Most pet owners can appreciate the professional skills and experience of veterinarians and their teams to help ensure the health and wellbeing of their pets. But overriding that, pet owners are emotionally connected to their pets. So, in addition to caring about the veterinary medical skills and experience of you and your team, pet owners like to know how much you and your team care about their pets. Knowing this increases trust, and trust is a big factor for pet owners.
After all, they’re trusting you with their furry family members.
You and your team naturally do care about your patients. Yet professional competence and effectiveness in pet health care alone are often not enough to show clients that you care. Clients tend to better understand how much you and your team care about their pets by your clinic’s overall customer care, which better engages clients and encourages repeat appointments.
The challenge is, practices often believe they’re providing good customer care when clients see things differently. In a recent survey of 362 companies by the management consulting firm Bain & Company, 80% of companies believed they were providing a “superior experience” to their customers. Yet only 8% of customers said that companies were delivering on customer care. And according to Glance, 91% of unhappy customers are not willing to do business with a company again.
To avoid such an impact, here are five simple ways to show your clients that you care:
1. Create a Welcoming Waiting Room
To provide a better customer experience, create a welcoming waiting room that’s clean, bright, and comfortable with plenty of seating.
You don’t need to do a major renovation. Small things (even in a small waiting room) can make a big difference. For example, make sure there’s a place for clients to hang up their coats on rainy or snowy days. Make sure chairs are spaced out in such a way that clients can sit away from other clients to provide a buffer zone for pets that may not get along with other pets. For children, set out a box of toys and/or children’s books, or set up a play table.
Also, review the curb appeal of your practice. You may have the most inviting of waiting rooms. Yet walk-in clients may never walk in if the outside of your practice doesn’t reflect what’s waiting inside.
2. Provide Timely Pet Health Takeaway Information
Reading material is always appreciated by waiting-room clients. So, provide pet health reading material and takeaway handouts. Further show clients you care about the health of their pets by providing information on timely pet health issues. If you don’t have time to put such information together, you can quickly download one of LifeLearn’s free pet health awareness kits:
- Cognitive Dysfunction Awareness Kit
- Pet Insurance Information Kit
- Feline Obesity Awareness Kit
- Immunization Awareness Kit
- Summer Safety Kit
- Tick Prevention Kit
- Heartworm Awareness Kit
All free kits include a client information handout, printable poster for your clinic to encourage in-person conversations, and pre-written social posts (with complimentary images) to share on Facebook and encourage more traffic to your practice website.
Some kits (e.g. the Summer Safety Kit) may not immediately apply. The main point is to make sure clients have pet health information before they need it. Providing timely pet health information lets clients know that you’re not leaving it up to them to know about or miss something on their own. You show you care by helping clients pre-empt something.
3. Listen to What Clients Want
Clients like to be heard. And given the opportunity, clients will tell you exactly what they want and expect from your veterinary practice. So, whether through email, in-clinic questionnaire, or online survey, it’s important to provide clients with the means to tell you what they like and don’t like about your practice. Good or bad, all feedback helps strengthen your business and tells all clients, “We care about what you think.”
To easily measure client satisfaction, LifeLearn recently announced the addition of ALLYDVM NPS (Net Promoter Score) to the WebDVM website platform. Used by more than two-thirds of Fortune 1000 companies, Net Promoter Score helps empower your whole team with the right information to improve client satisfaction.
4. Give Clients Plenty of Appointment Notice
People lead busy lives. Last-minute pet appointment reminders force clients to scramble, which frustrates and annoys people. Or clients may decide that they simply can’t make their appointment and make the decision to skip it. Sending out appointment reminders with plenty of notice shows customer care by allowing clients time to fit appointments into their busy schedules.
5. Take Care of Yourself
Care is a matter of evidence. When clients see it, they can believe it. So, evidence the care you have by taking care of yourself. When you feel good, you create a more balanced life and have more energy to extend care to others.