting up a team chat within their office’s communication network.
7.Requesting reviews by text
The marketing aspect of running a business can be stressful for veterinarians. After all, they got into their line of work for animals, not for developing marketing strategies. Trying to bring in new customers is tough enough without having to focus on more essential work.
Modern marketing strategy is geared toward establishing a strong online presence. This presence comes from a professional, easy-to-use company website. It also is influenced heavily by online review sites like Google and Facebook.
Vet clinics that want to amass positive reviews on popular sites can distribute review requests after every appointment with a text message. These texts have links that bring customers to review sites for quick posting. From their mobile app, veterinarians can use an interface to regularly monitor their progress on review sites.
8.Crafting professional emails
Another marketing strategy that’s proven to drive business for small practices is emailing. While most vet clinics have an email outreach, they’re often not optimized. Improving the quality of your office’s emails can make it easier to manage your practice on the go.
Emails appeal to customers because they provide them with a wealth of information without requiring the same level of engagement as texts and emails. Emails also have a visual component that texts and calls do not. Additionally, with Call-to-Action buttons, customers can be given the chance to take action on scheduling and payment needs.
When emails are firing on all cylinders, vets can rest at ease knowing that their practice is being managed smoothly. Email marketing software gives vets access to pre-written templates and an image library for quickly creating aesthetically-pleasing emails. CTA buttons allow for standard practice upkeep to take place without significant oversight from vets and their employees.
Managing your veterinary office on the go
The above lists some of the best methods for managing your practice’s communication. Once your office has a VoIP phone in place, there are numerous opportunities available for using alternative communication and payment methods, as well as areas where automation can save your team time and effort. Weave’s complete business toolbox provides the hardware and software solutions that enable greatly improved clinic management for vets on the go.
Contact us today to discover how to better manage your practice using our VoIP phones and mobile app.