In the last 20 years, because of technology innovation and growth, business models have had to do a 180. Historically, businesses set the standard of consumer behavior and experience. Customers had to call in for appointments and wait until daytime business hours to make a trip to the store. Now because of modern technology, consumers have more control over how a business is run.
The medical field is not left out. In a day where you simply hit a button to reorder laundry soap on Amazon, people are demanding the same for doctors, psychologists and even veterinarians. They don’t want to sit on hold and they expect services tailored to them, because the competitor down the street has just as good reviews online. Honestly, if you’re not giving clients what they expect or what they want, they can and will easily leave.
What does this mean for veterinarians? It means it’s time to stop listening to what YOU want to do and start listening to your clients. Start by having the conversations with clients while they’re in for a visit. If you had an app, would they use it? If you allowed them to request appointments and refills with a click of a button, would they like that? Are they interested in having their pets’ medical records on their phone 24/7 in case of an emergency?
The veterinary industry is changing, and so are the ways you need to do business. You should be making decisions for your clients and in return your business will benefit. How do you do that, you ask?
1. Is your current way of communicating with your clients is working?
Ask yourself these questions: Do you have a pet portal? Are your clients actually logging in to use them? Are your reminders solely based on postcards? What is the ROI? Do you even know?
There will always be an older generation of clients who prefer snail mail, and that’s completely fine. But when speaking with your clients, would they be more willing to respond to an email or a text? Or even a push notification if they had your app?
Are you asking clients if they want to book ahead? As we touched on recently with forward booking, your clients will be more open to forward booking than you thought.
2. Give your clients value.
This may sound a little crazy, but people like to “see” what they’re spending their money on. Sure annual wellness exams may be needed to help diagnose any unlaying health issues, but find a way to show the value in annual exams, dental procedures, x-rays, etc. Some examples would be:
- Provide access to their full medical records including lab results.
- Give them access to view their x-ray anytime on their phone
3. Get them involved.
Do as many procedures in front of your clients as you can (so as long as they’d like to be involved). Gone are the days of disappearing the “back room” for exams. Let your clients see how you take their pet’s blood pressure, draw blood and be a part of the annual wellness experience! This will give them more confidence in your work and help educate them on the importance of it. It may even increase the likelihood that they'll return for more!
No one said change was easy, however, technology is not going away and clients' voices have never been louder. Benjamin Franklin once said “when you’re finished changing, you’re finished”. The veterinary industry is changing whether you like it or not, so it’s time to embrace, adopt and evolve with it, otherwise, well, you’re finished.