Do you provide personalized veterinary service? If not, you are missing out on a big opportunity to grow your veterinary hospital’s business by attracting new clients and keeping existing ones coming to you for years to come.
As a veterinarian, you know how easy it is to get caught up in the tiny details of your practice; from treating animals to the various administrative tasks of running a business. But this tunnel vision can cause you to lose focus on a very important part of any veterinary hospital–the client experience.
Are Your Clients Just Another Number, Or A Valued Part Of Your Veterinary Family?
It’s easy to slip into an assembly line approach to the client experience. The client makes their appointments, gets in, gets out, and if necessary, follows up with another appointment. It can be a very unmemorable experience.
So what does personalized veterinary care look like? The following are a few ideas to make your hospital stand out above everyone else.
1. Call the client with test results. Many veterinarians have a tech or a member of the front office call clients. But if the veterinarian calls, the client is getting further one-on-one time with the person directly responsible for the health of their pet. This allows the client to ask questions directly to the veterinarian without having to leave messages and wait for return phone calls.
2. Use a welcome sign. Welcome each client with a sign in the waiting room (a chalkboard works best for this). For privacy, use the name of the pet, not the name of their human companions. However, use discretion when necessary. Clients who are bringing their pet to be put to sleep might not want the extra attention.
3. Have an animal’s favorite treat ready. A simple treat can go a long way in making an animal comfortable in what is usually a stressful environment. The client will be impressed you’ve made the effort to make their furry friend so happy.
4. Develop a concierge program. This takes personalized veterinary care to an entirely new level. This works by charging clients a membership fee that shoots the to the top of the priority list. Included in that fee is 24-hour access to a veterinarian, priority appointment booking (reserve the best time slots, like evenings and weekends, for members) and an annual check-up with vaccinations at no extra cost. To provide this level of care, the program must be limited to only a handful of clients so the veterinary staff can give them the attention they’re paying for and expecting.
5. Do–and promote–housecalls. It doesn’t get much more personalized than visiting a client at their home. Like the concierge service, this would require clients to pay extra for the service, and the number of clients would need to be limited. The benefit is that pets are much more relaxed in their home than they are at the clinic. Housecalls can be a standalone service or included in a concierge program.
6. Call clients and pets by name. People like to be recognized. Encourage and reward staff to learn regular clients’ and their fur babies by name. Training staff members to look at clients when they talk and use their names during conversations and transactions (“Here’s Sophie’s medication, Mr. Monroe.”) will help them remember names more easily. And as an added benefit, psychologists say that people listen more carefully to what you’re saying when you use their name. Here are five tricks to help you remember names.
Personalized Veterinary Service – It’s The Little Things That Count
Offering personalized veterinary service to your clients doesn’t have to mean huge, dramatic changes to how you do business. Even the small stuff, like a call from the veterinarian to give a client test results, can make a big difference in the client experience. Sending a sympathy card after a client’s pet has passed away is another way to connect on a more personal level.
Going beyond the basics of a veterinary hospital will help to grow your business by bringing in new clients via word of mouth, keeping existing clients and earning a stellar reputation in your community.