Chip in to promote microchipping


Does the idea of lost pets get under your skin? Our veterinary practice barked up the right tree by offering free microchips at the Barking at the Moon Dog Festivaland created a lasting connection with their community that improved the business and boosted team morale.

I've seen firsthand how prevalent lost pets are throughout Alabama, so offering microchips is a cause close to my heart. Our shelter and rescue partners are constantly flooded with lost pets, and I felt it was important for our private practice, Mercy Animal Hospital, to make pet identification a community priority. I knew I'd need to overcome two challenges:

Challenge 1: Get staff buy-in for community outreach.

Who wants to volunteer on weekends after you've worked all week? Still, once we organized and saw the difference we could make, our team's enthusiasm was contagious.

Challenge 2: Make it affordable.

I pitched the idea of a microchip clinic to the owner of the microchip company we chose as our vendor. He was thrilled to hear that we wanted to feature their microchips at our festival. He threw in the first 100 microchips for free and provided t-shirts for our staff to wear and banners to display at the event.

It was simply amazing to watch the faces of our team members as they educated pet owners who would have never once thought about the importance of a microchip. And once their pet was chipped, you could see the sense of pride pet owners felt that they had done something important for their animal.

When all was said and done, we'd chipped more than 75 animals, and it cost us only $125. We could have done more if we had more time! And all 75 pet owners returned to Mercy within the next six months for pet care.

I've heard from many of these clients that their first interaction with us was to have their pet chipped at the festival. Many say they would have never even thought about pet microchipping if they hadn't been introduced to the concept during the event. We have since expanded our pet ID program through further partnerships with a collar company and an engraving system. We offer an ID package for $49 that includes a microchip, collar of choice and an engraved and personalized pet ID tag.

What we learned

Return on investment can't simply be measured in dollars and cents. ROI for businesses that provide service must always include community outreach and client development and retention.

At our first staff meeting after the festival, it was not me leading the conversation about the importance of community involvement-it was the team. The more we work outside our walls the more successful we will be inside our walls.

The results are clear: Over the last three years we have increased revenue by more than 25 percent. We continue to welcome more than 130 new clients each month. Our clients are happier and excited to see us out in the community. And our team has a sense of pride that they aren't just employees who clock in and clock out everyday. They are part of something much larger-a business that maintains focus on the public-and they are proud to present Mercy Animal Hospital.

Wesley Taylor is the practice manager Mercy Animal Hospital in Gardendale, Alabama, and one of the 10 finalists for the Veterinary Economics Practice Manager of the Year award, sponsored by Nationwide. Read more about past Practice Manager of the Year nominees and winners as well as new nominees in the next few months at

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