Tag Archives: vets

Become more RELEVANT to clients and boost the bottom line

Linda Wasche, MBA, MA
LW Marketworks inc.

I went to a local low-cost spay / neuter clinic  yesterday.   Yes, I admit it.  And I know you will not be happy.  The clinic makes it affordable for me help homeless cats.  It also allows me to study low-cost services.  This one offers spay/neuter, wellness exams, dental procedures, vaccines, and treatment of eye/ear infections and URI. 

Many full service veterinary practices view low-clinics as a threat.  However practices that are able to create new RELEVANCY for today’s pet owners should have nothing to worry about.     

What can practices do to boost revenue with increasing threats from low-cost clinics, chains and shelters?   It’s time to rethink your marketing.  Here are three ways  to make a significant impact on your practice’s bottom line. 

Number 1:   Focus on growing current clients. 

Before you go out looking for new clients, make sure your practice is working to boost usage among existing ones.  It’s much easier — and less costly — to get current clients to use more services than to try to attract new ones.   

However, if your practice offers the same services as clinics and other practices, you may be losing clients to low-cost options.  When services are perceived as identical – and lack distinguishing differences— price becomes the only differentiator.   So its important to look for ways to make your services more RELEVANT and MEANINGFUL to pet owners.  In other words, by providing services that you can’t easily get elsewhere – that represent VALUE for pet owners.    

Number 2:  Segment your client base.

Ok – so how do you make services more RELEVANT?   You SEGMENT.  To effectively reach existing clients, you first have to know WHO they are.   Successful businesses segment their client base so that they can better understand differing customer  / client needs and wants.   Without segmentation, services become diluted and your practice may be at risk of “trying to be everything to everybody.”  Never a good idea.    Segment your clients / patients into groups with similar traits and needs. For example, some practices may see opportunities in TARGETING:

- Big dogs Small dogs

- Cats with chronic conditions High risk breeds

- Senior pets Active / performance pets

To segment, you will need the right practice management software that allows you to IDENTIFY and TRACK key client VARIABLES.    Today, having the right software is absolutely critical to not only identifying who your clients are, but to being able to launch effective preventive care and outreach efforts.

Number 3:  Develop TARGETED services.

Once you have segmented your client /patient base and defined your targets, create services and programs  that proactively reach out to these targets.   Remember that pet owners easily access information SPECIFIC to their particular pet  just by Google-ing.    So reaching out to pet owners with services and programs tailored to their particular type of pet makes good sense.

There are two ways to do this:

1. With targeted services and programs

Big dogs have different health issues than small ones.  Certain breeds of cat and dog face greater health risks.  Performance pets get more injuries.   Creating services and programs around  segments such as these not only appeals to pet owners, but also POSITIONS the practice as more credible in looking out for these types of pets.

2. With targeted information

Similarly target information, alerts, bulletins, workshops and other forms of client outreach to help pet owners become partners in early detection and preventive pet care.

Looking for ways to proactively reach out to pet owner segments  with services and information relevant  to their type of pet is not only good marketing, its good medicine.   Because when you are relevant, you are more likely to ENGAGE a pet owner and capture his/her attention.   Plus you have created something that they cannot easily get elsewhere.   Not down the street and definitely not at that low cost clinic.

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For more information on client segmentation and developing relevant and meaningful veterinary services, contact Linda Wasche at LindaW@LWmarketworks.com. For more information on customizable practice management software, contact Rajat Sharma, Onward Vet, at rsharma@onwardvet.com or (909) 851-3911.

www.OnwardVet.com

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The Importance of Organization, Cleanliness, and Friendliness in Your Vet Office

Though all of the fuzzy faces may make the average person forget, a veterinarian knows that their workplace is the same as a doctor’s office — just for pets. And like any doctor’s office, it needs to be clean, friendly and, above all, organized. After all, there are prescriptions to fill, lab results to get, supplies to reorder, and procedures to carry out, sometimes at short notice. All of these things and more need to be taken care of efficiently and correctly so that the patients and their concerned owners can move on with their lives. Here are some of the easiest and best ways to ensure that the office is set up for success.

Setting Patients and Owners at Ease

It’s important to set pets and their owners at ease from the first moment that they enter the office. Not only should the room feel and look welcoming, the check-in process should be efficient and systematized so that there are no misunderstandings. Payment requirements and options should be clearly outlined so that there are no problems at the end of the visit.

Personnel should be friendly and unintimidating, from the receptionist who greets patients to the person who administers a pet’s shots. The vets should be especially able to develop bonds with animals quickly, and be comfortable both calming them down and restraining them, if necessary.

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Keeping the Clinic Clean

Keeping a vet’s office clean isn’t just a matter of getting rid of undesirable smells (though it certainly factors in), but also of keeping pets and their owners safe.

The office is going to be littered with different animal matter throughout the day — that’s just the nature of the beast. From the dog that bleeds on the floor because he had a bite taken out of him by a bigger dog to the cat that gets nervous and urinates all over the place (not to mention the fur that will undoubtedly cover everything if allowed to accumulate), there will be hazards everywhere. Fecal matter and urine can contain any number of bacteria, fur can carry flea larvae, and if a puddle is left on the floor, there is also the chance that someone could slip and sue.

This makes it absolutely necessary to clean and maintain all areas of the office, not just the exam rooms. The floor should be swept and trash emptied regularly, any messes should be cleaned up immediately, and every examination room should be wiped down with chemical disinfectant after each patient.

