Scheduling vet appointments is a balancing act between getting enough people through the door, accommodating emergencies, and keeping waiting times low. Good appointment scheduling practices can make the day smoother for all involved, without an 8 a.m. rush followed by lulls and periods of intense activity.
How to Use Veterinary Appointment Scheduling to Get a Competitive Edge
While some receptionists are extremely skilled at manual veterinary appointment scheduling, most have turned to digital platforms to smooth out the process. These digital tools can range from a simple Excel spreadsheet to dedicated veterinary scheduling software that provides useful metrics such as wait time, the number of clients per day, and upcoming appointment information.
Most veterinary appointment scheduling programs allow for various types of appointment booking methods, including:
- Time-specified scheduling
- Wave scheduling
- Open booking
1. Research the Average Cost of a Vet Appointment
Getting the right veterinary appointment scheduling software is only the first step in streamlining scheduling appointments. Staff must know how to use the program effectively, including understanding how the veterinary clinic operates and which booking method is best.
The first step is to identify the length of an appointment with a veterinary doctor. Knowing this number can help the veterinary office schedule enough customers daily without overloading the vets or the veterinary hospital and its facilities.
The average time for a consultation for an established client needing routine veterinary medical care from a doctor is around 20 minutes, while complete physical exams and new patient intake take around 45 minutes. Surgeries and emergencies should also receive their own dedicated time slots or have a specific doctor assigned to these procedures with their own schedules.
2. Choose the Best App for Scheduling Appointments
The type of scheduled appointment software your practice manager chooses depends largely on the type of vet clinic, the number of doctors and staff, and the number and flow of pets and owners. You can also use a flexible veterinary appointment scheduler like Weave, which has the versatility to handle several booking types and provides many additional customer service features.
Veterinary Appointment Scheduling Software
Every veterinary practice has its own needs, and it’s vital to choose software that reflects those requirements. However, it’s a good idea to look for platforms that offer the following services:
- Virtual wait-list that allows customers to receive notifications about last-minute cancellations and openings.
- Appointment reminders and confirmations allow pet parents to control their schedule while also ensuring they turn up for a pre-scheduled appointment on time.
- Online check-in prevents multiple customers from swamping the front desk. Online check-ins are especially useful for owners with nervous or aggressive pets, as it allows them to wait in a calmer space before seeing the vet.
Veterinary Appointments Online
Many clients prefer having control over scheduling their appointment. An online scheduling page lets clients set their schedule by choosing the right time and veterinarian for their needs. The ability to schedule an appointment online improves patient care, but it also allows for the benefits of flexible bookings while still maintaining a manageable schedule for staff.
Weave Web Assistant allows each client to set their appointment schedule and will send an appointment reminder a day in advance to ensure that the client shows up on time.
Spend less time on scheduling.
Weave’s automated appointment reminder texts save me so much time to proactively reach out and schedule past patients. I don’t leave the office without the schedule being full. -Weave CustomerSchedule Demo
What is Flow Scheduling in Veterinary?
Flow scheduling is also known as time-specified scheduling. This type of booking system assigns a set time slot to a particular patient and allows for efficient and streamlined processing of patients throughout the day.
Flow scheduling offers many advantages to a veterinary practice. Not only does it reduce waiting time, but it also allows vets to plan their day and dedicate enough time to each pet for the best in vet care. The main drawback of flow scheduling is that it doesn’t give time for emergencies and doesn’t account for late patients or cancellations. However, proper scheduling software can alleviate these problems by notifying customers of cancellations and allocating time for emergencies.
Scripts to Help Pet Owners Make Appointments Quickly
Most veterinary scheduling programs also have a script set up to ensure that you collect the most important information from a new client while also validating that existing client information is correct.
What Information Do You Need When a Pet Owner Books a Vet Appointment?
A new client script may look like this:
- “What type of veterinary care do you need?
- Have you been with us before?
- Can you provide us with the following information (as needed by the booking software)? Has your pet seen another vet, and if so, can we get their details?”
Existing clients will start with the same procedure but will also include verifying information such as an address, contact details, pet’s name, gender, breed, and age.
How to Become a Good Veterinary Receptionist
Good veterinary practice receptionists need to play several vital roles, including dealing with customers, handling bookings, and ensuring that the practice runs efficiently. Having a dedicated scheduling manager and scripts for new customers can make the job easier, but it still requires the capability to multi-task, handle emergencies, and deal with vets and owners alike.
Weave Can Help You Run Your Practice More Smoothly
Appointment schedulers are invaluable for helping a veterinary practice run smoothly while still providing high-quality animal care and keeping pets healthy and happy. Booking software ensures that a veterinary clinic will always have a steady flow of patients without extended wait times and dissatisfied patients.
To see Weave’s suite of scheduling products in action, call us at 866-308-2039 or contact us for a demo today! We look forward to helping your veterinary clinic get rid of its scheduling woes.