Late Arrival Policy for Clients: How to Deal with Tardy Pet Owners at Your Veterinary Practice<!-- --> | Chckup

Table of Contents

No-Show and Late Client Policies for Veterinarians: Best Practices and Tips

Dealing with Habitual Offenders

Preventing No-Shows and Late Clients

Use Automated Appointment Reminders

Have Every New Client Review and Sign a Late Policy

Decrease No-Shows with Chckup

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Late Arrival Policy for Clients: How to Deal with Tardy Pet Owners at Your Veterinary Practice

Elliott Greenwood

May 19, 2023 · 3 min read


Late Arrival Policy for Clients: How to Deal with Tardy Pet Owners at Your Veterinary Practice

Late clients can impact practice efficiency and throw off your schedule. Learn how a late arrival policy for clients can help your practice stay on track.

Does your veterinary practice have a late arrival policy for clients? 

Every practice has those clients who are always late for their appointments or sometimes even don’t show up at all. 

It’s a problem that costs your practice time and money and often cuts into appointment times of the clients who aren’t late.

Below, we discuss how veterinarians can tackle tardiness head-on and how to prevent late clients and no-shows.

No-Show and Late Client Policies for Veterinarians: Best Practices and Tips

Developing a late arrival policy for clients at your veterinary practice can be challenging if you don’t know where to start. Below are three ideas for late policies that are fairly common in the veterinary industry:

  • Late Charge Policies:

    • One of the most effective ways to prevent clients from showing up late to their scheduled appointments is with a fee-based policy. 

    • When clients come in after a 15-minute grace period or cancel less than 24 hours before their appointment, you charge them a late fee.

  • Fee Removal Policies:

    • Another option is charging clients an initial scheduling fee, which you remove from their final balance if they are on time for their appointment.

    • You can also charge every no-show client a fee, then retract it if they reschedule and arrive on time.  

  • Client Reward Policies:

    • Another option is to reward clients who show up at their scheduled appointment time with loyalty points, a gift card drawing, discounts, or other incentives.

Dealing with Habitual Offenders

Most veterinary practices have a few clients who are habitual offenders and are either chronically late or don’t show up without canceling or rescheduling their appointment. 

You may want to implement a different late arrival policy for clients who are frequently late.

For example, will you ask them to show up ten minutes early? Or will you have a zero-tolerance policy that requires them to find another provider after three late appointments or a no-show? 

You may even want to tell those clients who are consistently late that their appointment time is 30 minutes before the actual time in your calendar.

In addition, you should avoid immediate rescheduling for no-show clients. If they believe they can get another appointment within a week, they’re more likely to cancel last minute or not show up at all. 

Instead, reschedule their appointments for four or six weeks in the future.

Regardless of what method you choose, determining your policies ahead of time can help you reduce stress and provide excellent customer service to every type of client, even if they’re chronically late.

Preventing No-Shows and Late Clients

Although your veterinary practice should consistently enforce its late arrival policy, you can take certain steps to help prevent this issue from occurring in the first place.

Use Automated Appointment Reminders

You can reduce the number of late or no-show clients and increase veterinary production with Chckup. Our advanced software tools, like Online Scheduling and Appointment Reminders, make it easy to confirm or reschedule clients when necessary. 

For example, our software updates each client’s appointment status in real-time and sends automated reminders via text or email, reducing the time your staff has to spend making phone call confirmations. This means your staff has more time to care for and attend to pets.

Have Every New Client Review and Sign a Late Policy

Pet owners may try to claim ignorance regarding your late policy after being late or not showing up at all. 

To prevent this, have every new client review and sign your late arrival policy. You can make this process fast and easy by using Digital Forms.

With our client portal, your clients can access their paperwork and forms either online or through the app anytime they want. Furthermore, you should implement a “refresher” every six months by having current clients review and consent to your late arrival policy.

Decrease No-Shows with Chckup

Developing a fair and effective late arrival policy for clients can be challenging, but it’s critical for protecting your veterinary practice from this common issue. 

Of course, some clients will have legitimate reasons to cancel their pet’s vet appointments at the last minute, and sometimes you’ll have to make exceptions. 

However, with the various solutions available at Chckup, you can manage late arrivals and boost practice efficiency. 

To learn more, schedule a demo of our product.

Are you a veterinary professional?

If you're in the veterinary field and you're interested in giving your practice the extra hands it desperately needs, book an 8 minute demo with Chckup. Our platform helps busy practices handle call overload, boost revenue per client, and increase client satisfaction by providing actionable insights and easy-to-use technology to help you stay on top of everything.

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