How clients feel about curbside care—and how to make it better

April 22, 2020
dvm360 Staff

Pet owners are largely enjoying the curbside service they're currently receiving at veterinary practices. Here's why, plus a look at strategies to implement now and after the COVID-19 crisis ends.

"I think they're really liking it," says Stacee Santi, DVM, president of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association and CEO of Vet2Pet, referring to the curbside care being offered at many veterinary clinics during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I think we're finally expediting some care, and I think [our clients] have wanted that for a long time,” Dr. Santi says in an interview with dvm360's Chief Veterinary Officer Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, and two other veterinarians.

For Caitlin DeWilde, DVM, creator of The Social DVM and Missouri Veterinary Medical Foundation board member, the transition to curbside service started off "a little rocky," but things smoothed out once clients understood the severity of this pandemic. "They're grateful that we can continue taking care of their pets while keeping them safe," she reports.

Kathryn Primm, DVM, CVPM, who practices at Applebrook Animal Hospital in Ooltewah, Tennessee and hosts shows on PetLife Radio, says curbside service has been well received at her practice as well. “The only negative pushback I’ve gotten is that people don’t really love that we aren’t booking elective things right now," she says.

Although many clients are embracing curbside care, the face-to-face interaction with veterinarians and veterinary teams is still missing. To help fill the void, practices are coming up with new and innovative ways to stay in touch with their clients, whether its through an app or courtesy phone calls.

In the video below, Drs. Santi, DeWilde and Primm share the strategies they're using to improve communication with clients and enhance the curbside care experience during the pandemic. Like other practices we've spoken with, these practitioners plan to make some of these new practices permanent once the crisis is over.

Here are some of the topics they address:

  • Managing your parking lot
  • Using technology to communicate with clients
  • Collecting payments digitally
  • Creating a video recording synopsis
  • Improving client compliance
  • Creating and emailing written report cards
  • Scheduling and making follow-up phone calls
  • Working on internal customer service
  • Sorting medical records and updating contact information
  • Utilizing social media to connect with pet owners

Click here to view "Telemedicine and COVID-19: Where do we begin?"—the first of their conversations on this topic.