Whether it be the local low-cost spay/neuter clinics or consolidated hospitals with cheaper services, the multitude of options available in the veterinary industry today has made retaining clients and maintaining profitability an uphill battle for many practices.
It’s more important than ever for both new and established practices to focus on providing value and fostering customer loyalty if they want to stay ahead of the curve.
Fortunately, this doesn’t call for a complete overhaul. The key is to adopt customer-centric strategies that meet the evolving needs of your veterinary client segment.
Here are some effective approaches we recommend to become more relevant to your veterinary clients so that you can stand out in a crowded market and boost your bottom line.
1. Understand Client Expectations
Before anything, knowing who your clients are and what they want is key. Are they millennials who want the very best for their furry family members, or more practical pet owners who prioritize affordability? Perhaps they’re a mix of both.
Today’s clients expect transparency, convenience, and personalized care. They want to feel like they are a part of the decision-making process and that their opinions are valued.
Some proactive steps you can take to understand your clients better include:
Send out surveys to gauge their satisfaction with your services, what they would like to be added or improved, and how you can become more relevant to your veterinary clients.
Keep an eye on social media platforms to see what they are saying about your practice and the industry as a whole.
Train your staff to ask questions and actively listen to clients to understand their needs and expectations.
Stay up-to-date on industry trends and changes, such as emerging technology, new treatment options, and evolving client expectations.
These will give you valuable insights on how to tailor more relevant services to your veterinary clients.
2. Foster a Client-First Practice Culture
The importance of placing the client at the center of your practice cannot be overstated. Not only does it help your practice become more relevant to your veterinary clients and stand out from competitors, but it also leads to increased client loyalty and referrals.
According to a study conducted by Deloitte, customer-centric companies are 60% more profitable than those that are not. That’s right, tailoring your business model to prioritize customer success rather than the bottom line ultimately increases revenue and profits.
In addition, provide staff with the tools and resources they need to deliver an exceptional customer experience. As mentioned, they should learn to communicate effectively with clients, listen actively, and respond to their needs in a timely and effective manner.
3. Personalize the Client Experience
Personalization goes hand in hand with creating a client-centered culture to become more relevant to your veterinary clients. This is because personalizing the client experience involves making each client feel valued and heard, which is impossible if your overall approach does not prioritize the customer.
If you do get the foundation right, however, the little things will go a long way. Clients appreciate thoughtful actions from their vets, such as personalized emails, pet birthday greetings, or appointment reminder postcards because they show a genuine interest in their pets’ well-being.
But while regular communication can help maintain client relationships, be careful not to bombard them with too many messages, reminders, or offers as it could annoy and even antagonize them.
4. Segment Your Client Base
One of the most effective approaches to make your services more relevant to your veterinary clients is segmentation. You can’t effectively reach and satisfy customers if you don’t know their differing needs. But more importantly, your services may become diluted if you try to cater to everyone.
Collect and analyze client data to identify trends and patterns in their behavior. For example, you may find you have a high percentage of clients with senior pets who are concerned about age-related health issues rather than preventative care.
Other examples of veterinary client segments are:
Animals with chronic conditions
Active or performance pets
Use the patient segments you identify to inform the services you offer so that you can be more relevant to your veterinary clients.
However, be careful not to over-segment or create too many products as it could stretch you thin and compromise the quality of care you provide.
5. Develop Targeted Services
Once you understand who your clients are and what they need, create services and programs that proactively reach out to them. This is where targeted services come in.
Some examples of targeted services you can offer different veterinary client segments include:
These mainly offer preventive care services. For example, puppy and kitten wellness programs usually include regular checkups, vaccinations, and parasite prevention.
Pet owners are more likely to visit their vets for recommended services when they know they will be covered by a wellness plan, which means better care for the animals and increased revenue for your practice.
Senior Pet Care
Pet health needs change as they age. Offering specialized senior pet care services can help you address these changing needs. Senior pet care focuses more on blood work, dental exams, and pain management.
You can also provide nutritional counseling and exercise programs that help maintain their quality of life as they age.
