People adore their animals, so they do whatever they can to find a veterinarian who’s capable of giving their pets the kind of care they deserve.
The last thing you want is for clients to bring their pets into your practice once and never come back. One-off visits could mean one of two things: Either pet owners don’t think ongoing veterinarian care is necessary, or they found your vet services questionable.
The best way to boost your chances for repeat business is to provide services that go beyond the call of duty. Here are some ways to accomplish this.
Hire Competent and Compassionate Staff
When people walk into your office, the entire staff is on display. If the receptionist is dressed inappropriately and the assistant is all thumbs, it will reflect on you. No matter how skillful you are as a vet, your staff’s behaviors and competency levels can make or break your practice.
If a green-haired receptionist wearing a ripped T-shirt is the first thing your clients see when they walk in, they aren’t likely to trust you with their pets.
All that can be forgiven, however, if their love for animals is on full, bright display. If it’s truly part of who they are many people who come into a vet’s office are looking for empathy and compassion.
Still, looking professional helps, too. Reiterate the value of appearance and professionalism to your staff by providing them with appropriate scrubs and uniforms. Provide them with opportunities to expand their knowledge of the industry by recommending educational websites, literature, workshops and classes. The more competent the staff is, the more outstanding the service to your patients will be.
Make the pet-parents Feel Like Family
When your patients walk through the door, make them feel like they are part of your family. Know every pet’s name, as well as the name of their owners. Make notes of things pet owners mention while they are in your office so the next time they visit, you can follow up.
For instance, if someone mentions her pooch got a new ball for his birthday, jot it down and stick it in the pocket of your scrubs. After the visit, add the note to a file. The next time the dog comes in for a checkup, pat him on the head and say, “How are you enjoying that rubber ball you got for your last birthday.” Clients will be pleased that you care enough to remember simple things about their pets.
Provide a Clean But Not Always Clinical Environment
A dirty office gives pet owners the impression you don’t give a hoot about your job. Even if you care deeply for the animals you treat, a dingy building with dirty anything lying around says different. If you won’t even sweep the floor, how can pet owners trust you to keep needles and other equipment sterilized?
Also, lack of curb appeal can drive clients into the arms of another vet. Keep the grass mowed and the hedges trimmed. Clients may not say anything, but they will definitely notice and appreciate your efforts to maintain a sparkling office.
Keep Your Prices Competitive
While quality service is at the forefront of pet owners’ minds, price can be the deciding factor in whether or not they use your services. Consider the area you serve and keep your prices in line with other vets. If you are operating above your means, cut back on unnecessary things so you can keep your prices reasonable. Can you find a cheaper place to purchase scrubs and medical supplies? Can you find a cheaper lawn service? There are always ways to scale back without sacrificing quality.
Know Your Limitations
It takes a true professional to recognize when he or she is not the best person for the job.
If you find that an animal has a condition you are not qualified to treat, let the owner know. If you know an area vet who’s more skilled at handling certain types of ailments, offer to refer the pet parent. Doing this doesn’t mean you’re a bad vet, it simply shows that you are responsible enough not to risk an animal’s life doing something you’re not qualified to do.
And if you’re doing everything else right, they’ll still want to come back to you.
Pet owners want the best medical care for their animals and they will search for as long as they need to in order to find it. When you go above what’s required to give your clients a great experience, they will trust you with their pets and bring them back to your office time and again.