Veterinary teams have a tremendous responsibility to bring the best of their education and experience to the table every time they connect with client and pets. Whether it’s a routine check-up or a life-saving surgery, the onus is on your staff to provide exceptional treatment, and expert advice.
Your expertise has always been an essential part of running your veterinary practice—but that isn’t all it can do. It’s a key part of being an industry expert, too.
Having industry experts on your staff is a great way to spread the word about your practice, and it has all kinds of benefits for your clients, your team, and your business.
So what exactly is an industry expert?
It might surprise you! While education and experience certainly play into it, industry experts are so much more. Their primary characteristic is their reach. How many pet owners can they engage with? How do they use their online presences and voices to reach those pet owners?
They are the thought leaders and influencers of the industry; they add meaningful value to the community and their clients’ lives, and use that influence to build up their businesses.
They can also be anyone in your practice who doesn’t mind facing the public. After all, being an industry expert isn’t just for celebrity veterinarians or high-profile behaviorists. It’s for anyone who wants to put their voice out there!
But before we rush into how to become an industry expert, let’s take a look at what it means to be one—and why you should consider it for your practice.
Increase your credibility as a practice.
The popularity of the dreaded Dr. Google means that it’s essential to provide accurate pet health information. Whether you’re dealing with a self-diagnosing hypochondriac who believes whatever he or she reads online, or a tech-savvy skeptic who distrusts everyone, perception is everything. To some people, your team’s educational background and experience alone may not be enough to ensure pet owner trust.
Clinical studies show a direct link how clients perceive the quality of veterinary care and advice, and how likely they are to comply. So if a client doesn’t trust you, they’re unlikely to follow your instructions, with potentially dangerous results for their pet. You could have the best-qualified doctors and vet techs in the country, but if you haven’t made that widely known, pet owners don’t have much to go on by way of credibility.
Positioning yourself as a practice of industry experts is a great way to establish trust with pet owners, because they want to know that their pets are receiving the best possible care. By developing your online presence as an industry leader, you invite pet owners to think of your team as a go-to resource for pet care—and that reach doesn’t necessarily have to stop at the local benchmark.
Broaden your audience.
As a small business, most of your reach is within your geographic confines. Cultivating industry experts at your practice, however, is largely an online endeavor—so it can push your boundaries.
Because the mission here is greater overall pet health understanding, having a wider reach is a good thing. With a larger online following, you can make connections with other experts in the veterinary field to reinforce your credibility, simultaneously improving your bond with pet owners and giving you a leg-up on the local competition.
That said, being an industry leader isn’t about becoming a quasi-celebrity. Sure, you want to promote your clinic, and learn a few things about the trade while you’re at it—and you should! These are great things, but when you broaden your reach, you have the incredible opportunity and responsibility to add value to the lives of pet owners—and by extension, pets—as far as your voice carries.
That means curating content that is both entertaining, and educational. Who wouldn’t want to take advantage of a chance to connect better with their clients?
Build better relationships with pet owners.
When you’re an industry expert, you have a unique opportunity to capture the ever-changing needs of pet owners on a more global scale. Using feedback from the greater pet health community, you can find new ways to improve the experience of your own clients every day.
Let’s say you notice a new trend circulating on social media, where pet owners are picking out niche pets like hedgehogs. Fads like this are all too often caused by viral cute videos, which are a catalyst for impulse adoptions.
As an industry expert, you can preemptively educate your audience through, say, a mini-campaign devoted to whichever uncommon pet is on trend. While you don’t necessarily want to dissuade passionate clients from adopting their dream pet, it’s important for them to know the basics of care to make an educated decision. Industry experts have the connections to get ahead of client education with authority, and can then use their influence to ensure the ultimate pet health experience.
Since industry experts are tapped in to the overarching conversations between pet owners and veterinary personnel, you’ll gain more nuanced insights about pet owner trends and pain points—all details you can use to bond more closely with your clients. Satisfied clients make for happier pets, and of course, all-around better business.
Develop stronger brand recognition.
Satisfied clients will always be your strongest ally. Whether they’re leaving positive reviews online or deliberately advocating your practice through word-of-mouth, being an industry expert can help streamline the process. The result? More and more pet owners will recognize your practice’s name, and trust you with their pets.
We’ve talked about SEO best practices at length in previous blog posts, and for good reason. Industry experts can help your practice dominate in search engine result pages, boosting your online presence and making your veterinary practice easy to find. Better SEO means better reach, and better reach means stronger brand recognition.
Why does brand recognition matter?
All the industry knowledge and customer service experience in the world wouldn’t mean a thing if nobody knew—or remembered—who you are. Industry experts are a fast track to visibility for your practice, and can help encourage pet owners to associate your clinic with excellence.
With years, perhaps even decades, of schooling and hands-on experience in the wonderful world of animal care, you’ve earned your stripes as an expert team of veterinary professionals—now’s the time to share it with the world! Make the most of your talents and raise up a team of industry experts. Your clients will thank you for it, and so will their furry little friends.