Mobile Veterinary Services:
Become more relevant to your veterinary clients by offering mobile services for those who have difficulty coming to your practice. They can also be particularly helpful for clients with multiple pets or pets with mobility issues.
Mobile services include everything from routine checkups and vaccinations to emergency care.
Similarly, targeted information such as alerts, bulletins, workshops, and other forms of client outreach will keep them engaged and make you more relevant to pet owners.
6. Leverage Technology
With the right tools and software, what might seem like an overwhelming task of keeping up with client needs and preferences is made simple and easy.
Technology like veterinary client management software helps you gather and store client information, track pet health records and appointments, and even manage practice inventory and billing.
It also provides a centralized location for client communication, including sending appointment reminders, follow-up emails, and personalized messages — all the recommended tools for client-centric care.
Onward Vet’s robust business and client management features have been a game changer for practices, helping them become more relevant to veterinary clients by exceeding their service expectations.
We’re Here to Help
Building a client-centered practice requires effort and a commitment to understanding and meeting the needs of your veterinary client segments.
Onward Vet was built with this in mind, making it easier for vets to tailor their services to their clients.
Schedule a free demo today to learn how our software can enhance your services and help you create a loyal and satisfied client base.
The pet boom of 2020–2021 had a profound impact on the veterinary industry, and its effects continue to be felt today in 2023.
As the industry continues to adapt to these changes, veterinary practices need to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies to remain competitive and provide the best possible care to their patients.
From an expected long-term influx of patients to the adoption of digital pet care and communication technology, let’s take a look at the changes sparked by the pet boom, and what you should focus on to stay competitive.
1. Millennials Are Now Your Biggest Client Base
According to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA), nearly 23 million American households — that’s one in five — added a furry friend to their family during the pandemic.
Of these, 32% are millennials, presenting a shift away from the boomer generation of pet-owning.
Millennials, as a generation, are known to prioritize the well-being of their pets and are willing to spend more on them than previous generations. This includes providing high-quality food, veterinary care, and even pet insurance — the total number of pets insured in the U.S. at year-end 2021 was 3.9 million, a 28 percent increase since 2020.
Additionally, they are more likely to seek out pet products and services that align with their values, such as environmentally-friendly products and those that support animal welfare organizations.
Emphasizing these aspects of your practice, such as preventive medicine, nutrition, and a holistic approach to pet health, can help you attract and retain this demographic.
2. Clients Want Digital Pet Care and Communication
In the past, older generations of pet owners did not have access to robust digital communications from their veterinarians. Making appointments by phone, faxing medical records, and receiving appointment cards in the mail have been the industry norm until recently.
Millennials, however, not only want digital communications, they expect them. With 76% preferring texting over any other communication, new communication solutions for veterinarians are a must.
On top of more pet owners seeking digital pet care and communication, such as telemedicine and online appointment scheduling, veterinary practices should also invest in new technology to improve the quality of care they provide. These also include equipment such as digital X-ray machines and ultrasound devices.
Remember, today’s pet owners seek the best services for their animal family members.
3. More Emphasis on Routine and Preventative Care
On top of modern communication solutions for veterinarians, catering to today’s pet owners also means adjusting the types of services that veterinary practices offer.
Trends show a rise in requests for preventive care, such as vaccinations and wellness exams, and decreased demand for emergency and specialty care.
Practices should expand their services to include offers like veterinary wellness plans that help clients afford routine care for their pets. This establishes you as a go-to destination for comprehensive pet care and builds a loyal client base.
It’s also important to prioritize staff training in communication skills to ensure clients feel heard and valued while implementing digital pet care and communication to quicken processes.
Stay On Top Of the Changes
With clinics and hospitals understaffed in the face of more pet healthcare demand than ever, veterinarians need as much support as they can get to run their practices without burning out.
Streamlining communications is a must to keep up, and an effective digital pet care communication and management system like Onward Vet can offload much of the logistical burden.
How is your practice handling the effects of the pet boom? Schedule a demo today to see how Onward Vet can help.
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 Software Interface. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.