Walk the line

Walk the line

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Oct 01, 2006

Q: Should we offer walk-in appointments?

"Define walk-ins: Are these existing or new clients who are simply coming in for routine procedures, or are these clients with ill pets that need to be seen?" asks Dr. Christine Merle, MBA, CVPM, a consultant with Brakke Consulting Inc. in Dallas. "Accepting walk-ins for routine procedures can teach your clients not to schedule appointments. And you're hurting the ones who do make appointments because they must wait longer. Even worse, you may lose focus on clients' needs because of the backup in the waiting room."


Dr. Christine Merle
If a current client's ill pet needs to be seen, Dr. Merle says, consider offering him or her the ability to leave the pet at the hospital—or make the client aware of the wait time. "Add an extra charge for this service due to the 'urgent' care you're offering," she says.

With that said, it is possible to handle walk-ins, Dr. Merle says. "Some practices provide a dedicated doctor for this service and clients are accustomed to waiting an unknown length of time to see the doctor."

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