The not-so-subtle Christmas music and advertising is a clear reminder that we are drawing nearer to the holiday season. It used to be that you wouldn’t see this kind of advertising until after Thanksgiving, but nowadays as soon as Halloween is over there is a palpable change in the background of our daily lives. How many more years before it’s Labor Day?
At this time of year I think it’s important to take an afternoon with your practice manager and talk about the things you are thankful for. Start with your best clients—compile a list of the top 10 clients by number of visits, money spent, and referrals. I think it’s worth looking at all three of these numbers, as they tell you different things. There may be someone toward the top of the “money spent” list that is there primarily because of one huge bill. There may be people who visit frequently but don’t spend much money all tolled. Your biggest referrers should get even more attention, because these folks LOVE you and are your biggest advocates. Treat them that way. Offer them a “behind the scenes” tour…and I don’t mean a tour of the kennel. Offer for them to hang out with you for an hour or two during your surgery day. Put their pet’s picture on your website for a week. Ask your staff members what other ideas they may have to really make these people feel special. Tip #1: These clients are almost certainly not money motivated, so don’t “cop out” and just throw them a discount. Find out what they like and meet them where they are.
In previous posts I’ve discussed net promoter score and the idea that client loyalty is huge…especially in an environment of increasing competition and “excess capacity”, to be more specific. You should be doing everything you can to keep these vital clients happy: loyal clients visit you more often, generate more profit, follow your recommendations more closely, and send more clients to you. Identifying who these people are is well worth your time. Tip #2: the clients who like talking about you the most are NOT always the people who spend the most money with you. Some people are just “connectors”, as Malcolm Gladwell called them in “The Tipping Point”. http://amzn.to/1jjDMGs They are passionate about certain things and enjoy talking, posting online, blogging, and otherwise spreading the word. Find out who these people are and engage with them. You’ll be glad you did.