At Vet2Pet, we know you are busier than ever right now. I frequently talk with veterinarians who are battling with the increased demands and inefficient processes that have become side effects of curbside care. We had planned to release an in-app chat feature toward the end of 2020, but we fast-tracked its development when curbside care became the new normal. Fortunately, in addition to hearing from overworked colleagues, I am also starting to hear from veterinarians who are benefiting from Vet2Pet’s 2-Way Chat feature, and I am thankful that our new addition is helping relieve stress during this chaotic time.
2-Way Chat allows you to communicate with clients directly through your hospital’s customized app—the same place your clients can request appointments, order medication refills, view patient reminders, get loyalty stamps, and post pet selfies. Using a platform that bundles everything your clients need into one app not only makes their lives easier, but can also help you find more time in the day—I’d call that a win-win. Check out these six ways you can use 2-Way Chat to relieve daily stress.
#1: Perform patient triage via chat
With Vet2Pet’s chat feature, clients can send you a message, instead of calling on the phone, to discuss concerns about their pet. If Hermione has been up all night vomiting, or Hagrid was stung by a bee, your team can chat with their worried owners, and help them decide whether the pet’s condition warrants an in-person exam, a telemedicine appointment, or monitoring at home. And, with 2-Way Chat, clients can send a photo or video of their pet’s problems. We know you’ll miss your chance to demonstrate a reverse sneeze in person, but a video will better help you pinpoint the problem, and decide if a visit is necessary.
#2: Run a more efficient appointment schedule
It’s easy to get behind in appointments, especially while practicing curbside care. Although veterinary teams strive to be on time for each appointment, the challenges of vet med often make that goal impossible. With 2-Way Chat, if the doctor is running 15 minutes behind, it’s simple to send a chat to let the client know, which helps to reset the expectation. The client will be less perturbed because you let them know ahead of time, and the doctor will be relieved because you have taken quite a bit of pressure off them. Let’s face it, no one likes an upset client, and this is an easy way to control this situation.
#3: Help clients schedule appointments
When a client needs to schedule an appointment, they can simply open the app, and request a visit with your hospital. If your team needs more information from Harry’s owner before making his appointment—maybe you want to know whether his food has changed before scheduling an appointment for diarrhea—your team member can simply reach out through the chat feature to fill in any gaps. If your team needs to remind Harry’s owner to bring a stool sample, they can shoot her a chat the day before his appointment, and remind her to collect the sample during his morning walk.
#4: Communicate with clients when they arrive
As curbside care continues indefinitely, hospitals are bogged down with an overwhelming number of phone calls. Between clients calling to let you know they have arrived, to your team’s calls regarding history questions, test results, treatment recommendations, and payment methods, each visit can become entirely too long. With 2-Way Chat, clients can simply send a message to let you know they have arrived. Your team can type a reply in seconds, and they won’t get sucked into a phone conversation about every detail of Draco’s eating habits for the past month.
#5: Communicate with clients about exam findings and test results
We don’t have to tell you that trying to explain a pet’s medical condition over the phone is one of curbside care’s biggest challenges. It’s difficult to adequately explain Ginny’s heart enlargement, or the foreign body lodged in Ron’s small intestine, without looking over the X-rays with your client. With 2-Way Chat, you can easily send photos or a video to clients waiting in their car, or at home. Loom is a helpful tool that can record your explanation while showing X-rays or lab results, so your clients can listen as often as they wish, later at home, or with other family members, to make treatment decisions.
#6: Collect contact-free payment
With Vet2Pet’s soon-to-be-released Virtual Payment feature, when Dumbledore is ready to be discharged, you can send his owner a payment request via chat, and answer any questions about the invoice. Payment is collected electronically through the app, with no cash exchange, or credit card swiping. If Dumbledore’s owner is close to earning her next loyalty stamp, you can suggest an additional box of parasite prevention, a bag of dog food, or a donation to a local struggling business, to help her earn her reward more quickly.
Dr. Stacee Santi, CEO/Founder Vet2Pet
Dr. Stacee Santi is a 1996 DVM graduate from Colorado State University and the founder of Vet2Pet, a technology startup that builds personalized custom apps for veterinary practices. With over 20 years of clinical experience in small animal and emergency practice, Stacee brings an “in the trenches” approach to innovation and solutions for veterinary teams. She has also served as a medical advisory consultant for NVA for 5 years, medical director for a general/ER practice in Colorado as well as current President of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.