How to keep consultations running on time

2 mins

“My consultation is running overtime!”, your colleague yells as they clumsily scan through the pharmacy drawers looking for a box of medication. You immediately know the consequences of those words; more time apologising and explaining delays and less time for the X-rays and supplier orders that you neatly planned out.

The engine and the pit lane

Suppose your consultation room is the engine of your veterinary practice. In that case, your reception counter is the pit lane where various staff quickly and efficiently juggle a wide range of tasks, which ensures your customers, patients, and practice stay on course.

Of course, the reception desk and consultation room cannot do without each other. Your practice is at its best when the two work seamlessly together – with one prepping for the other.

For example, when a pet owner enters the consultation room, how informed are they about the services your practice provides? Have they been asked some pre-consultation questions which can be handled outside the consultation room? Questions could be as general as to their knowledge of preventative medicine? Or they could be more specific, such as whether they know how blood tests work? Pre-consultation prep work ensures that the entire time in the consultation room benefits the pet freeing up time for other topics and care.

Conversely, the consultation room can help the reception desk, for example, by updating a custom protocol containing the patients’ essential information or current medication. Custom Protocols are also used to automate everyday actions, fill in parts of the patient file, and even print advice letters.

A more informed owner means a better consultation

It’s great when your processes are aligned and automated, but ultimately, consultation efficiency is not just about the effectiveness, speed or automation of the practice. It’s time to look at the most delaying element in your practice – the pet owner. Let’s look at some tips to help educate the customer and ways they can help themselves.

Four tips for a better customer journey

1. Implement an Online Booking application

Online appointment booking offers a better customer experience while improving efficiency and staff satisfaction by reducing incoming calls. Take online booking to the next level by adding your booking link to staff email signatures and adding it to text message templates.

2. Standardise information, and share more

You can share information at various points in the pet owner’s customer journey. Use your content libraries to standardise and even automate content. Whether it’s setting expectations immediately after an appointment is made or sending pre-surgery information to reduce owner questions or concerns.

3. Use protocols to regain valuable consultation minutes

By using pre-defined or Custom Protocols to optimise repetitive tasks, you not only gain the benefits of standardised care, but you also minimise human error and retrieval time.

4. After the appointment: Use (Automatic) Reminders effectively

Did you know that you can send reminders for more than just vaccination or anti-parasitic products? Consider the benefits of sending reminders about diet food, ongoing medication, or blood tests for chronic patients. By expanding your use of reminders, you can involve the owner even more in the pet’s care, leading to more engagement and a more informed owner, making better decisions.

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