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No-shows are no fun for you, your team, or your business—not to mention the pets who need your care and services! According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), no-shows occur in nearly one out of every ten appointments scheduled each day, potentially amounting to a total of 225 appointments in just one year.

If you’re looking to reduce missed appointments and retain revenue for your veterinary clinic, we’ve got you covered! With pre-appointment payment options, an automated reminder system, digital forms, and more, PetDesk has the veterinary-specific tools to make no-shows no problem for your practice, keeping both pet care and your revenue on track. We’ll talk through the different ways you can optimize operations, secure earnings, and enhance your overall veterinary experience, all through the support of one well-trusted team: PetDesk.

Communicate Pre-Appointment Veterinary Deposits

Having pet parents pay a fee for not showing up to their appointments—especially after missing their second or third one—seems like a no-brainer for reducing the burden of no-shows for your veterinary team. Even better, PetDesk Pay is our cost-effective veterinary payment software that helps prevent losses from high-risk clients, making every scheduled appointment a win for your practice. 

With PetDesk Pay features like Deposit Solicitation, you can request pre-appointment deposits or full payments from potential no-shows to keep pet owners accountable for the services they’ve booked, while also securing your revenue up front. Text2Pay is another PetDesk Pay tool that ensures quick and convenient invoicing no matter where pet owners are—in the clinic, at home, or on the go—by requesting payments directly to their mobile devices. This lets clients skip the chaotic in-clinic checkout process, allowing them to breeze through appointments and pay when it works best for them.

To prevent confusion, as well as delayed or ignored payments, be sure to clearly communicate your deposit and no-show policies to new and existing clients, preferably through several different ways and in a manner that pet owners can acknowledge. Clear communication will make it more difficult for clients to dispute your payment requests, and prevent them from not showing up for their appointments. The policy should be sent to each active client or included in your digital correspondence, and the no-show fee should be communicated the same way as well.

Of course, new clients should be informed of the policy before they make an appointment, but it should also be posted on your clinic’s website and emailed to the pet owner as soon as the appointment is made, and the deposit paid. PetDesk can help with this, too, through our custom-built websites and digital marketing, helping to ensure both new and existing clients stay in the know about your latest policies and procedures whether they’ve landed on your website or not.

Be Proactive With Efficient Veterinary Reminders and Calls

Aside from pre-payment options to reduce more risky no-shows, you can prevent missed appointments from all of your clients through PetDesk’s automated veterinary reminder system. Our appointment reminders and confirmations are automatically sent to pet owners through emails, texts, postcards by mail, or push notifications from the PetDesk veterinary mobile app, ensuring there’s a way for every reminder to reach any client without having to call them. You can also use confirmation notifications to set expectations for pet parents, like letting them know if you’re continuing curbside pet pickup and what to expect once they arrive at your practice.

The most effective ways to decrease no-shows are by digitally confirming appointments as soon as they’re booked, and then staying in touch with your clients using communication tools like targeted messaging—where you can send any message to any group of pet owners in just a few clicks—or two-way texting, which lets pet owners and veterinary teams skip the phone call and communicate less urgent information on their own time. Not only that, but doing your due diligence and reminding clients about their appointments a couple of days before—which PetDesk’s veterinary reminder system automatically does for you—will significantly help reduce no-shows as well as last-minute cancellations. A simple process that allows clients to confirm yes or no after receiving your final appointment reminder could certainly increase the probability of them showing up, without requiring another phone call. Just ask Bluemound Animal Hospital, who used PetDesk’s automated veterinary reminder system to decrease their no-show rate by 38%!

Plus, when it does come time to speak over the phone, you can have peace of mind that PetDesk Phones makes every conversation fast and efficient. Our PIMS-compatible VoIP phone system has features like caller ID and centralized access to client and patient information, allowing you to provide personalized and professional care before you even pick up the phone. So, the next time a pet parent rings your clinic for advice about their pet’s health, you can greet them and their pet by name and immediately address any questions or concerns they have, proving you’re their proactive veterinary partner. PetDesk Phones ensures quicker, more efficient calls to promote better patient outcomes, helping to reduce no-shows by making your clinic the clear choice for excellent pet care.