Organizing Information

A veterinary clinic will need to organize its information for both its own good and the good of the clients — and there’s a lot of information to handle. From patient invoices and e-mail appointment reminders to prescription records and vaccination histories, there are many, many things to keep track of. Using a paper-based system has led to a number of mistakes and oversights in the past that have often ended in frustration or worse.

In recent years, many doctor’s offices have started to digitize their records and use software to manage their information, so why shouldn’t a vet’s office? Onward Vet offers specially-designed veterinary office management software that anticipates the particular needs of this kind of clinic. The program utilizes Cloud software to keep data secure, as well electronic signature devices that can be used on iPads and Android devices. The software is easy to use and customizable, so that it can be seamlessly integrated into the workings of any office.

Running a vet’s office carries with it all the complexities and frustrations of any other doctor’s office. However, by creating a well-managed and welcoming space, the people who run these establishments can make it a bit easier on everyone.

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The Benefits of IDEXX VetLab Software Interface

As we discussed in an earlier blog post, Onward Vet’s cloud-based veterinary software is a good avenue for clinics that want to go paperless but don’t want the hassle of IT issues. One of the biggest benefits that it offers, though, is an interface that provides direct access to in-house lab equipment such as IDEXX VetLab Station. IDEXX VetLab Interface provides benefits to veterinarians in addition to those provided by the rest of the Onward Vet software. Here’s a brief overview of how it can streamline the processes of a clinic.

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Increases Medical Capabilities

Whenever a test is run on a patient at a lab, results are stored in a report via the IDEXX VetLab Station interface Additional tests and results are compiled into the same report over time, creating a cumulative representation of results and progress. This makes it easy to visualize recent results in comparison with past results, putting the progress into context. It also makes it much easier for the vet to detect abnormalities, which is better for the pet’s health. Veterinarians can view a graph of the patient’s results over time and easily detect changes so that health problems can be nipped in the bud.

Makes a More Productive Office

More time than you probably realize is wasted on data entry; often, receptionists enter the same data for the same patient more than once. Onward Vet stores all IDEXX VetLab results about a patient in its storage cloud, making it unnecessary to rummage through files, manually copy down information, and perform other tedious tasks. This is not only quicker and more efficient, it reduces the amount of errors, making the office a more productive place.

Provides Streamlined Business Management

The bottom line is that customers like to know that they’re visiting an organized and well-maintained office. No one wants to dread visiting the clinic, knowing they’ll have a long wait time while the receptionist digs up old records and copies down new ones. Having a streamlined management system helps to gain customer loyalty. It also provides employees with the peace of mind of accuracy – they’ll know every test result will be attributed to the right patient, since it’s done automatically. Most importantly, it’s cost-effective. It keeps track of important patient records, like prescriptions and bills, ensuring that payments are up to date. Visitors are happy with the quick and easy service, and you will never compromise profits by forgetting to collect a bill.

Having such software is beneficial for clinic owners, pets, pet owners, and employees. When records don’t get lost and service is quick, everyone is satisfied and the job gets done efficiently.

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Modernizing Medicine: Cloud-Based Software Extends to Veterinary Offices

In a society where nearly everything is going virtual – from viewing kids’ report cards to paying your phone bill to confirming your flight – it’s not too surprising that offices in the medical field are also finding ways to streamline operations with the latest technologies.

Cloud-based software in particular makes it easy to keep track of patients’ histories, appointments, billing, allergies, and more (much more, actually). Now, furry friends can benefit from the organizational, forward-thinking technology: more and more vet offices are taking advantage of cloud-based veterinary software, and it’s a game changer in the industry for quite a few reasons.

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One reason a lot of offices are doing things the old-fashioned way is because they simply don’t have the IT teams to support fancy software. If something goes wrong, especially in smaller veterinary offices, there isn’t always going to be someone around who knows how to fix it. Since cloud-based software requires no downloading, it eliminates the need for constant IT support. Plus, its functionalities are extremely straightforward.

Security.

Yes, the software keeps track of all patient information, but it’s all done through a secure website. All data is safe, and nothing can be accessed without personal login information administered by the establishment.

Comprehensive functionality.

There are programs that you can use to bill your clients. There are programs you can use to store a patient’s medical history. You can use a calculator to generate an estimated cost for a procedure. The great thing about software generated specifically for use within a veterinary clinic is the fact that it does it all and can operate on a tablet. Imagine – just with a tablet, a pet and his or her owner can come in and your employees can pull up their medical history. They can check them in for the appointment, have the owners provide a virtual signature for procedures, print prescription labels, estimate procedure costs, schedule new appointments, create custom templates for procedures…and so much more. It’s everything they need in one place, and it stays totally organized (and confidential).

Virtual whiteboard.

Employees of the veterinary clinic update the virtual whiteboard whenever an animal is moved from one room to another. Therefore, everyone in the office is aware of which pets are in the building and in what exact room they’re located. This helps appointments to move along much more smoothly, since everyone is informed about where they need to be.

Chain hospital compatibility.

If you have more than one veterinary hospital in your chain, the cloud-based system offers the benefit of accessible information. Even if the pet is taken to a different hospital on a different date, his or her information can still be accessed within the system.

This technology has been available in regular hospitals and doctors’ offices for years. Animals deserve the respect of a speedy appointment, convenient billing and quick prescriptions, too. Cloud-based software can greatly improve the efficiency of a veterinary clinic.

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