Text Messaging for Veterinary Practices

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Introduction

The ultimate goal of any veterinary practice is to build a business recognized by pet owners as the place to go for superior care and expertise. 

With 90,200 professionally active veterinarians in the United States, there’s more competition than ever before in local communities.

So, beyond providing excellent care for pets, practices need to provide excellent customer service for owners. With SimpleTexting, you can:

  • Message 1-on-1 with pet owners
  • Introduce curbside check-in
  • Send follow-ups and review requests
  • Send automated appointment reminders
  • Answer prescription refill requests
  • Provide an emergency text hotline

It’s why many veterinary practices invest in text messaging. In the words of our customer Dr. Keith Hnilica, owner of The Itch Clinic, it’s a common-sense approach to improving your pet owner’s experience with your clinic.

Using our vast experience working with veterinary owners and practice managers, we put together this guide on veterinary practice text messaging. In it we cover the following:

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How Veterinary Clinics Use Text Messaging (With Example Texts)

In the following section, we’re going to cover some of the ways veterinary clinics use text messaging to communicate with pet owners. We’ll also provide you with example texts to better understand what it looks like in practice.

1. Send Appointment Reminders

AAHA reports a 9% industry-wide no-show rate. For roughly every 10 to 11 scheduled appointments you have per day, one won’t show. You can reduce this number drastically with text reminders.

Today 8:25 AM
Hi Elizabeth, Jane here from Pet Vet Clinic. Bella is scheduled for her ophthalmic surgery on Wednesday at 10am. No food or water for the 12 hours leading up to her appointment, please. If you need to reschedule, just respond to this text or call this number.

2. Eliminate Phone Tag

Nearly 90% of customers don’t answer phone calls anymore. That’s why veterinary hospitals use text messaging to avoid playing phone tag with clients.

Today 8:25 AM
Hi Sarah, this is Mike from Blackrock Veterinary Clinic. We just got Bruno’s test results and everything looks great. When are you available to chat next steps?
Amazing! I can do 3pm.

3. Make It Easy to Ask Questions

A lot of veterinarians use texting as a way to respond to an emergency or a postoperative complication. Outside of business hours, you can keep an eye on incoming texts using the SimpleTexting mobile app. It’s a great way to foster trust and build lasting relationships.

Today 8:25 AM
Hi Dr. Murphy, It’s Laura here. Lucky seems to be having a small amount of swelling around the incision. Should I be worried?
Hi Laura, bring her in first thing tomorrow at 8 am and I can take a look!

4. Grow the Number of Reviews You Collect

According to the Boston Consulting Group, small businesses see an average $8,000 increase in annual revenue by using review sites like Yelp. Text messages are a great way to check in on an owner’s pet’s health, request referrals or online reviews that ultimately grow your practice.

Today 8:25 AM
Hi Krysta, we hope Lucky is doing well! If you have 30 seconds, we would love it if you could leave us a review on Google. You can do it here: http://txt.st/Z22ZIC

5. Create a Contactless Check-In Experience

As a result of COVID-19, the last thing you want is a group of customers waiting in a room with their pets. Texting can help you maintain social distancing with an easy-to-manage waitlist.

Today 8:25 AM
This is Tom. I’m here with my cat Jerry for our appointment.
Thanks for letting us know. You can come on it. Don’t forget your mask!

How to Get Started With Veterinary Practice Text Messaging

Before we get any further, we should state the obvious: we’re one of the many veterinary practice text messaging services out there. 

We encourage you to do your research. Be sure to find a platform with plenty of reviews on third-party sites

You’ll also want to double-check that they offer all the features you need, have a responsive support team, and an extensive library of resources.

After you make your choice, you’ll need to follow a few steps to get started. Each platform works a little differently, but here’s how SimpleTexting works.

1. Choose a Phone Number and Add Teammates

Once you sign up for an account, the first step is to decide what number you want to use. By default, we set up every account with a toll-free number that can send and receive messages.

You can also choose to text-enable an existing toll-free or local number. You still receive calls as you normally would and texts are routed to the SimpleTexting platform. One of the benefits of this option is that your customers are likely already familiar with this number. You can read up on number types here.

The next step is to invite colleagues to the SimpleTexting platform so that you can share the workload. We don’t charge for extra additional users either, so the more, the merrier.

2. Promote Your New Number

If you want existing or potential customers to text you, you’ll need to promote your phone number and let your customers know you can receive texts. Here are some of the ways we see veterinary practices promote their text-enabled number.

3. Set Up SMS Reminders (Optional)

This step is optional. Only follow it if you want to send SMS reminders. 

Firstly, it’s worth checking if your practice management software integrates with Zapier. If it does, chances are you can automate the process by connecting it with SimpleTexting.

If you’re not familiar with Zapier and how it works, then check out this article.

Otherwise, you can create an easily editable template within SimpleTexting and then set aside twenty minutes to schedule reminders for the coming day. (We recommend sending them about 24 hours before the appointment.)

You can learn how easy it is to create a template here. 

4. Make the Most of Our Powerful SMS Inbox

Our powerful SMS chat inbox allows you to assign conversations to colleagues, keep your inbox organized, and ensure nothing falls through the cracks. 

You can also create an away message that sends 24/7 or just outside of your clinic’s hours. Use it to let customers know when they can expect to hear back from you, or give them another means to get in touch with you. Learn more about setting up an away message here.

Does Texting for Veterinary Practices Work?

You’ve gotten this far and you’re excited by the idea of texting your clients. However, you’ve got one last major question: does your practice really need texting?

Simply put, it’s the most effective way to communicate with pet owners. Study after study shows that people open and act upon text messages at rates far superior to other communication channels. 

Consider what the following would do for your practice and client communication:

  • Response rates 7.5x higher than email thanks to 98% open rates
  • Catering to the 70% of people that would rather text with your business about appointments and scheduling 

These texting statistics translate into fewer missed appointments, more efficient front desk staff who aren’t wasting time leaving voicemails, and happier customers who appreciate the convenience of texts.

Are You Ready to Get Started?

If you’re ready to give text marketing a try, we encourage you to sign up for a free 14-day trial account. You’ll get 50 messages to test out sending texts with our platform. And yes, it’s free. No credit card, no contract, just free.

When you’re ready to upgrade to a paid account, just change your billing plan from the dashboard. Simple!

 

Send your first message in minutes. Try SimpleTexting free for 14 days. No credit card required.

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