Published on July 06, 2020
Veterinary services should be provided with the same level of professionalism, whether they are delivered in person or virtually.
Here are three tips on how to effectively prepare clients for a telemedicine appointment.
Tip No. 1: Propose the service
For some people, it may seem like a burden because of the technology. Use language that clearly conveys the advantages of a virtual consultation:
- “We can set up a virtual appointment. This will save you time and avoid making your pet anxious.”
- “We are committed to helping you keep your pet healthy during this period of physical distancing. That’s why we now offer virtual consultations. Our team can help you with many issues and follow-up visits while you stay in the comfort of your own home.”
Tip No. 2: Prepare clients appropriately as soon as you set up the appointment.
If a client is planning a teleconsultation for the first time, make sure that this first experience is positive.
After you explain how the virtual consultation will work, send the client an email with a detailed list of things to do before the appointment, for example:
- Use the following link to download the application. Follow the attached instructions to connect (ideally “X” minutes before the scheduled time).
- Take photos (wounds, skin lesions, stool, urine, etc.) or videos (tremors, gait, etc.) of your pet’s medical problem and email them to the clinic so the veterinarian can analyze them.
- Make a list of your questions and concerns.
- Prepare a place on a counter or table where you can handle your pet.
Remember to inform your client of your fee for virtual consultations.
The client will also need to know the following:
- The expected duration of the consultation and how to obtain the prescription, if there is one. “The appointment will last about X minutes. If your pet needs a prescription, it can be sent to you or prepared for pick-up.”
- “If your pet needs further care, we’ll set up an in-clinic visit with a veterinarian.”
Tip No. 3: Manage client expectations.
Make sure they know that just because you are providing telemedicine doesn’t mean your practice is open all the time. Remind them your business hours. If you do plan to be available online 24/7, but intend to charge extra for late-night services, be clear about your policy from the start: your clients will appreciate your transparency and will respect your limits, as long as you communicate them clearly.
Telemedicine certainly has advantages for veterinarians — but also for the clients. Once pet owners realize the possibilities of telemedicine, they will become your best ambassadors. They will recommend your services, and your practice may well acquire new clients!