Live from CVC Central: Answering emergency calls is essential to your bottom line

It pays to staff your phone until midnight.
Aug 25, 2008
By staff

This type of voicemail message is common: "Thank you for calling ABC Animal Clinic. Our office is closed. If your pet is experiencing a medical emergency, please contact Anytime Emergency Clinic."

Even though it's common, it's a mistake, says Dr. Jeff Werber, chief of staff at Century Veterinary Group. He told a room full of veterinarians and practice managers attending CVC Central in Kansas City, Mo., that every practice should have a team member answering its phones at least until midnight every day.

"About 90 percent of veterinary emergencies happen before midnight," Dr. Werber said. "And about 90 percent of emergency calls aren't really emergencies."

So if a team member or doctor answers your clinic phone after hours, it's likely they'll be able to save the client a trip to the emergency room. Clients with perceived emergencies can schedule an appointment at your clinic for the next day, saving them the cost of emergency treatment and giving you the chance to treat their pet. The revenue you earn will offset the cost of staffing your phone line a few extra hours every day.