Here are three ways to help clients afford care and keep pets at optimum health.
As more clients decline services because they can't afford them, you might feel compelled to hold back your recommendations. Fight this urge, says Dr. Karen Felsted, CPA, MS, CVPM, CEO of the National Commission on Veterinary Economic Issues. “You should still recommend the best level of care,” she says. “But everybody in the practice needs to be sensitive to the fact that money is more of an issue for clients than it was in the past.” Here's what you can do:
1. Start with the best-care plan and excel at communicating the value of your products and services. As clients work to make better decisions about where they spend their money, their understanding of why their pets need the products or services you're recommending is crucial. Take the extra time to outline the details.
2. “If explaining the value isn't getting you anywhere, you have to realize that it may be because clients just can't afford it,” Dr. Felsted says. “You can't make people feel bad about that.” Ease the blow by saying, “I understand it's a difficult time. Here's an alternative healthcare option.” Break down the reasons why Plan B isn't as strong as Plan A, but let clients know that the second path is still reasonable-and more affordable.
3. Regardless of clients' financial situations, let them know about your payment options, including third-party payment plans and pet insurance. “Clients might not be aware of these options,” Dr. Felsted says, “and if they can get the information from you, that's good all around.”