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An Urban Experience
C. Kolthoff1, E-MBA, IAF cert. facilitator, Groennevej 17, 8680 Ry, Denmark
A visit to The North American Veterinary Conference
gave me the opportunity to hear an interesting lecture
by Karyn Gawzer & Gary Edlin. They showed fantastic results with >80% response rates based on a system with 11 reminders before they let go of clients. Back
in Denmark and Norway I discovered that the result
are poor compared to the US. This inspired me to find out how to improve the numbers in poorly performing practices. This talk is based on a project where I have worked with optimizing the reminder system of a group of Danish and Norwegian clinics. By the time of handing in these proceedings, we are still in the process of getting more data. You can find these data
The cultural background:
Before you compare your result with clinics from other countries, I suggest that you tap into https://geert- I often do this before comparing result as there can be big cultural differences’. This is a result of a cultural comparison between Denmark, Norway and the United States:
In Denmark power distance is low and the same applies for uncertainty avoidance. I believe that if these two factors are low, you will never be able to create the same results as for instance in the US. Thus the numbers
I discover working in DK and NO will always be low compared to what you would see in the US.
Know your real numbers – they could be worse than expected
First step if you decide to improve your reminder system is to work out how well you are performing. This is not
always an easy task and in some system, you have to work out your rations manually. What I would like to know first is:
• What is the share of active clients that are set up for a reminder in the future? Cats? Dogs? Total?
• What are the response rate on your reminders? For vaccinations? For dentals? For other procedures?
As an interesting example to share from one of the clinics surveyed we found that less than 10% of the active cat clients were set up for reminders (only 50% in total) and that their response rate on dental reminders were 9%. We also found out that the quality of the reminders were very bad.
If your system is not able to provide the data, I suggest that you manually make a sample of 200 random active clients and work out the results for your own clinic. It might take a few hours, but it is worth the effort.
What statistics would we like to follow?
To keep attention to the reminders I suggest that you keep following up month after month. We found that it has been hard to improve the numbers quickly and that continuous measuring is essential. In our study we have followed up on the following:
• % clients with active reminders. We measure it as the percentage of clients that has been in the clinic in a given month and has an active reminder when they leave.
• Response rate. How big a share of the reminders end up in the client showing up. This number is interesting for vaccinations, dentals and other procedures.
• Response rate on 1st, 2nd, 3rd .... reminder.
Our reminder scheme and first findings
When we first started the project, we set up this scheme:
1. First reminder is send as text message and e-mail three weeks prior to vaccination due date
(Content will be explained later)
2. Second reminder (same as the first) is send one week prior to vaccination due date
3. Third reminder is a text message send 1-2 weeks after due date
4. Fourth reminder as a post card
5. Fifth reminder as a phone call
Phone call > text message > e-mail > post card
Data from a Norwegian clinic showed that phone calls are definitely the best way of getting clients in for all procedures. By phoning clients, they went as high as a

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