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Volume 16, Issue 5
To stand out from the crowd, veterinary practices must take advantage of every online opportunity to showcase their offerings and exceptional service.
Taking care of patients may be your top priority—and rightly so—but we live in a world where people spend quite a bit of time online. That means your online presence is almost as important as your physical facility. Through your practice website, online reviews, and social media, your online presence should highlight what makes your clinic unique and demonstrate to existing and future customers how your practice will meet their pets’ needs. And you need to do this with friendliness, consistency, and the human touch.
A well-designed website will attract new customers, provide in-depth information about pet care, and make it easy to connect with existing and prospective clients alike. Companies report that improving the online customer experience increases loyalty, boosts revenue, and saves the business money,1 and 73% of consumers say a positive experience with a business is key in influencing their brand loyalties.2
Considering that 93% of people have left a website because it didn’t display properly on their mobile device,3 and 53% of visitors will abandon a website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load,4 ensuring mobile friendliness is critical. So, put in maximum effort to create an enjoyable, effective online user experience by making sure your website is informative, easy to navigate, and loads quickly on any device. Also, take time to ensure that your website mirrors your practice’s look and feel.
Some potential clients focus on the veterinarian’s professional training, while others will want to know about the practice’s pet care philosophy. Including this information on your clinic’s website in a way that shows the expertise and dedication of your team gives customers a better idea of how you run your practice.
Considering that 90% of consumers read online reviews before patronizing a business and customers are willing to spend 31% more at a business with excellent reviews,5 earning those positive reviews is critical to your practice’s success. On the other hand, negative reviews can severely impact your bottom line: Businesses risk losing as many as 22% of customers with just a single negative review.6
The best approach to earning a good online reputation is 2 pronged: Ask satisfied clients to provide a positive review of your practice on Google or Yelp, and provide a professional and polite response when the inevitable bad review pops up. It’s best to reach out to dissatisfied clients by phone or see if you can meet them in person to try to resolve the perceived issue.
Social media plays a vital role in client engagement. Research shows that 90.4% of millennials, 77.5% of gen Xers, and 48.2% of baby boomers are active social media users.7 While social media is an easy way to promote your practice, it’s important to note that it’s not a substitute for advertising. Think of social media as a way to develop a 2-way communication channel between you and your clients. The main goal of social media is to encourage clients to share their positive experiences, thus attracting potential new clients.
To give your practice a leg up on the competition, you need to make sure that your online presence is as robust as possible. Once you achieve that, you can sit back and watch a stream of new customers flood through your door.
Sudhir Bhatti is the co-founder and CEO of GrowthPlug, a technology company created to help healthcare practices become modern and efficient and grow online by delivering a patient-first experience.
1. New research from Dimension Data reveals uncomfortable CX truths [press release]. Cision PR Newswire. April 4, 2017. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-research-from-dimension-data-reveals-uncomfortable-cx-truths-300433878.html
2. Clarke D, Kinghorn R. Experience is everything. Get it right. pwc. 2018. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://www.pwc.com/us/en/advisory-services/publications/consumer-intelligence-series/pwc-consumer-intelligence-series-customer-experience.pdf
3. Köhler H. Essential web design stats for 2020 [new research]. HubSpot. Updated February 18, 2020.Accessed September 14, 2020. https://blog.hubspot.com/marketing/web-design-stats-for-2020
4. Grey B. 41 Website speed statistics important to Google. May 26, 2020. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://www.officialbryangrey.com/website-load-time-statistics/
5. Saleh H. The importance of online customer reviews. invesp. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://www.invespcro.com/blog/the-importance-of-online-customer-reviews-infographic/
6. Hinckley S. New study: data reveals 67% of consumers are influenced by online reviews. Moz. September 2, 2015. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://moz.com/blog/new-data-reveals-67-of-consumers-are-influenced-by-online-reviews
7. US social media users, by generation, 2019 (% of population). eMarketer. August 1, 2018. Accessed September 14, 2020. https://www.emarketer.com/chart/226029/us-social-media-users-by-generation-2019-of-population