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Key Performance Indicator: Recapturing Lapsing and Lapsed Clients

John Jeffreys, RVT, CVPM, Coastal Animal Hospital, Encinitas, California

October 2018

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A lapsing client is one who has not been to the practice in the last 14 to 18 months. A lapsed client is one who has not been to the practice in the last 18-plus months.1


The client of today is different from the client of 5 years ago; unfortunately, these changes have contributed to a high number of lapsed clients.2 According to a 2015 AAHA review, practice databases indicated the number of lapsed canine patients was 51.1% and lapsed feline patients was 58.6%.3 Practices must target this group of clients specifically.

Practices using a lapsing client reactivation program generate an average of 128 patient visits within the first 180 days.3 If a practice has an average client transaction of $200, retaining lapsing clients can add an additional $50 000 or more in annual practice revenue. By focusing efforts on lapsing clients, the number of clients who would be considered truly lapsed will directly decrease.

Reactivating Lapsing Clients Has Benefits

  • Communicating with clients proactively promotes better patient care and medical practice.
  • Reactivating existing, but lapsing, clients is a better return on investment than seeking out new clients.4
  • Reactivating lapsing clients encourages better practice‒client communication, especially when different methods are explored (eg, postcards, phone calls, emails, texts).
  • Using the current practice management system regularly helps the practice evaluate the effectiveness of reactivation efforts.


Practice management systems are often sophisticated enough to generate reports of clients who are active in the system but have not had a transaction in a set period of time (eg, 15 months). The system can also send these clients a reactivation email or phone call. The report can be altered the following month (eg, 16 months) to monitor the effectiveness of these reactivation efforts.


Use the practice management system to generate daily or weekly reports to manage client reactivations. Lapsing clients should be evaluated and addressed monthly at the minimum. 

A certified veterinary practice manager can help a practice understand KPIs and so much more.  Visit the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association at for information, resources, and certification.


For global readers, a calculator to convert laboratory values, dosages, and other measurements to SI units can be found here.

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