Feel like you’re always striving to improve client communication and education, but that you just keep spinning your wheels and getting nowhere? You aren’t alone. Every veterinary professional wants to better educate their clients, but most struggle to do it well. How can we ensure pet owners really understand and absorb the information we’re providing to them?
What’s one thing nearly every pet owner has, trusts, and uses daily? A smartphone. Why not use your clients’ technology to better educate and communicate with them? Here are three ways your clients’ smartphones can be used to help ensure your patients get the best care.
1. Set reminders
Compliance with veterinary medications and preventives has always been a struggle. Whether a pet needs to be given medication multiple times per day, or only needs monthly flea, tick and heartworm preventives, you can help clients remember by encouraging them to use their smartphone to set a calendar reminder (for monthly reminders) and/or an alarm reminder (for daily or more frequent reminders).
Not only will this improve compliance, but it will also help to ease your client’s mind if they become overwhelmed by everything they need to remember.
The calendar and alarm features can be used to remind clients about:
- Medication administrations
- Scheduling wellness appointments
- Reordering medications or food
Tip: Use a veterinary hospital app, or, better yet, a comprehensive client communication and engagement platform, to schedule automated reminders via push notification (great for monthly preventive reminders meant for large groups of clients), text message, email, and even traditional mail, like postcards.
2. Take videos and photos
Most of your clients will have their smartphones with them in the exam room or when they arrive to pick up their pet after a veterinary procedure. Have them take a video of your instructions — or send them a video of your instructions later — so they can refer to it later or share it with other family members or friends who might be helping to care for the pet.
The more details clients remember, the fewer incoming phone calls your practice will receive with clients asking follow-up questions. Use your communication platform’s two-way chat feature to send detailed instructions — along with photos, videos, and documents — to your clients.
Clients can use their smartphones to:
- Record all “how-to’s” as they receive specific instructions for their pet’s care. For example, the owner of a dog who has been diagnosed with diabetes can video your team demonstrating and explaining how to properly administer insulin.
- Record instructions for post-op care, how to soak a paw, treat a wound, etc.
- Record the explanation of diagnostic results so others in the household can see and hear the veterinarian’s explanation first-hand.
- Take photos of healing wounds, injuries, or any progress seen on re-checks, so pet owners can see the progress that is sometimes difficult to notice day-to-day.
- Watch videos, view photos, and read messages or documents shared with them through your hospital’s app or client communication platform.
3. Record voice memos
Some clients may not want to take photos or videos, or they may not have enough storage space on their device. But, client education can still be elevated using voice memos. Most of the situations mentioned above could also be accomplished with voice memos.
Siri, or any voice-command system, can be helpful in navigating smart devices. Ask Siri to set a calendar reminder, record a video, or make a voice memo for an easy shortcut. Clients might not think about using their own technology, but you can show them how to take advantage of it to improve their pet’s care. Suggest using a voice memo to record what you say — that might be a great place to start.
Helping pet owners understand is the key to ensuring pets get the care they need. Technology and tools are constantly evolving — don’t be afraid to try new things in your veterinary hospital. Your clients and team members will appreciate you for it.
Want to find out how the latest veterinary technology can help your practice, clients, and patients? Sign up for a 30-minute demo of Vetsource’s all-in-one client engagement and communication platform.
This blog post was originally published on August 5, 2019, by Shannon Clarke, RVT, MBA. It has been updated for clarity and with new information on July 14, 2021.