As technology continues to change virtually everything consumers do, it’s not surprising that a small but growing number of companies are offering online veterinary consults directly to pet owners. Their business models vary and some are an outgrowth of what’s happening in human medicine. where the desire to minimize costs leads to a strong preference to keep people OUT of the doctor’s office. For example, the average ER visit for a diabetic human costs about $15,000, so it’s not surprising that doctors and insurance companies are looking for ways to minimize these expensive, frequently avoidable visits.
For this week's post, I’ll borrow liberally from one of my favorite movies and discuss the good, the bad, and the ugly of online reviews. While the most popular places for reviews may change over the years, the underlying concept of consumers telling other consumers about their experience is not going to go away. Here are some things that you should be thinking about, focused specifically on veterinary medicine.
It wasn’t that long ago that differentiation for a veterinary practice meant how your Yellow Pages ad looked compared to those of the other veterinary hospitals in town. Or maybe that you did an annual Open House to promote interest in the local community. Today, our society has become so connected through sites like Angie’s List, Facebook, Yelp! and Pinterest that traditional means of promoting your practice, like print advertising, aren’t as effective as they once were.