Text messaging has overwhelmingly become the preferred form of communication for several years now, and this is crucial for veterinarians to successfully communicate with clients. Millennials are the #1 pet-owning generation, and as this Forbes article notes, they not only prefer text, they hate talking on the phone. In fact, the same article includes research that states the phone is only the fifth-most-used app among the general public.
Do you remember that classic Verizon commercial where the guy asked “Can you hear me now?” over and over again? If that commercial was redone today, it’d have to ask “Can you READ me now?”
Chris Henning’s specialties including wellness plan implementation, change management, professional development, and customer service. She believes in providing the highest level of medical care to pets and clients, while developing teams to perform at their highest potential. Chris is passionate about helping other veterinary leaders expand their own leadership skills to increase their own team engagement and financial success.
Why is that? Texts and emails can provide several advantages, including:
- Time for tactful responses. They allow more time for thought to go into dialogue/responses.
- Multiple conversations at once. They give the ability to communicate with more than one person at a time, including face to face and virtually simultaneously.
- Connection with other tools. Email and texting from your phone make it easy to add a phone number to your contacts, plug in an address to your GPS, add an appointment to your calendar, search for a previous message or forward information to someone if needed.
Knowing these facts, how can YOU use this information to keep your hospital on the cutting edge of client communications?
If you aren’t using one already, you should consider integrating a texting service into your practice. People are more likely to respond to text messages than answer a phone call – especially if they don’t recognize the number.
Three ways text messages can help boost your business:
- Increase Efficiency. Think of all the time your staff spends dialing, waiting for an answer, waiting for voicemail, leaving a message, repeating themselves when the client calls back and says they didn’t even bother to listen to the message…Now think of how much time it takes your receptionist or vet tech who spends all waking hours on a phone to send a text message, or set up a email reminder.Now add up this difference over how many phone calls they make in a day. Huge time saver! That’s not to say your staff will never need to make another phone call, but it does mean they can prioritize the important ones. Calls are still important for those pet owners who don’t use email or text, or for relaying sensitive information, following up on pets or sharing detailed client education reminders.
- Better Customer Service. Give the people what they want! If your customer prefers to text, why not text them? Offering alternative forms of communication shows your clients you are able to meet their individual needs and personalize their experience with you. Plus, you can text links to (reputable) articles that you’ve selected for client education, instead of them going to Dr. Google! Furthermore, the saved time from texting or emailing instead of calling everyone will likely give your front desk the ability to interact more with pet owners standing in front of them.
- Convenience AND Quality. People are busy, including your clients! They may not always be in a place or time where they can answer a phone call, but they may have a moment to shoot a text message back in response.
You have a pet under anesthesia for a dental, but need approval to extract a tooth. Your staff calls the pet’s owner on the phone to no avail, but you are on a time constraint! You make the executive decision to wake the pet, only to have the owner call back soon after to approve the extraction.
The pet owner would have been able to shoot a quick text message back in order to approve the extraction, but now the pet must undergo another procedure or wait until their next cleaning, leaving your client displeased and the pet at risk of complications from the infected tooth.
Offering all forms of communication may make the difference in the care you can give your patients.
The human medical and dental industry have already adopted the two-way messaging technology whole-heartedly. I can’t even tell you the last time I got a phone call from my kids’ pediatricians office…and I like it! While it’s super fun to try to talk on the phone with my two-year-old singing “Let It Go!” at the top of her lungs, and our Golden Retriever barking incessantly to be let outside to roll in the mud, I much prefer a text message that I can view and respond to whenever I have a chance.
You don’t have to go at this alone. We offer a seamless integration with ALLYDVM that makes texting and emailing clients very easy, and we offer a two-way integration with ZipWhip. If you want to start with only email, try using our new in-app email functionality. Contact us today if you have questions.
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