Establishing The Human Connection
Chances are, you became a vet, or part of the vet industry because you love animals, right?
No doubt you have your relationship with animals down pat.
But how about their owners?
Finding a trusted connection with pet owners is the key to any successful practice.
If this doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, we have our top 5 pointers to up your human connection game.
Top 5 ways to build pet-owner rapport
1. Social media
You are one of the lucky ones! Veterinary practices have an abundance of cute and willing social media stars to jam-pack your social schedule to the brim.
But stop right there. We don’t mean posting endless pics of puppies, kittens, bunnies and birds. (although cute puppies and kittens never go astray).
The important thing to do before you launch into social media, is to plan. Planning is vital.
A well-planned social media strategy will help you build a community around your practice. It will be another portal for you to communicate with current clients along with attracting potential new clients.
So when it comes to planning, think about what you want the focus of your vet practice to be. Your focus can also be multi-faceted.
The number of different angles you can take are endless.
Think of tidbits of important info:
- Tips for new pet ownership – worming / vaccinations / toilet training / obedience / desexing
- The importance of regular trips to the vet
- Tick warning signs
Then there are the warm and fuzzies:
- Cute pics of recent clients and their pets
- Good news stories
Some hot tips:
- Always include an image
- Try and get your staff in as many shots as possible to build rapport and trust. Because in the end, your people are why pet owners continue to return to your practice.
Always ask where your clients have heard about you, with the option of specific answers. Include tick boxes for all your social media platforms as well as the standard ‘word-of-mouth’ or ‘a friend’ responses.
2. A practice app
The minute owners drop their beloved pets to your door, they are checking their phone every 5 minutes for a call.
Imagine if you could do this all via an app. Clients can check-in and see the progress of their pet’s visit without the need to call the practice.
It’s simply an additional way to make contact with your clients – and an excellent selling tool. You can schedule and send push notifications as soon as their pet is out of surgery or ready for collection. For ongoing vet checks, schedule when annual vaccinations are due.
We all need a little reminder every now and then.
3. Flexible payment options
Keeping up-to-date with the latest third-party payment technology will allow you to offer flexible payment options to clients.
For many, vet fees can be an additional expense that puts pressure on their household budget.
Knowing they can have the option of flexible payment options can go a long way to attracting, and retaining, clients.
This can be especially handy for services such as dental, which is generally:
a) not an urgent procedure and
b ) expensive
so could definitely benefit from a payment plan.
4. Loyalty programs
Everyone loves either something for free or a loyalty program that actually delivers true value. It is human nature. We like to be rewarded for our loyalty – just like animals!
Consider offering loyalty rewards for each visit to encourage longevity with the practice. Every 5th visit can be discounted or include an additional service.
Look at ways you can upsell future services by value-adding them as a loyalty perk.
For example, for every 5th visit, receive your next annual tick shot half-price. This may encourage those who pass on the tick shot every year to take up this service on an ongoing basis.
5. Make the most of the software you have
You might be surprised about the existing capability of your practice software and how it can help automate your communications. Alternatively, if you are working on outdated software, now may be the time to look at upgrading to harness these opportunities.
When clients purchase products in the clinic, such as heartworm tables, schedule monthly reminders of when to give them. Additionally, when 12 months is up, schedule a reminder to come in and purchase the next 12 months.
Establishing these opportunities to connect with your clients keeps your practice front and centre of mind when it comes to the care of their pets.
Building rapport with your clients is a long-term game. If you’d like to discuss ways you can reach and retain your veterinary clients (both animal and human), give our friendly team a call. Helping veterinary practices reach their goals is what we do.