As much as pet owners want to get information from their veterinarians, it can be irresistible to turn to the Internet for answers. After all, the Internet is accessible, open all the time, and notably unlikely to judge them for wearing their puppy dog pajamas.
The trouble for veterinarians is that while it’s possible to find good information, it’s also very easy for pet owners to find bad information – and this can turn into an issue when it affects a pet owner’s understanding of their pet’s care.
The good news is that you can use your clients’ inclination to consult the Internet to your advantage and turn a major vet peeve into a useful tool for client education.
So how do you get client education back into your practice’s hands?
Talk about it
When it comes right down to it, using the Internet for pet health research doesn’t have to be the elephant in the room. Your clients know they look things up, and you know it too – so there’s no reason to sweep that fact under the rug.
By opening up the conversation about Internet research in a controlled manner, you can establish your practice as a place where your clients can come to discuss what they find. Acknowledge what they find, and use it as a jumping point to share more information.
For example, when they ask a question or share a tidbit based on information they find online, don’t immediately discredit it. Try to find similarities between the information and what you do at your practice, point them out, and then branch out into differences.
When you explain differences, be sure to explain why it’s different – and if you need to, provide the pet owner with additional resources to help everything make sense. Which leads us to our next point…
Help them in their quest
Internet research and veterinary information don’t need to be an either-or scenario. You know that your clients are going to look things up, and although in some cases it may be best to encourage them not to, that strategy won’t work for everyone.
Instead of leaving them to their own devices, give them the resources they need to find good information – and this way, you can still have a say in what they learn. Give them a list of the sources you trust, be it your blog, a veterinary health site, or even your own built-in library of pet health articles.
If you have particularly savvy pet owners, you could also try giving them a list of keywords and/or phrases that can help them assess the quality of other sources.
Relate it to your practice
It’s one thing to give your clients the resources they need to do their homework – but if it’s your mission to reclaim client education from Dr. Google in the name of veterinary practices, it’s a good idea to make sure that what you’re giving them pushes them back to your practice.
There are a few ways you can do this. For example, you could build a Links page onto your veterinary website that helps direct pet owners to your preferred sources. You could also make the most of your veterinary blog by curating a collection of pet health topics, and directing your pet owners to it.
Another option is to build a library of pet health articles right into your website, so pet owners can access it right when they need it. With over 1,800 pet health articles designed for client education that cover a plethora of topics, including conditions, breeds, and medications, ClientEd helps turn your practice into a go-to resource for pet owners.
This helps pet owners associate your practice with good information – and that means that next time, they’ll know exactly where to turn.Better client education means better compliance from pet owners, and ultimately, better care for pets. The best way to ensure your clients are getting current, accurate information is to guide them to the best source – you!