Why Using a “Request an Appointment” Tool Won’t Work for Your Practice Anymore

4 min read

Veterinary practices are often overwhelmed. With increased pet ownership, COVID19, and unfortunate outbreaks such as parvo, your staff needs to double up on their time on providing the proper pet care and customer experience. This also includes responding to each phone call to take down appointments. Then emerged forms that you could add to your website.

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The beginning of the “request an appointment” form

Most veterinary practices started adding a form to their website to reduce the volume of phone calls. In some cases, these came from third parties or even as an app that enables practices to “request an appointment”. These forms give pet owners the option to fill choose a date and time and then submit it to the clinic.

Then the clinic would check on the time and date, cross-check against their practice management system (PIMS or PMS), offer options to pet owners to make a booking, create the appointment on the PMS and then confirm the appointment.

However, if the options that the practice offered the pet owner didn’t work for them, spending additional time finding a time slot that worked for everyone.

So your admin staff would be spending more time doing manual work whereas the tool is supposed to help you save time.

Why switch from “request an appointment” tools to automated real-time appointment booking?

🟣 It cuts down any additional manual work that involves matching appointments or creating appointments.

Even though a “request an appointment” tool enables you to submit an appointment online, your team would spend time going back and forth entering appointments manually once it’s confirmed. An automated booking system will directly help pet owners book appointments without front desk staff intervention. Take any other industry that uses online booking. Can you imagine “requesting a seat” from an airline to book a ticket? AND the time you’d have to wait to hear from the airline? It just makes simple sense to automate the process of booking a seat or an appointment (in the case of your practice) so it reduces the back and forth between your team or even yourself as a customer. So why would pet owners want any less?

🟣 Ability to sync your calendar with the tool to offer real-time appointments

Real-time appointment booking tools synchronize directly with your schedule, calendar, or your PMS so pet owners can easily see the availability you provide and choose based on their preference. This also avoids any double booking because pet owners can book appointments in real-time.

🟣 Offer appointments 24/7 and confirmations even during out-of-office hours.

An appointment requesting tool would require waiting till your staff is back in the office if a pet owner requests an appointment after the clinic is closed. Generally, with Vetstoria users, 40% of appointments come during out-of-office hours, and the experience is optimal if confirmed right away. With an automated tool, you’d be able to provide immediate confirmation to pet owners reducing any waiting time.

🟣 Brand the booking tool based on your preference

Most appointment requesting tools will offer a few fields within their app for pet owners to submit their requests or a pop-up on your website. With an automated booking solution such as Vetstoria, you can have a dedicated page for the booking platform and customize the booking widget based on the branding elements such as colours used on your practice website.

“Request an appointment” tools now also come with other features that provide reminders and confirmations. Yet, most of these capabilities are now offered with automated online booking solutions as well. When choosing a platform, look for one that helps you provide real-time appointment scheduling, flexibility to customize the tool based on your preferences, and even other products that would add value to your practice, such as reporting capabilities, digital marketing, and telemedicine.

If you want to see a comparison of what might work for your practice better, check out this table we put together to help you make the right call!