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Offer Veterinary Digital Forms Before Appointments

Another way to reduce the risk of no-shows is by using PetDesk Forms, providing pet owners with user-friendly, branded digital forms right to their devices to help you conveniently capture their information in advance. PetDesk Forms is a strategic move for decreasing no-shows because pet owners can share their contact information and pet health details with you before their appointments, right from the comfort of their own homes.

This not only prevents missed appointments by further committing clients to the services they’ve booked at your clinic, but also helps to streamline information management for your team by replacing manual paperwork with fast and accurate automation. Beyond minimizing missed appointments, PetDesk Forms offers a great experience for everyone: clients love the convenience of filling out forms online and sharing information ahead of time, and your staff can focus less on manual data management and more on compassionate patient care.

Get Aligned With Your Veterinary Team

It’s critical that you keep your staff up to speed with your policies and inform them of the latest changes right away. If you decide to add a penalty fee for no-shows, for example, make sure your staff understands the policy so they can consistently answer any questions or concerns from clients. While a no-show can mean your team gets a well-deserved break from busy clinic operations, staying aligned with your policies and procedures and ensuring your team isn’t overworked is key for smooth operations. A great way to accomplish this is by holding routine staff meetings, where you can collectively create, review, and check off your clinic’s goals and make process improvements as needed.

Remember the Bottom Line

You can never be sure that any client who books an appointment will actually show up. By using the tools and tactics we’ve discussed, however, you’ll significantly decrease the number of no-shows at your veterinary practice, keeping your schedule full and your revenue on track.

Pre-appointments payment options, an automated reminder system, digital forms, and PetDesk’s other veterinary-specific tools—like the PetDesk app and PetDesk Phones—can optimize your operations from the inside out, making your clinic a proactive and professional place for veterinary care that encourages pet owners to keep coming back. Meanwhile, attracting more loyal clients to your practice will help drive revenue while reducing no-shows, last-minute cancellations, and other scheduling headaches. Here’s the bottom line: get ahead of no-shows by putting a plan in action as soon as possible, freeing your team from daily client friction and your clinic from lost revenue.

Reducing No-Shows at Your Veterinary Practice FAQs

Q. How can pre-appointment payments help reduce no-shows at my veterinary practice?
A. Pre-appointment payments, such as deposits or full payments, hold pet owners accountable for their scheduled appointments. By using PetDesk Pay, PetDesk’s veterinary payment software, you can request these payments upfront, which not only secures your revenue but also discourages no-shows. Clear communication of your deposit and no-show policies to clients is crucial to prevent misunderstandings and disputes.

Q. What features does PetDesk offer to help with appointment reminders and confirmations?
A. PetDesk provides an automated veterinary reminder system that sends appointment reminders and confirmations through emails, texts, postcards, or push notifications from the PetDesk veterinary mobile app. This ensures that reminders reach clients efficiently, reducing the likelihood of missed appointments. Additionally, targeted messaging with PetDesk’s mass messaging solution and two-way texting tool enhance communication, further minimizing no-shows.

Q. How do digital forms contribute to reducing no-shows?
A. PetDesk Forms allow pet owners to complete and submit necessary information before their appointments, committing them further to their scheduled visit. This convenience also streamlines your practice’s operations by reducing manual paperwork, allowing your team to focus more on patient care.

Q. How important is staff alignment in reducing no-shows?
A. Ensuring your staff is well-informed and aligned with your policies, including any no-show penalties, is crucial. Consistent communication and understanding of these policies enable your team to handle client inquiries effectively and maintain smooth operations. Regular staff meetings can help keep everyone on the same page and allow for process improvements.

Q. What is the overall impact of using PetDesk’s solutions for reducing no-shows and improving clinic operations?
A. Implementing PetDesk’s unified solutions, including pre-appointment payments, automated reminders, and digital forms, significantly decreases no-shows and last-minute cancellations. These tools optimize your clinic’s operations, enhance client communication, and secure your revenue, ultimately making your practice a more proactive and professional environment that encourages pet owners to show up for their appointments.

Are You Ready To Say Goodbye to No-Shows and Lost Revenue with PetDesk?

Leverage automated reminders, appointment requests, two-way messaging, payments, and more through our mobile app to boost patient compliance and staff satisfaction.