How bundling preventives can boost compliance (and profits)
Meghan Bingham, CVPM
Meghan Bingham, CVPM, is a practice manager at West Alabama Animal Clinic in Houston and 2018 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest entrant.
Within one year, compliance for heartworm and flea and tick preventives at our veterinary practice went from 39 to 62 percent.
Proof that bundling two good things into one package can be very appealing. (Shutterstock.com)When my practice first started selling afoxolaner, I noticed that our clients' flea and tick preventive compliance grew. The bad news? The boost seemed to come at the expense of heartworm preventive compliance.
I knew something needed to change, so recognizing that high-quality preventives are expensive, I created a discounted bundle-and-save package to encourage clients to purchase heartworm and flea and tick preventives, rather than one or the other. I offered a flat fee on the packages so clients could choose whichever heartworm and flea and tick preventives they were most likely to administer regularly. I knew it was a risk, but I believed that conveying the importance of complete parasite protection-even, initially, at the sake of our bottom line-would show clients how much we believed in protecting their pets.
With my fingers crossed, I began monitoring our compliance numbers and profit margins. Within three months, compliance for heartworm and flea and tick preventives grew from 39 to 44 percent. A year later, it was at 62 percent, and now we consistently fluctuate between 69 and 72 percent. Our volume more than makes up for our lower profit margins.
My team has been very receptive to the change. The receptionists no longer see clients cringe at the price of preventives, and the doctors can still recommend whichever preventive is best for the pet without having to talk about which one costs the least. But most important, clients see that we really are trying to help them help their pets-they know it's not just about making a sale.
Our goal is always to protect more pets, and bundling lets us do that. Affordable protection = better compliance = more pets protected = better medicine = more revenue for the clinic.
Meghan Bingham, CVPM, is a practice manager at West Alabama Animal Clinic in Houston and 2018 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contestant.