9 Ways to Use “Text a Vet” Veterinary Text Messaging
A veterinary office with two veterinarians looking after a cat and a dog and a customer using text-a-vet veterinary text messaging

Learn All About "Text a Vet" Veterinary Text Messaging

Veterinary offices across the country are seeing a surge in business. But for many vet offices, this boom in business isn’t without challenges.

With a near 20% increase in demand, front desk staff are struggling to keep up with jammed phone lines.

Recently, a veterinarian featured in an article by the Associated Press stated, “All of my practices are booking out several weeks in advance. Clients are actually calling around and scheduling appointments at multiple locations.”

More veterinary practices are finding that they need solutions to problems like:

  • Providing adequate customer service in reasonable timeframes
  • Keeping phone conversations to a minimum
  • Scheduling and sending appointment reminders
  • Streamlining day-to-day client conversations

To solve these problems, veterinary offices are turning to "text a vet" veterinary text messaging services.

Why?

Texting is a more efficient, simpler, faster way to communicate with clients.

After all, some 67% of clients prefer texting with veterinary practices over having phone conversations.

But how can veterinary hospitals, practice managers and anyone who deals with client communication take advantage of text messaging?

We explain how and cover the following in this article:

  1. We explain how and cover the following in this article:
  2. Why your veterinary practice should adopt a conversational text messaging strategy
  3. Why your clients prefer texting compared to email and phone calls
  4. The benefits of texting for veterinary clinics
  5. 8 ways you and your staff can start texting clients right now

Read on for more.

Why Your Veterinary Practice Should Adopt a Conversational Text Messaging Strategy

It's hard to imagine your practice entirely replacing your phone or email with texting. So how does texting fit in with these other communication tools?

Voice calls and email each have their uses. But when it comes to keeping in touch with pet owners, text messaging makes it easier to have 1-on-1 conversations at scale.

This is why you should consider texting as essential to customer service and your conversational messaging strategy.

What does conversational texting mean? It’s simply messaging your clients in more personalized and human ways.

This conversational approach improves your client’s experience and inspires trust and loyalty in return for business.

Texting is a critical component of this strategy. But it's also important to note that chatbots, messengers, and web forms have a part to play as well.

Each tool contributes to your larger conversational messaging experience and can help

  • Increase client satisfaction
  • Reduce unnecessary phone calls
  • And help increases revenue

Texting vs. Phone Calls

It's true that nothing beats voice when it comes to making human connections. But there’s a time and place for voice calls and many clients now prefer text messaging.

People are busy. They’re more unwilling to answer their phones (especially with the rise of spam calls).

We’ve found that even if you leave a voicemail, 1 in 4 people won’t listen to it.

And even when client’s miss a call, 58% try to text the number back.

Granted, there are always good reasons to make phone calls versus sending a text. Longer conversations that require explanation and intonation should be your deciding factor. Discussing pet symptoms and treatments are better served with a phone call.

But calling isn’t ideal if you’re just sending transactional and information messages.

You and your client’s shouldn’t have to sit through,

Ring #1…

Ring #2...

Ring #3...

Ring #4...

Ring #5...

Ring #6…

Just to leave a voicemail and connect regarding an appointment or scheduling conflict.

In this case, texting appointment reminders would be a better way to go.

Texting vs. Email

Email is the most widely-adopted form of business communication in the world.

But it comes with some drawbacks especially with open rates and immediate communication.

In fact, email open rates are on the decline and emails only get around a 20% open rate. Which makes sense when you consider that your average client sends and receives around 246 emails per day. So it’s likely that your email may get lost or go unread.

Now, couple those facts with the reality that only 27% of sent emails get opened within 2 hours. That’s 27% of the already 20% of emails that get opened at all.

This means that around 5.4% of the emails you typically send get opened within 2 hours.

That might be okay for an email marketing or promotional campaign. Especially if you’re sending a longer form message or your email has a lot of visual assets.

But when it comes to letting someone know when their pet needs to be picked up, or when an appointment needs scheduling, your clients will prefer a more immediate messaging solution.

That’s where texting can help.

The Benefits of Text Messaging for Veterinary Clinics and Animal Hospitals

The front desk is where a lot of your day-to-day operations happen. For most vet practices and animal hospitals, these staff spend the most amount of time on the phone.

But many front office staff feel they spend too much time making and answering voice calls.

This is where text messaging can help smooth daily operations. It opens up a more convenient two-way communication channel between staff and pet owners. How cool would it be to tell your clients that they can text a veterinarian for emergencies?

As we’ve discussed, email and voice aren’t going away. They’ll always have a place when it comes to your daily office operations. But text messaging can fill the gaps between the two because:

  • Texting is more immediate - texts have up to a 98% open rate.
  • Texting allows for more convenient two-way conversations between staff and pet owners.
  • You can schedule text messages in advance for appointments to reduce no-shows.
  • You can automate text messages to send based on keywords and other triggers for out-of-office and away messages.
  • And more, which we cover specifically below.

9 Ways Your Vet Practice Can Use Texting to Smooth Daily Operations and Increase Pet Owner Satisfaction

1. Reduce no-shows and send appointment reminders

Appointments get missed and when they do, they waste a lot of time. So, the more you can do to send reminders and reduce no-shows in advance, then the more efficient and more profitable your practice will ultimately be.

When it comes to appointment reminders, 67% of people would rather get texts than emails or phone calls. So if you're still using veterinary appointment reminder cards, it's time to consider text messaging.

