Last year may be done but 2020 brought lasting changes to the veterinary industry that will impact how practices must operate in the year ahead to remain competitive. Here are 3 top veterinary trends for practices to adopt in 2021 (if they haven’t already) according to veterinary business advisor and veteran practice manager Bash Halow in a recent article by dvm360:
Practices Will Need a Significant Online Presence
Staying competitive in 2021 and beyond means practices must remain relevant to existing and prospective clients. People in 2020 grew accustomed to living in an online world and became comfortable with digital interactions with businesses, from online shopping to virtual consultations. “We are not pulling back from that,” says Halow, referencing how businesses plan to continue serving clients online going forward, and HubSpot qualifies Halow’s assertion.
In their recent business trends research report, HubSpot found that 63% of businesses plan on upgrading their websites to better meet the needs of their customers. For practices, Halow stresses the same importance of providing clear virtual pathways to clients through online portals. “You are going to need a significant online presence,” says Halow, “if you want to be relevant to the kind of clientele that is going to support your business in the long term.”
Veterinary staff shortages caused by COVID-19 left existing practice staff stressed and strapped for time in 2020, and Halow says, “Staff shortages are not going away any time soon.” To save practices time and reduce stress in 2021, Halow recommends online forms for pet owners to request appointments.
According to Halow, online appointment forms have been shown “to decrease appointment phone traffic by 60%.” This frees practice staff to focus time and attention on other tasks, or simply enjoy breathing space in their busy day. Online forms also provide clients with immediacy and convenience—two words that can make all the different for practices.
As HubSpot points out in a recent article, Netflix, Spotify, and Uber did not rise to the top by inventing a new product or service. “They offered you the exact same thing their competitors did—just in a simpler way,” and online appointment forms offer practices the same thing. Online forms offer clients a simpler way to book an appointment than competitors may offer, and as HubSpot points out in a way that’s relevant to veterinary trends for 2021, “The company with the simpler, more relevant, baggage-free process will always come out on top.”
Pet Insurance Information for Pet Owners
As part of veterinary trends for 2021, Halow predicts that more clients will need financial assistance to pay for “the lifesaving veterinary care their pets need.” To that end, Halow recommends that practices “incentivize clients to acquire pet insurance,” which provides two benefits:
- Pet insurance empowers pet owners to make health care decisions based on what is best for their pet versus being constrained by finances.
- Pet insurance enables practices to perform better veterinary medicine and improves patient outcomes.
Pet insurance also helps busy practices increase revenue without taking on more clients. According to a recent animal hospital survey by Crum & Forster Pet Insurance Group, practices that educated pet owners about pet insurance saw increased total gross revenue from existing clients.
The pet insurance challenge for practices, of course, is the same as it has long been. Practice staff may not be knowledgeable about pet insurance or even feel comfortable talking about it.
Easily Educate Clients with Pet Insurance Info
To help practices easily educate pet owners about pet insurance, all WebDVM custom veterinary websites now come standard with the pet insurance education resource Pet Insurance Info, which has been added free of charge for all current WebDVM clients.
Reflective of LifeLearn Animal Health’s core commitment to advance pet health and education worldwide, Pet Insurance Info is a free service accessible to pet owners to learn about the value of pet insurance and the questions they need to ask prior to purchasing a policy.
All WebDVM clients need to do is simply let clients know about the resource.
In keeping with veterinary trends for 2021, WebDVM also includes:
- Online client conversion forms: Appointment Request, Boarding Request, New Client Registration, Contact Us, Prescription Refill/Food Order Request, and Curbside History Collection
- Expert-written pet health content and online resources to keep your website relevant to pet owners and enable them to take on-demand action to address their immediate needs
- Search engine optimization so pet owners can more easily find your practice online
And much more.
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