Last weekend as my family prepared for hurricane Irma, we opened our doors to a couple we hardly knew. They were a family who lived on the coast, and like so many other pet parents, they were looking for a place to go with their four cats.
Things have changed. The internet makes finding and retaining clients a challenge due to websites like Yelp, Facebook reviews and simple things like lack of a veterinary practice website. Throw in smartphone capabilities and you have consumers pulling you in every direction. Businesses have evolved with mobile apps and click-to-book functionality. Even in-store experiences are influenced if you have a smartphone. All of this changes what a practice needs in order to evolve and stay in business. Are you feeling confused or lost about it all? Here’s a guide to help you sort through the chaos.
Carey is a practice manager in Orlando, Florida who believes in being transparent with clients. This year, her practice has decided to include clients in the more behind-the-scenes of routine tests and examinations. Her practice believes its clients should have access to medical records any day, any time in case of an emergency or for any other reason, like traveling with a pet.
“Providing our clients access to their medical records allows them to share their pet’s full medical history in case they may need it and we’re not open,” says Carey.
I recently returned from a week in the mountains of Colorado at a “dude ranch” called Lost Valley. Actually the preferred term for places like this is “guest ranch” and my family has been going there for years. It’s in the middle of the Pike National Forest about 90 minutes SW of Denver and there’s pretty much no cellular service and extremely limited internet. It’s a great place to go and unwind and spend time with family. One of the things that is really special about Lost Valley is their horseback riding program. They have a remuda of almost 150 horses and provide guided horseback rides for a variety of skill levels. Whether it’s your first time riding a horse or you are an advanced rider, guests receive personalized attention and instruction from qualified wranglers.
Have you had the experience of booking a reservation for lunch or dinner through a website or mobile app? When done properly, it’s a quick and easy process that you can do in a minute or less. You simply look for the time you want, enter how many are in your party, enter your name and contact information and you’re done. Now imagine booking an appointment at a veterinary practice just as easily. A pet parent pulls out their app (at any time of the day, even when the practice is closed), selects their doctor, selects the date and time that is available and just like that, an appointment is created. That’s it, that’s all they have to do aside from showing up. People want convenience and if your practice isn’t offering it, chances are your clients will be looking somewhere else for veterinary care.