Use these tools to ensure 2016 is the best year your practice has ever experienced. Leaders (owners) of veterinary practices everywhere are hungry for ways to make 2016 their best year ever. Veterinary professionals who own veterinary practices depend on upward trends to maintain a healthy business.
Everyone in the veterinary community agrees that the best medicine is what we call “evidence-based medicine”. In other words, therapies should be based on verified research. The same should be true for practice management.
The following comments are based on a “State of the Industry” report from AAHA (American Animal Hospital Association).
At the foundation of their findings was that 93% of the 1001 veterinary clients surveyed said the bond they have with their clinic is important.
This article will elaborate on each of the five recommendations AAHA made to veterinarians for strengthening client bonding to their practice.
Prioritize people in 2016
You will notice that each of the five recommendations involves a strong focus on the client. Practicing good medicine is a given, right? But, an intentional effort to bond with clients opens the door for win-win scenarios for the practice, for clients, for the image of our profession and for our patients.
Clients in the survey shared specifically what they need from their veterinarian in order to feel a strong bond.
Clients say they want their pet’s doctor to:
Explain things in a way I understand.
No one wants to be talked down to. But, there’s no need to tell a client
her pet is infested with Trichuris vulpis. They just need to know
three’s an intestinal parasite
called whipworms inside their pet.
Then, of course, solidify your diagnosis and treatment plan with a pre-written handout to take home.
Share test results with me.
Clients feel they’ve paid dearly for those tests you ran. They deserve more than, “Everything looked okay today”. Or, “it looks like Fluffy has developed some kidney problems”.
Take time to go over every result, normal and abnormal,
and explain how it all relates to the patients health and prognosis.
If there is an elevated number beside creatinine, for example, explain why
that’s significant and what must be done about it.
Treat me as a partner.
The veterinary profession is unique in that it operates in a triangle of relationships. That is, of course, the doctor, the animal patient, and the client.
To be effective, veterinarians must develop a trusting relationship with the patient as well as the client. It’s all too easy to lean too heavily toward either of those.
This triangular relationship becomes critical after the patient leaves
the clinic and goes home. Once there, the client’s knowledge and awareness
of their responsibilities play a central role in the outcome.
Clients who sense they are in a mutual partnership
with the veterinarian
will be far more likely to be compliant in
Provide guidance on preventive care.
With all the non-veterinary sources out there now,
it’s encouraging to know the majority of clients still value our guidance.
Most understand we are the experts and they are ready to listen;
if we speak up.
Preventive care guidance is so much more than a vaccine schedule. In fact, it involves a process for the life of each pet. And veterinarians should initiate the conversations. Here is a list of a few important areas to focus on during and between visits.
- How to choose the right breed.
- Early training.
- How to avoid behavior problems.
- Dental care.
- Breed specific tendencies.
- Geriatric care.
Explain the value every time.
Yes, the best has been saved for the last on the list.
Countless entities have jockeyed for a place in the pet marketplace. One major result is the formation of a dense fog, which is making it difficult for the public to see and appreciate the value of what veterinarians do for pets.
Only a few decades ago, veterinarians enjoyed a culture of admiration and acceptance with most clients who walked in the door. For whatever reasons, it now requires more intentional effort to convince clients of our medical expertise.
Veterinary medicine has greater value than ever before.
But, don’t assume your clients can see that value
without some help.
Never forget that you, the veterinarian offer education, expertise, and experience that can be found nowhere else.
Dr. Steve Pearson helps companies who do business with people in the animal health industry by writing content from the heart of a veterinarian. That’s because he’s been one since 1972.
Contact him today to enhance your marketing strategy with content that speaks the heart language of veterinarians, pet owners and anyone involved in animal health care.