1-2-3 Pickup

April 2024 |

How to maximize the success of curbside pickup at your practice.

Imagine you’re a mother with a young child asleep in the car seat, and you need a medication refill for your dog. It takes 10 minutes to wrestle your child out of the car seat and into the lobby, another 10 to wait in line and pay at the counter, and 10 more to get back to your car and secure your child again for travel.

As a veterinary practice, offering curbside pickup could save that mother—and all your clients—a lot of time and struggle. “She will appreciate the convenience of replying to a refill text, paying through an app and having a smiling employee meet her curbside,” says Wendy S. Myers, CVJ, president of Communication Solutions for Veterinarians. “Offer that, and you just turned a 30-minute hassle into a five-minute breeze.”

Curbside pickup also appeals to clients with limited mobility and clients who are very busy. “I’m a raving fan of curbside pickup,” says Myers. “People love it.”

Myers suggests three steps to make curbside pickup a success.

1. Designate a parking spot for product pickup. Choose a spot next to your handicapped parking, which will be the closest to your front door. “Minimize the number of steps your employees have to take to run in and out,” says Myers. This parking spot will have the highest turnover, with clients parking for only five to 10 minutes.

Tip: Post a sign that reads “Park here for medication and food pickup. Text (555) 555-5555 when you arrive.”

2. Send payment requests to clients via an app or an online link. Send your clients advance reminders to let them know when they need refills, suggests Myers (see box). If they request refills, have technicians prepare medications and text clients when the items are ready for pickup. Ask the clients if they want to pay through the app or use their credit card on file. “If you have integrated payment processing with a company such as Covetrus, you can securely store credit card numbers in your software and then email receipts to the clients,” says Myers. “It’s so easy.”

Tip: Use this template for your text/app message to the client, Myers suggests: “We have refilled <brand> for <pet name>’s heartworm prevention. You will receive a $XX rebate for purchasing XX doses. Reply if you want us to use the credit card on file of <Visa ending in 1234>, or click here to pay through the app. Park in our curbside pickup spot and text us when you arrive.”

3. Have clients text or app message you on arrival. Once clients arrive and message you, reply to let them know that a greeter will be out to their cars shortly. Myers suggests using this template: “Welcome to <hospital name> curbside pickup for medications and food. Thank you for your advance payment. Our greeter will deliver <brand> to you at your car and answer any questions.”

Have the greeter ask clients if they have questions about medications. “We can do it all curbside,” says Myers. “They’ve already paid, so we don’t have to deal with the hassle of checkout. People can just pull in, get what they came for, and go home in five minutes.” 

Tip: For an extra wow factor, suggests Myers, deliver the medication curbside along with a treat for the pet.

Advance Reminders

Send refill reminders 30 days ahead. “Besides allowing time for curbside pickup or home delivery, this removes the aggravating habit of pet owners who wait until the last pills are gone and call you for ‘emergency’ refills the same day,” says Myers.

Text/App This: <Pet name> needs a refill of <brand> for heartworm protection. Click here to refill in our online store with home delivery OR reply Y to get curbside/in-clinic pick up at our hospital. <Brand> has a $XX rebate for XX doses.