Imagine your client Mary is hanging out on the couch watching television with her fur baby, Cleo the cat, when all of the sudden her phone vibrates. What does she do?
If your first thought is “check her phone”, you would absolutely be correct. According to media company Time, the average American checks their phone approximately 46 times per day. This is an important statistic to consider if you’re thinking about what channels to use in regards to your reminder systems.
If you’re currently using postcards as your main reminder system, how often do pet parents check their mail?
Since pet parents are constantly checking their phones, utilizing that communication avenue is a smart way to ensure that they’re seeing your messages and reminders.
Here are a couple more reasons as to why implementing SMS messaging into your practice is a good idea:
1. Not Every Pet Parent Has Internet Access on Their Phone
It may be 2018, but some pet parents choose not to own a smartphone and just use a mobile phone with no internet capabilities. While not uncommon for older clients or individuals who are looking to be more frugal, they will still need to be notified about upcoming appointments and annual exams.
According to Gallup, texting is the most used form of communication for Americans under 50 years old. While there are certain marketing avenues that they may not have if they don’t have a smartphone, SMS is an option that’s just as reliable as a phone call.
2. Text Messages Have a Higher Open Rate Than Emails
According to a study by Dynmark, 98% of text messages are opened and 90% of those text messages are read within the first 3 seconds of being sent. Not only are these messages being consumed quickly, but they’re being delivered and opened which is the main pitfall of email messaging. Emails have an average open rate of 20.81%. This makes it crystal clear as to which messaging channel has the most engagement in terms of client behavior.
You may be thinking, “Oh, if emails have such a bad open rate, I should just get rid of that as a communication channel altogether.” While this may be a logical thought, it’s not the wisest decision.
Since both email reminders and SMS reminders are extremely affordable in terms of cost per message, it doesn’t hurt to send MORE reminders, but in different channels. Which leads to the next point…
3. Reminder Postcards are EXPENSIVE
The average one doctor practice has approximately 1,200 clients in their database. One postcard with postage is approximately 80 cents in the United States. If you do that math, that’s approximately $1,000 every year on just ONE postcard reminder for each individual client.
What happens if your client loses the postcard, it gets lost in the mail, or they just plain forget to call because they receive the postcard at the wrong time? This is why it’s important to maintain as many lines of communication as possible with your clients and use postcards as a fail safe.
At PetDesk, our reminders are sent through digital forms of communication first—think text messages, emails, calendar reminders, and app notifications. If your clients fail to confirm or communicate that they are attending their scheduled appointment digitally, only then postcards will be mailed out to them. This automated functionality helps reduce costs on reminder postcards and lower your no-show rate.
4. Automated SMS Reminders Can Save Your Staff Time
How much time does your staff spend making reminder calls? What things could your staff be working on that could make a bigger impact on your day-to-day? If you were to take away repetitive tasks that can be automated, your staff members could spend more time on what matters most – pet health.
Not only does your staff get a break from manually sending out postcards, but your clients will receive their reminders on a platform that they check consistently. With automated reminders, both your staff and your clients don’t have to worry about remembering when to schedule appointments or check-ins.
If you’re considering implementing digital reminders for your veterinary practice, including SMS marketing capabilities can greatly improve the number of clients that you ultimately reach with your message.
Are you interested in implementing SMS reminders at your veterinary practice? Schedule a demo with one of our practice management consultants and we can help you create a strong reminder strategy.