4 ways to show clients the value

Article

A tightly honed message helps ensure clients see the value of your care.

As the saying goes, perception is reality. Despite the fact that your practice offers high-quality care, clients won't get the message unless you translate it for them. Follow these tips to convey the value of your services. You'll improve clients' compliance and keep their pets healthier.

Brenda Tassava, CVPM

1 Choose your words wisely

Replace words like could, hopefully, and recommend with strong ones like should and needs. Consider these examples:

Wrong: "Fluffy could use a dental cleaning. Hopefully, in the near future you might be able to schedule that?"

Right: "Mrs. Jones, Fluffy needs a dental cleaning within the next three months. Let's schedule the appointment now, so we have a plan to prevent her periodontal disease from worsening."

The "right" statement stresses the importance of avoiding future problems. It also directly requests an appointment and gives clients a time frame to choose without resorting to high-pressure sales.

I also suggest saying treatment plan instead of estimate. The preferred phrase addresses the medical issues of a family member, rather than sounding like something you get before fixing a car.

2 Provide visual aids

Giving clients something tangible also improves their perception of your value. For example, dental report cards with photos of the four stages of periodontal disease let clients see their pets' current disease stage and how it will progress without treatment.

Also send every pet owner home with an exam report card. When doctors use their hands to check for lumps and physical changes, clients may assume they're just petting their cats and dogs. A report card explains each body system evaluated and your most valuable service: the complete physical exam. (Click here for a sample report card.)

Some software programs provide full-color anatomical drawings of disease states you can customize, print, and send with clients. Showing pet owners the difference between a normal and diseased organ illustrates your expertise—and the importance of optimal care. And the technology shows clients your hospital practices cutting-edge medicine, another value indicator.

3 Offer hospital tours

Clients must see your quality equipment and facility to grasp the expenses associated with their pets' care. So offer tours of your space, including your hospital ward, surgical, and radiograph areas. Take dental care. Show clients your digital dental radiograph unit, the anesthetic machine, and the monitoring equipment. And tell how a pet dental cleaning differs from a human one to drive home the reasons behind the costs.

4 Help pet owners pay

Has a client ever said, "I only pay $20 when I take my daughter to the pediatrician. Why do veterinarians charge so much?" Answer by providing an itemized treatment plan that shows every element—and its cost— in a procedure. Go further by teaching clients ways to keep the care affordable, like pet insurance. Explain that insurance helps financially prepare for changes to pets' health. Using pet insurance for wellness care saves money in the long run by preventing future medical problems. And helping pets live long, healthy lives is a value clients will truly understand.

Brenda Tassava, CVPM, is hospital administrator at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic and Wellness Center in Indianapolis. Send questions or comments to firstline@advanstar.com

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