Don't fear forward booking

Don't fear forward booking

It's sooo easy. And you're not doing it. Stop hiding from it and use these super-simple steps to make forward booking work for your veterinary practice.
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Jun 07, 2016
By dvm360.com staff

Don't let forward booking freak you out. (Getty Images)Why is forward booking the Freddy Krueger of veterinary medicine? Two reasons, says Mark Opperman, CVPM, co-owner of VMC Inc. in Evergreen, Colorado:

1. You're not comfortable offering it to your clients.

Solution (and you'll love this one): Ask your receptionist to do it! She's your rock star client communicator, right? After the appointment, as the receptionist helps the client check out, she says something like:

"Shall we go ahead and schedule Casey's appointment for six months from now?"

And many times clients will say, "Sure."

See? Told you it was easy!

Which brings us to the second boogeyman of forward booking: 

2. You're afraid of "no-shows."

Boo! (Sorry about that. We couldn't resist.)

Solution: Call 30 days before the appointment. 'Cause, you know, clients forget that appointment they made six months ago. And they've got meetings and vacations and that can't-miss lunch meeting with Great Aunt Marge, and if you only call the day before you're 1) gonna go straight to voicemail and 2) the client's going to call and cancel or, worse, not show up at all.

Here's the less-than-scary protocol to stop "no-shows." (Hint: This one involves your receptionist too. Yay for delegation!) 

1. Call 30 days before the appointment. Say, "Hi, Mrs. Smith. I'm calling to confirm Casey's upcoming appointment on [date]. Does this time still work for you?" (This works fine for voicemail too. Just ask clients to call you if they need to reschedule.)

2. Call again (or text! You know the kids love the texting) a day or two before the appointment as a last reminder.

That's it! No more nightmare "no-shows."

Opperman predicts we'll see forward booking catch on more. Start with your six-month wellness visits and senior patients to see how well it catches on for your practice. Watch him explain it all here: