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TOOLS & TECHNOLOGY · July 16th, 2018

5 Ways to Boost Bookings Online

by Cindy Hoffman

MARKETING MANAGER

Hospitals who use the Online Booking Tool (OBT) are praising its benefits. Not only does OBT save time, it increases after-hours bookings and helps attract new clients. “Our hospital sees an average of 500 patients a week, and 20% of those appointments are booked through OBT,” says Junior Chan of St. Francis of Assisi Veterinary Medical Center. “19% are new client acquisitions.”

But succeeding with OBT requires more than implementing the software. You also need to build awareness for the tool and make it available everywhere your clients prefer to book.

Here are five ways you can maximize OBT’s potential:

1. Create a clear call-to-action on your website. Compel your site’s visitors to schedule an appointment directly online with a prominently-placed button or link. The link should live at or near the top of your website and stand-out, so it’s easy to find. Note: If your site is hosted on NVA’s platform, you are fully optimized.

Homepage of St. Francis of Assisi where a big red button invites visitors to “Schedule An Appointment” online.

2. Promote OBT in all voice recordings. Clients who call to schedule appointments may not be aware they can do it online. Advertise your ability to take online appointments in all of your voice recordings, including on-hold messages, voice prompts and voicemail greetings. Clients will appreciate the flexibility, especially when you’re unable to take their call.

3. Offer same-day appointments online. Allowing clients to book appointments within the next hour or two can help keep your calendars full and offset last-minute cancellations. 55% of clients who try to schedule appointments online are unable to find a time that works for them.

Vetstoria includes settings that allow clients to book last-minute.

4. Link to OBT in appointment reminders. Sending a reminder for an upcoming appointment? When you include a link to OBT in the text or email, the client’s information is pre-populated, making it more likely they’ll follow through and book the appointment. In fact, an average of 50% of clients will complete an online booking through a reminder.

Text and email reminders that include links for clients to book using OBT.

5. Try not to restrict your appointment calendar. When too much time is blocked out on your calendar, clients are left with fewer choices and may avoid scheduling an appointment altogether. Hospitals who have the greatest success with OBT, provide users with more options. Cheryl Chamberlain, Hospital Manager of Media Veterinary Hospital agrees. “We are getting online appointments booked like crazy with little complaint,” she says.

We recommend making 90% of your vacant time slots available to online users. If you believe you are unable to release this much time, let’s chat about additional settings. Schedule a call during a time that’s convenient for you. Here is my calendar.

Do you have tips for boosting bookings online? Please share them in the comments below!

For more information about OBT reach me at CHoffman@NVAnet.com.

Cindy Hoffman

MARKETING MANAGER

Support Center | Agoura Hills

Cindy joined NVA in 2008 and prior to that, worked as a registered veterinary technician, educator, and manager. She serves the NVA community by refining processes for implementation and training for key initiatives and helps practices incorporate them into their workflow. Feel free to contact her for best practices for the Online Booking Tool, PAW Plans, and Dentistry. She is owned by her black cat Heaven, brown/white super mutt dog BooBoo Turkey Chicken Puppy, brindle 50/50 mix German Shepherd/Staff Toby, and a bay American Saddlebred Laser. She lives in the Simi Valley Hills with her husband and daughter.

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