Keeping your clients loyal and satisfied is now more important than ever.
We live in a day and age when finding services is easier than ever. We simply click a button, and boom. We know where the nearest veterinary office is. This is why you need to be careful with your client retention. With pet urgent care centers cropping up at every corner, pet parents have an abundance of options to choose from, which may potentially affect your client database. To create a lasting connection with your clients, you must make sure that every interaction is warm, compassionate, and professional—but what does that mean?
Let us take a closer look at the methods that you can use to create all kinds of memorable experiences for your clients, keep them engaged, and transform them into lifelong patrons of your animal clinic instead of losing them to the competition around you.
First, let’s begin by looking at your personal interactions, namely because your clients want to feel like you care about them and their pets—they do not want to feel like they are just a number on your list, or as though they are only there for the money they spend. First impressions matter. As the face of your clinic, your front desk staff play an important role in setting the tone for your clients’ visits. A warm, friendly, and professional greeting can go a long way in making clients feel welcome and at ease, but the opposite is also true. If your clients are not greeted when they come in, or if they are made to feel uncomfortable or unwelcome, they may prefer to go elsewhere to get the services they need.
You should also be providing a genuine experience. More specifically, a genuine connection should be created so your clients feel that their pets are loved and cared for as if they were your own. For example, if the pet starts to have an emotional connection with you, even better. This shows that the pet feels comfortable.
You should aim to make each visit memorable. Try leaving your clients with the feeling that they and their pets were truly valued and respected. Teams can go the extra mile to make pets feel more comfortable and acknowledge that they are scared and nervous if this is the case. If you are providing an exceptional experience, you will increase the likelihood that your clients will have a favorite veterinarian and continue to seek your services instead of going elsewhere.
Now that we have the basics down, let’s explore the practice tools you also want to employ.
Let’s make your client’s experience with you as pleasant as it can be while also making sure that it is optimized so you are using your practice management software to the fullest extent. For example, use timely reminders. Consistent communication is key to maintaining client relationships. You can use your software to send reminders for vaccinations, preventive care, blood work, and so on. By proactively reaching out, you are showing your clients that you care about their pets’ well-being, and you are reminding them that it’s time to come in—that’s a great way to make sure that your clients feel that you genuinely care.
You should also try to stay connected. For example, mass communications can help you with this, whether that’s through a monthly newsletter that keeps your clients informed and engaged or even through a quarterly update. Your clients will appreciate being informed and will view your clinic as a valuable resource for their pets’ health care—and the constant communication does wonders for your credibility.
Likewise, text messages have also been shown to be highly effective. You want to make sure that you send both text and email reminders to cater to clients’ preferences—different generations will want different kinds of communication.
Then, you can also reengage with clients by providing offers, especially if they haven’t been in for a few weeks or months. For example, you can offer a significant discount on blood work, which typically requires an exam. This way, you can recommend additional preventive care as well while reminding your client that proper care is done on a recurring basis.
Finally, you should always have a user-friendly website—that is essential for client satisfaction. Make it easy for clients to request appointments, refills, or new patient forms, or you will end up with clients who choose to go elsewhere simply because it’s more convenient for them to do so. This will help you as well. Streamlining the process makes it a lot easier for teams to stay on track, because not only are these features making your clients’ experience easy from the start, but they will also expedite the appointment, enabling your staff to have patient history before a client arrives. Remember: If you do not have these features on your website, add them— because you can be sure your competition does.
Social media is a great tool for connecting with your clients and building a sense of community, especially because you can get them involved by creating content for you. However, even if you create your own content, being active on social media platforms is crucial. You can interact with clients in their daily lives, share valuable information, and showcase your clinic’s personality through your content, which makes your clients feel attached to your clinic.
For clinics with remote marketers, it can be challenging to obtain on-site content. One way to address this is by involving clients in the content creation process. Encourage them to submit pet photos and captions through a QR code linked to a form (and note that only good-quality pictures will be selected). This is user-generated content that can then be shared on social media, making your clients feel valued and engaged while also giving you free content to post.
Finally, low-cost social media ads can be an effective way to reach potential clients as well. Create targeted ads focusing on pet owners—I created ads targeted at users within a 30-mile radius and aged from 21 to 65+ years. Ads that provide valuable information and education can help showcase your clinic’s expertise while raising awareness about essential pet care topics. For example, you can use something along the lines of the following:
“Did you know that if you miss just 1 month of heartworm prevention, a heartworm infection could develop? The next dose you give will not have any effect on the growing wormlike parasite, and this could be fatal.
"Heartworms are life-threatening parasites that migrate from the bloodstream to the heart and arteries. Continue giving your dog and cat monthly heartworm medication for all 12 months of the year. Yes. Even if your feline friend is indoor only. Schedule your pet’s exam today to discuss preventive care.”
The bottom line is that you want to make clients want to come back. It’s important they feel like family as opposed to just a client ID number. Be visual. Social media is especially important, so maximize this to the best of your ability, and finally, ease is important—your website needs to have the option to set up appointments online. Best of luck.