Nowadays, most people prefer to be contacted on their cell phones and avoid actually speaking on the phone whenever they can. When contacting a business to inquire about services or appointments, 89% of consumers say they would prefer texting to calling1. Veterinary practices miss a significant opportunity to serve most clients because they aren't communicating in a preferred way with the vast majority of clients. As a result, the clinic loses the chance to bring in revenue. So, how can we better reach clients and have it benefit the practice? With digital reminders!
One of my favorite books on marketing and branding is Seth Godin’s Purple Cow. The book is about creating marketing stories that show the public how you are “remarkable” i.e. the purple cow in a field of brown cows. Not only do you show you are different, but you also reach only the people interested in purchasing purple cows.
We did a survey of veterinarians and practice managers that attended two large veterinary conferences earlier this year. The questions had to do with telephone and texting capabilities for their practices. We then compared them to actual consumer preferences (i.e. what their clients want) and found some pretty big surprises.
How many of your clients come in daily to purchase refills, preventatives, food and other pet supplies? Chances are it is a good number...but it's declining. Competition from online providers, like Chewy and Amazon.com, has never been tougher. Some of these companies are so well-funded that they are willing to LOSE money in order to get your clients' online pharmacy business because they know that, once they get them away from you, they'll never buy medications/food from you again. We've even seen some online providers with retail prices that are less than the average veterinary practice pays wholesale!
Despite this trend, and while convenience and low price are important to the modern consumer (Are you really any different?), a significant number of clients would still prefer to buy these items directly from you. Why? Because they trust you.