From our guide to appointment reminders, we found that 53% of people said they simply forget to attend or cancel many of their appointments. Another 28% said they missed their appointment simply because they wrote down the wrong date or time.

This is where a text reminder is the perfect way to reduce no-shows.

2. Send and receive real-time updates on pets health

Texting makes it easier for both pet owners and vet staff to connect with each other.

With text messaging, pet owners and staff can even text each other images and videos to provide more pet health details. They can also share documents. This makes the lines of communication much more immediate and fluid.

Texting features like these make the difference when a pet owner is requesting an urgent update or sharing critical pet information.

And the best thing? These kinds of 1-on-1 conversations with pet owners about their pet’s health and wellness can happen at scale.

With the right text messaging service, you can manage many concurrent inbound and outbound text conversations. You can’t do this with phone calls.

Overall, texting increases a staff’s communication capacity and can improve client satisfaction.

3. Get more reviews of your vet clinic from pet-owners

It’s always a best practice to listen to the people (and pets) you serve. One way to do this is by nudging pet owners to leave you a Google Review after their appointment.

With business texting services like MessageDesk, it’s easy to schedule post-appointment text messages. Simple automations like these can lead to dramatic increases in reviews.

We find that vet clinics who set up post-appointment messages get about 5/10 patients to leave a review within a day of receiving the text message.

Good Google reviews are also vital to local business and getting referrals. They’re social proof that can improve your local search ranking, build credibility, and give you feedback regarding client experiences.

Veterinary-Google-Reviews-Text-Message

4. Automatic out-of-office replies

Texting clients when your office is closed or your staff are away can go a long way to maintaining good relations.

With texting, it’s easy to set up automatic out-of-office replies that send automatically when a client texts you at a certain time.

An example of this in action would be if a client texted your number for a pet emergency late at night. Your auto-response text could then provide additional emergency contact information.

Prompt replies aren’t only part of good texting etiquette. They’re also essential to setting and maintaining client expectations. And you get the added benefit of not having to listen to a bunch of voicemails.

5. Promote new products or services

Selling a new, specialty brand of dog food? Offering a new vaccine? Let your customers know with a quick text message.

Text messaging works great for marketing. Especially when sending picture messages and special offers to your client-base. Many business text messaging platforms make it easy to create groups of clients and then send them a specialized text as a group.

6. Send more personalized and timely messages

Texting at scale presents some challenges. How do you send a message to 1,000 people (each with a different first name) and still sound personal?

This is where advanced text messaging features, like dynamic tags, can help. Don’t just say hello or hey at the beginning of your message. Instead, use tags to automatically insert a client or pet owner’s first name into the message.

“Hey {{ FirstName }}” would turn into “Hey Ben” automatically, without having to type a name.

Here’s an example text using personalization tags:

Hi {{ FirstName }}, this is {{ OrganizationName }} confirming you have an appointment on 3/25 at 3pm for {{ PetName }}. Thanks for scheduling your appointment with us, and if you have any questions, reply to this text. We’ll see you and {{ PetName }} then!

Simple gestures like these can increase your client satisfaction.

Here’s another example of what a personalized message with dynamic tags might look like using MessageDesk:

Veterinary Personalized Appointment Reminder Message

Your client would the recieve:

Veterinary Appointment Reminder Text Message

7. Print and save texts for medical records

Text exchanges reduce the amount of liability that falls on your practice. You can avoid any unnecessary debates about what you have communicated by printing or saving your conversations with clients.

Short of recording every call that is made by the practice, texting is the most effective way to keep accurate records of your communications.

8. Send texts to get paid faster and on time

Payment reminders can help reduce your accounts receivable. Texting payment and invoice reminders also keeps things transparent with your clients. This helps when clients are on longer term payment plans.

Without the ability to text payment reminders, vet offices typically spend more time on other cumbersome billing systems or even making phone calls that could potentially annoy clients.

Some text messaging providers also offer direct integrations with small business accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero or payments solutions like Freedom Merchants.

9. Start more conversations with pet-owners

Texting makes for more personalized touches without the hassle of phone calls. 58% of consumers have tried to text back to a business after missing their call. They're also 4 times more likely to respond to a text than to a call.
But who says that you only need to talk to your patients in person or on the phone?

This is where texting makes it easy to stay top-of-mind with clients. Especially with yearly checkup reminders that offer health tips or pet happy birthday messages.

A message can even remind certain pet owners of things to be mindful of. It could also let them know that their pet is due for a check-up soon.

In MessageDesk you can schedule these messages in advance. This way when someone visits you can schedule the annual check-up message on the spot.

Yearly veterinary checkup reminder text message

P.S. {{ PetName }} can be made as a personalization tag in MessageDesk so you always keep the message personalized.

Ready to start texting? There are several steps you can take to set your practice up for success.

First, you'll need to have your contact list ready for uploading.

The more you can do to organize this list into groups based on similarities, the better off you’ll be. Similarities also make it easier to include more personalized messaging.

Next, you'll want to make sure you have templates composed for the standard sorts of messages that you plan to text. MessageDesk offers some example text message templates, including:

  • Leave us a Google Review
  • Out of office
  • Appointment reminder
  • Payment reminder

Interested in giving MessageDesk a try? Feel free to schedule a demo or start a 7-day free trial. We’ll even give you 50 free text messages to put toward your first text message campaign.

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