Inactive clients visit veterinary practices after receiving test email


A customizable letter brought an average of 128 lapsed clients per veterinary practice in six monthsand they spent around $20,000. Could the free tool work for your veterinary hospital too?

There are two ways to get more visits to a veterinary clinic: (1) Find new clients, and (2) get current clients to come in more often. The former is way tougher than the latter. And now the latter could be even easier, thanks to new tools from the industry group Partners for Healthy Pets.

How can it help your practice? Click here, automatically create an inactive-client email (with or without a $25 discount for an upcoming practice visit) and send it to clients you identify who haven't been in in a while.

A sample look at the cat-and-dog customizable email. Cat-only and dog-only versions are also available.Before offering this tool to all veterinary practices, Partners for Healthy Pets tested the program for six months with 1,612 practices that are Vetstreet customers. The results, according to AAHA CEO Michael Cavanaugh, DVM, DABVP, were impressive:

> Cat owners responded well. "We all know it can be challenging to get cats in for regular exams," Cavanaugh says. "The data in the study showed there was actually a slightly better response from cat owners than dog owners."

> Practices saw an average of 128 patient visits from formerly inactive clients within six months of implementation. Practices also generated an average of more than $20,000 in revenue from the targeted population of previously inactive clients, Cavanaugh says.

> Long-lapsed clients came back. Within the first two months of enrollment, 38 percent of clients who reengaged with their practices had been inactive for more than two years. "This is a great reminder that focusing on client reengagement pays off," Cavanaugh says. "Don't be afraid to go after clients who've been gone a long time!"

Cavanaugh attributes the success of the inactive-client program to two major features that set it apart from other typical reminder programs:

1. Better criteria for targeted marketing. The program uses the client's visitation history, not a timetable for a specific service (for example, rabies vaccination). The program asks practices to identify pet owners who had been inactive for a specific time period.

2. A better message. Instead of a service-specific reminder that doesn't focus on the relationship between the pet, the owner and the veterinary practice, these reminders explain to pet owners that you know they want to provide great care for their pets but often have busy lives that make regular checkups hard to schedule. They also show a sincere concern for pets' health and emphasize the importance of those checkups and the fact that annual exams are as important as food and love, Cavanaugh says.

Led by the AVMA and the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), Partners for Healthy Pets (PHP) is a  collaborative alliance of more 100 veterinary associations, colleges of veterinary medicine and animal health companies all committed to a vision of improved overall health for pets. For more information, you can dig into the white paper (PDF) or go straight to the website for a customizable inactive-client letter.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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