Strategy for sending reminders

Estimated reading: 5 minutes

Predetermine and follow a strategy for generating and sending reminders to protect your client base, enhance client loyalty, improve preventative care and increase revenue.

Reminder system elements

Letter and callback type reminders are added to and updated for a patient automatically through the invoicing process or can be added/updated manually, based on the setup of your reminding invoice items.

The client classification and patient owner settings for Send Reminders is another factor when generating reminders. By classifying clients and flagging owners, you can narrow the focus of your reminders. Some common strategies include:

  • Using classifications effectively:
    • Example: Use a classification of Seasonal-W and assign it to your winter clients.
      • Check the Send Reminders check box for that classification during the winter months to ensure they get reminders that are due during that time.
      • Uncheck Send Reminders during summer months when you do not want that client to be sent reminders.
  • Using flagged owners to narrow your reminder list:
    • Flagged owners are those clients who have both the Send Reminders check box selected in their classification AND the Patient Owner Information window.
    • Flagged Owners may be your best clients who receive more frequent reminders.

Pairing reminder messages with the reminder interval is also recommended. Example: first reminder message with initial reminder sent and overdue reminder messaging with final reminder sent.

Setting up a reminder system

Determine how many times you will remind a client of due services, and when you will send the reminder in relation to the due date.
Example: Remind 3 times, every 4 weeks starting at 4 weeks before due date and continuing until 8 weeks after due date. 

You should also take into account your typical appointment availability, how far out you are booking wellness visits and adjust your reminder strategy accordingly.
Example: if you are booking a month out, consider starting first reminders at eight weeks prior so responders can schedule an appointment before their pet is overdue.

The following example is of a four-tiered reminder system generating reminders twice each month at the beginning and middle of the month, reminding for due services four times.

Note: You will see several dates of reminders to give you the full effect. For this example, follow the reminders that were due between 2/1 and 2/29. 

Calculate your return on reminders

You can calculate the financial return you’ve gained by using reminders. The compliance rate (satisfied reminders) shows the effectiveness of your reminder system. Use the following method to calculate your response rate of satisfied reminders. When you generate your reminders, make a note of the number generated so you can accurately calculate the return. 

Tips for effectively using reminders

  • Run the Invoice Item Reminder Information Report to verify your reminders are set up in the system correctly and interchangeable items satisfy each other.
  • Decide on a strategy that works realistically for your practice.
  • Track the response rate by keeping track of the number of cards generated for each group every time they are generated.
    • Do not generate two-time frame groups together, such as 5/1 – 5/31 and 2/1 – 2/29.
    • Use a calendar and colored highlighters to track the number of times you have mailed that group of reminders.
    • Circle the date that the first round was generated and continue to circle that date with a different color as each consecutive round is generated.
  • Use multiple methods that align with your clientele’s communication preferences: Postcards, letters, emails, calls.
    • Mailed postcards can boost impact with technologically heavy communications.
    • To avoid crowded scheduling, send smaller batches of reminders weekly or twice a month, adjusting 1st, 2nd, and 3rd reminders accordingly.
  • Avoid these common problems with reminder systems:
    • Not having a strategy.
    • Patients in the system with no reminders, all overdue reminders or missing reminders.
    • Low reminder response rate.
    • Pets in the system with a “lifetime” of reminders that are either no longer living, no longer with the same owner, or have moved away from your area.
  • Be attentive to overdue reminders.
    • Choose a certain time period, such as monthly or yearly, and pull out the clients that haven’t visited within a specific time period.
    • Send these clients a letter to let them know that you are concerned for their pet and that you would like an update of their pet for your files. Talk to one client at a time.
    • As clients come into your practice, do any of these:
      • Check the reminders on all of their pets using the client’s reminder tab of the Patient Clipboard. If any reminders are overdue, ask them for an update of that pet.
      • Use the Check-In Report for each patient coming into your practice to look for any overdue reminders. The Check in report can be set to print due reminders for a designated timeframe of 1-12 months or all.

Related reports

These Cornerstone reports provide information from the actions outlined in this article. Each report has its own security access under the Reports tab of the Security Setup window. 

  • Reminder Report 
  • Reminder Letter report 
  • Invoice Item reminder Information report 
  • Service item setup and maintenance 
  • Inventory item setup and maintenance 
  • Performance Tracker reminder reports 
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