8 Tips for Managing Your Lapsing Clients

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What are some ways to manage those lapsing, catch-me-if-you-can clients? Here are some tips to consider:

Tip #1:  Know WHO is lapsing.

The first step to pulling clients back is identifying who they are. Not so complicated, right? Well, it can be. Some practice management software systems can tease out such reports, but you may need to go back and earn a degree in computer programming to figure out how. A simple way to get this information is to look at the Lapsing Patients Report you receive as a member of VetSuccess. Membership does have its privileges – use yours to your advantage.

Once you have this information, consider saving it as an Excel Spreadsheet so you, your printer, mail house or other vendors can access it for mailings, e-blasts and other marketing efforts.

Tip #2:  Look into WHY your clients lapsed.

Check to make sure your practice management system is sending reminders as often as you want and that they are going to the correct address. I believe we, as doctors, don’t communicate the need for the next visit or the follow-up appointment as clearly as we think we do. And, if it isn’t captured on the computer, our techs and client service people can simply miss sending the prompts to the client. Some clients need up to 4 reminders to keep them informed and to set an appointment.

Tip #3:  Send evocative reminder cards.

The key word here is “evocative.”  Not boring. Not cutesy. And certainly not generic. This may be your last chance to re-connect with these people, so make your image(s) resonate and your message is clear, simple and to-the-point.

Make each reminder look distinctive from the others – don’t send the same one over and over. You’ll also want to fold in additional educational messages: the more clients understand the importance of their pet’s visit, the more likely they are to book it.

Tip #4:  Send an E-blast with an incentive. Use a simple, straight-forward “hook” in the subject line such as “Save $25 on your pet’s physical.” My favorite approach is to tie the incentive to the life stage of the exam, e.g., offer a free dental exam to entice owners of senior pets. Personalize these e-blasts as much as you can – such as using the pet’s name and/or photo in the message.  Write your own or use one of these sample scripts.

Tip #5:  Add a video clip to your web site, Facebook or YouTube. Consider having a headline such as “Special message for pet owners whose pets have not had a physical exam in more than 14 months.” Then ask the most trusted doctor in your practice to do a short video (1 minute max) on how physicals can save money and lives. No need to make it a big production — this won’t be an Oscar-winning performance but a sincere, compassionate message with a bit of urgency. Record on a smart phone or home camcorder. Find a cute, cooperative pet to add to the scene – this bolsters the viewers’ interest and also serves the added benefit of calming the person giving the message. Rehearse, relax in the delivery and remember to use a compassionate, sincere tone.

Tip #6:  Send a simple letter to clients from the practice owner.  Pull content and wording from your video – keep it conversational, earnest and caring in tone and style. Include with the letter an incentive – a $25 coupon with a limited time offer on it, or an invitation to a special 1-time event with VIP (Very Important Pet) treatment. Consider having it at a time that is especially convenient for clients – such as a Saturday afternoon or Sunday you are typically closed…or on a lesser holiday that clients may be off work but the practice is open (President’s Day, Veteran’s Day). Another favorite could be Halloween. There are lots of creative ways to gently “scare” clients with a fun image but an earnest message about the health risk to their pet if they skip annual physicals

Tip #7: Conduct a call-out campaign.  Using VetSuccess sample scripts – or ones you write yourself – reach out to these people with a personal plea on behalf of their pet. Some people simply won’t read mail or email but will respond to the sound of a human voice reminding them of the importance of booking Max or Molly’s check-up.

Tip #8: Send a VIP (Very Important Pet) pass to a practice event.  If you’re having an Open House, for example, or a one-time Saturday Wellness Fair, send a Special VIP pass to your lapsing clients, giving them front-row seats, preferential booking status as openings are available, a special “goodie” bag for the pet, etc. The key is to entice them to come in, and once they arrive, treat them as the special guests they are to woo them back. Here’s your chance to re-educate them on the importance of physicals, preventative care, your Wellness programs, etc., so be sure to have a take-home packet prepared for each and every one.

We can help you bring those lapsing clients back to your practice. Get a free Lapsing Patients Report now!