It seems like forever since we’ve had the opportunity to take a deep breath and re-evaluate how to reconnect with our clients who may have slipped through the cracks during COVID. Customer service is such a key component to our success as veterinary practices. How do we connect with lapsing clients and continue to build the bonds with current clients? Here are five steps you can take to connect with your veterinary clients, both old and new.
1: Set and communicate expectations to avoid confusion among your clients
Ensure your clients understand their options for a visit, as well as how to communicate with your staff. When you don’t accurately explain your processes and protocols, especially around your mask requirements, clients will make up their own expectations in their heads prior to arrival. When they show up and learn that they have to do something differently than they originally thought, they can become frustrated, and sometimes take that frustration out on your team.
Minimize the chances of this occurring by using all of your channels to communicate your protocols:
- Write a phone script for your client service representatives so they deliver consistent messaging.
- Use an on-hold message to convey important information for your clients when dropping off and picking up their pets.
- Make a short video each month regarding any policy updates, and post it on your website and social media channels.
- Send a customized push notification through your hospital’s app.
When you communicate expectations for your clients, and those expectations are followed through by your staff, you’ll impress even the hardest-to-please clients.
2: Offer a mix of curbside and in-person options
How do we put curbside care back into a box? We don’t! Whether rising COVID rates are forcing your practice to return to a full-curbside approach or not, you can offer this service for those who may not feel comfortable going into the hospital, those who like the “drop off” concierge option while they run errands or go to work, or those with disabilities or small children who may appreciate having this option available. Continue your curbside protocols—your staff has already mastered them anyway—and no extra work should be needed.
TIP: Offer medication and food pick-up using your hospital app’s Virtual Payment feature as a bonus service for clients. Market this on social media or your website as an option. The use of Virtual Payment will help to streamline the curbside delivery process.
3: Run a lapsed-patient report, and reach out to clients you haven’t seen in a while
Many of your clients may have lapsed on their pet’s wellness care, or they may be getting their prescriptions elsewhere. It’s time to develop a strategy to reconnect with those clients and get them back into your veterinary practice. The easiest way to do this is to run a report from your practice management software of all the lapsed patients. Then, sort the clients by most revenue spent to least revenue spent in 2019 (pre-COVID).
Start working your way down this list to re-engage anyone who has fallen off your radar. Try picking up the phone or sending a push notification tailored to each client in hopes of welcoming them back into the clinic, or to let them know that you’re thinking of them. This personal touch will resonate with all of those pet owners.
Now would also be a great time to double check on your Reminder Management System to ensure your clients are receiving their pet’s reminders. Look for outdated phone numbers, email addresses, and physical addresses, and update the information.
4: Take care of your top clients by forward booking
I recently picked up Roxee, my schnoodle, from the beauty shop. My pet groomer prompted me to forward book her next two appointments because her slots were filling up with new customers, and, since I’ve been a client of hers for years, she wanted to ensure I had preferred booking. This is exactly what we need to do in veterinary practices.
Don’t forward book everyone, but absolutely target your top clients so they know how much they mean to you.
Suggested forward-booking script: “Let’s get you booked for your next visit in six months. We are really busy with new clients, and I want to make sure that your next appointment is secured.”
5: Turn your parking lot into a waiting room
Controlling traffic in your veterinary practice will be appreciated by your staff, your clients, and all of your feline patients! One lesson learned during COVID: Many clients are much more comfortable waiting in the car rather than the exam room or lobby. This is especially true if small children and out-of-control pets are involved.
Check to see if your client engagement and communication platform includes a feature that allows clients to check-in from their car using your mobile app or texting service. For example, when clients use Vet2Pet’s new Visit Tracker feature, their arrival time, parking spot number, and vehicle description will be captured and displayed in the practice’s Vet2Pet dashboard.
Remember, the little things matter to clients, and those little things will indirectly add value to your veterinary hospital’s bottom line and overall customer experience. By catering to your clients’ wants and needs with collaborative care, you can boost loyalty and revenue, and set high standards of care. Your clients will notice that you go the extra mile for them and their pets, which will revitalize relationships and build client loyalty.
Vet2Pet’s all-in-one client engagement and communication platform is the perfect solution for helping you build and create strong bonds with your clients. Sign up for a 30-minute demo to find out how.