How Can I Prevent My Clients From Moving To Another Veterinary Practice?

0 Flares Twitter 0 Facebook 0 Filament.io 0 Flares ×

If you own or manage a Veterinary Practice then one question you should be asking is:

How Can I Prevent My Clients From Moving To Another Veterinary Practice?

Many veterinary practice owners make the mistake of assuming that just because a client brought their pet in for an annual checkup once that they are automatically going to bring them in again twelve months later. This is a very dangerous assumption for any veterinary practice to make and one that could have serious financial consequences.

Why? Well first off, we’re Living In A New Economy…

Consumers are far more ‘value conscious’ – notice I used the word ‘value’ not ‘price’. Pet owners are still spending money on their pets they just want to make sure that they are getting good value for their hard earned dollars. Because of this power is shifting to the consumer, they know they have the power to choose the veterinary care provider for their pet and they are ready and willing to make that choice.

The worst third of everything is going! Because consumers are now wielding their power to choose, the businesses, including veterinary practices, who provide the worst service and value for money are seeing clients and customers leave in droves.

Another alarming trend is that the big national brand pet stores are trying to commoditize the veterinary medicine business with the introduction of in-store veterinary practices promoting themselves on price.

The second reason why it is dangerous to take it for granted that  your clients will come back next year is that a lot can a happen in twelve months!

 For example, new practices with newer facilities can open near your clients, perhaps even closer to their home than your practice, and  offer them incentives to try something new. Your competitors can improve, perhaps by updating their equipment, their facilities or bringing in new veterinarians with a good reputation.

Another thing happening during those twelve long months is that your competitors are actively targeting your clients! Remember, a veterinarian is who is better at marketing will have more success than one that is more clinically skilled. So just because you’re a great veterinarian does not automatically mean you will attract and keep more clients than the veterinarians in your area who haven’t got your talent. Your clients and prospects can only go off what they are told and what they experience for themselves.  Your clients can have short memories and if your competitors are constantly telling them that they have more to offer then eventually that message will get through.

Of course, the other thing that can happen is that your clients move home and find themselves closer to another veterinary practice who seem just as good.

So what can you do to keep you clients from straying to other veterinary practices?

 

You must create an environment where your clients want to belong and are afraid to leave. The wanting to belong bit comes through providing first class patient care and a world class client experience. Your clients will be afraid to leave your practice if your create in a pain in disconnect or they feel they will miss out on something by leaving.

Once you begin to create this environment (perhaps your practice has it already?) the critical key to keeping your clients is:

Frequent Quality Communication

With Your Clients!

Why? Because studies have shown that for every month you don’t contact a client. You lose 10% of the relationship with that client that you had built up in your initial contact.

By frequent I mean ideally every week,  not hard to do considering that some of these communications can be done via email and automated to go out automatically, but no less than monthly. A lot of our communication can be done on autopilot with today’s technology.

Here are some ways  you can have frequent quality communication with your clients:

1. Holidays & Celebrations

All clients should receive greetings or gifts or special offers to commemorate such events as Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, Pets Birthdays, Clients Birthdays, the anniversary of their first visit to the practice. Outside of this other holidays can also be used as an excuse to get in touch such as Halloween, St Patrick’s Day, New Years and Fourth of July.

2. Client Event Promotions

Every practice worth it’s salt should hold at least one client appreciation event every year as a way to say thank you to your clients for supporting you during the year.

3. Weekly Email

For a small monthly fee it is now possible to get access to online services that can automatically send emails to your clients at pre-scheduled times. By giving your clients valuable information on how to care for their pets or how to spot various ailments you can keep in touch, provide value and encourage more visits.

4. Websites & Social Media

We recommend that all veterinary practices have a blog on their website because it allows you  another way to connect with your clients. Let your clients know of interesting things going on in your practice, and personal life, and it will help them to develop a rapport with you. You will also, no doubt, have heard of social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook and MySpace. These also have a place in communicating with your clients which will become more and more prevalent over the coming months. 

5. Monthly Newsletters

The single biggest thing you can do to have frequent quality contact with your clients is to mail them mail a monthly newsletter from your practice.

Why? Because it is perceived as a tangible publication that they receive in their mailbox every month and, if done properly,  your clients will actually look forward to receiving it.

Another benefit is that it guarantees that you will keep in touch with your clients each month while building yet more rapport with them by providing useful and amusing content.

Make no mistake if you do not make a concerted effort to engage your clients on a regular basis, and keep your practice as the one they associate with the best care for their pets and the best service for them, there’s a real chance they will be tempted to go elsewhere. Make it your mission now to prevent that from happening!

  

Comments are closed.