Regular messaging drives appointment numbers and revenue

Chapman Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Geraldton, Western Australia. It provides its local community with up-to-date diagnostic and medical resources to treat a wide range of small animals.

The team at Chapman Animal Hospital has been using our VisionVPM practice management solution for a number of years to help simplify and streamline the management of their business, improve efficiency and grow profitability.

According to Managing Director Ben Mason, although they had used the client communication solution, Rapport, in conjunction with VisionVPM since 2015, they only recently discovered its full potential.

“We had been using the automated reminder and online booking functions since the beginning, but weren’t using the other functions much,” says Ben. “So, after a particularly quiet few months, I decided to look at using the campaign function within Rapport.”

His discovery revealed some powerful unused tools which he quickly capitalised on. He started his exploration by searching within VisionVPM for outstanding reminders dating back to early 2015. He uncovered thousands of these, including wellness checks, vaccinations and dental checks.

“I uploaded this list to Rapport using one of the pre-existing templates and sent the reminders via SMS. The process was this simple, although I have finessed it over time since then,” he explains.

This simple exercise had an immediate impact as clients started responding to the SMS reminders. The results speak for themselves. “In just over eight months this process on Rapport has generated an additional 1,100 appointments, with estimated revenue of $260k,” he says. This represents an increase in turnover at a quiet time of 10-15 percent.

Small investment delivers big returns

Realising the success of this marketing channel, Ben has persevered and has now built this SMS client communication process into a regular weekly practice. His message to clients in the text messages is quite straightforward; he invites them to either make an appointment, or get in touch to update their records.

While the recall and reminder activity has been impressive, Ben also enjoys the visibility that Rapport provides. “The great thing about Rapport is that it produces a report which demonstrates the success of each campaign. It details the number of appointments booked and the estimated revenue.” This makes it easy to identify his return on investment.

The instant nature of text messaging means that Ben’s clients start responding right away. He jokes about the immediacy of the response to his campaigns:  “My staff grimace when they know I have sent out another 2,000 text messages because they know the phone is going to start ringing pretty quickly and keep ringing!”

Ben’s understanding of the effectiveness of instant messaging puts him in excellent company. Some of the world’s top brands invest heavily in text messaging to communicate with customers, as more than 90 percent of SMS messages are read within three minutes of receipt.

In fact, it’s reported that 70% of Coca-Cola’s mobile budget is dedicated to SMS marketing. And although text messaging has built its reputation on sending short and sharp confirmations and announcements, smart businesses are increasingly using SMS marketing through software solutions like Rapport to boost their conversion rates, build customer loyalty and develop long-term customer relationships.

Regular contact keeps client database up-to-date

Ben identifies another positive benefit of putting Rapport’s full toolkit to use: the regular contact helps keep his customer database up-to-date, which is always an ongoing challenge for customer-driven businesses like busy veterinary practices.

He adds that the automation of his reminder and recall process has saved him significant amounts of time, as well as the associated labour cost. Client communication is an activity which he prefers to handle personally, given its contribution to his business success. “It has saved me a huge amount of time,” he says, “probably hours per day.”

Client feedback to Rapport’s reminders and recalls has also been positive. “The phone always runs hot when I send campaigns,” says Ben. “I dispatch them around 10.30am and clients start replying in their lunch break. Some are delighted to receive a reminder, because they’ve completely forgotten, and some didn’t realise they had an appointment coming up.

“There’s plenty of positive feedback all the time; testament to this is the fact that they’re making appointments.”

With the help of our account specialist, Ben has recently started including a link in text messages which allows clients to simply click and be taken online to complete a booking. This has meant an increase in online appointments and fewer phone calls, which in turn has freed up his frontline staff to provide more valuable client-facing service.

“We have gone from two to three online bookings a week to that same number each day,” he says.

His advice to any veterinary practice considering Rapport is borne out of personal experience. “Rapport has been really amazing. My advice is to get it if you don’t have it and stick with it if you do. The results it delivers are powerful. I urge other veterinarians to stick with it and invest the time.”