Why your veterinary practice needs a loyalty program

by By Karyn Ekola, CVPM

7 min read

I was a practice manager at a busy four-doctor practice when we first launched a loyalty program. It was 2011 and we were treading uncharted waters. No one had ever done anything like this in our industry before and we had no idea if it would work.

One day, a client brought his cat in for a dental procedure because she was in chronic pain from periodontal disease and resorptive lesions. This poor kitty had quite the day but was going to live more comfortably as a result of her veterinary treatment.

Here’s the interesting part of this story: This client didn’t really like his cat very much. Or so he claimed while he grumbled about how much this was going to cost as we were settling up his almost $700 bill. During checkout we told him about our loyalty program, which rewards clients for every $100 spent per invoice.

His invoice had already earned him six stamps and he was about $25 away from a seventh. At that moment, we heard him say something we had never heard from a client before (especially from a client who wasn’t happy about having to spend so much money on his pet in the first place): “What else can I buy to get my seventh stamp?”

When was the last time one of your clients asked if they could spend more money in your clinic? It sounds crazy, but believe it or not this became a frequent occurrence once we launched our loyalty program.

Loyalty programs are gaining momentum across all sectors

Grocery stores and coffee shops have been doing it for years, and now even high-performing companies like Amazon and Sephora are doing it. These days, loyalty programs are all the rage. Consumers don’t just like to be rewarded for their loyalty, they expect it.

While the majority of veterinary practices have not yet jumped onto the loyalty program bandwagon, the ones that have are seeing amazing results. It’s clear that this customer relationship strategy is gaining momentum among vet professionals. In fact, research tells us that loyalty programs are becoming more prevalent across all business sectors.

According to a 2017 loyalty report, 81% of consumers agree that loyalty programs make them more likely to continue doing business with a brand. The report also notes that people are more likely to recommend a brand if it has a good loyalty program.

Your loyalty program doesn’t have to be complicated

Loyalty programs can help you improve client retention, as well as client acquisition. Rewarding your loyal clients for being great pet owners will encourage them to stay with your veterinary practice and discourage them from checking out the new practice down the street.

Vetsource’s Vet2Pet client engagement solution has helped literally hundreds of veterinary practices implement successful loyalty programs. The standard successful program looks like this:

  • Every $100 spent per invoice = 1 stamp
  • 16 stamps = client can redeem for a $100 credit to be used during a future visit

The beauty of this type of loyalty program is that it’s simple, engaging, and exciting. The more clients spend, the more they earn — and that promotes active participation. With a program like this, you’ll quickly start to see clients spend more at your practice, on average, than they used to.

Consider adding a loyalty program to your practice, especially if you’re seeing a decline in active clients or patients. If you’re not sure where your active clients and patients stand compared to this time last year, Vetsource’s Data & Insights solutions can help. Automated reporting delivers valuable data in the form of regular, easy-to-read reports that show you where your practice stands — an invaluable resource for managing your practice’s growth and success.

Karyn Ekola, CVPM

Karyn Ekola, CVPM

Karyn is a CVPM who started her veterinary industry career in 2002 and assisted with the development and launch of the mobile app in 2010! As Director of Product, Karyn provides technical support to practices and app users, works closely with the developer team to coordinate new app releases, feature updates and improvements, and ensures that Vet2Pet’s technology remains a cutting-edge solution for veterinary practices and their clients.

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