Maximizing virtual client touchpoints
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA
Ideas for improving client relationships during curbside care that don’t cost much but have a big payoff in terms of bonding clients to your practice well beyond the pandemic.
One of the advantages in my role at MJH Life Sciences is that I get to speak with so many colleagues. I love hearing about the creative ways you are providing excellent client service. As we continue to evolve how we practice veterinary medicine, I want to share a golden “op-paw-tunity” you may be overlooking to improve client relationships, and it’s sitting right in your parking lot.
While their dog is being evaluated for lameness and arthritis, for example, consider sending push notifications to the client’s smart phone with video content about what causes lameness, and how it is evaluated and treated. Providing this information is known as priming the pet parent, and it increases client loyalty and trust while fostering better decision-making.
Push notifications are also a great way to send quick reminders to waiting pet parents. “Don’t forget Charlie’s heartworm prevention. Let us know what you need and we can get it ready for you while you are waiting.” Or “check out our online pharmacy while you’re waiting. Remember heartworm disease is a year-round threat in both dogs and cats.”
Make anxious pet parents as comfortable as possible in their vehicle by bringing them a cup of coffee or tea and having a staff member talk with them while remaining socially distant. Going the extra mile shows that you value your clients as people and not just as another “appointment.”
Consider having waiting pet parents take a survey on their smart phone. What do they like about the practice? What areas need improvement? What additional services would they like your clinic to provide? This type of feedback provides crucial information for you, and most clients will be happy to participate.
Send clients snapchats, Instagram stories, or pictures of their pets receiving wags and kisses from your hospital team. This not only provides comfort to nervous pet parents, it increases team morale and creates free marketing for your practice when clients share, post, comment, and engage.
Share educational content from your practice’s YouTube Channel (if you don’t have one, choose a team leader or marketing firm to help you with one) or from other sources your practice supports. This serves both to educate the client and provide effective distraction. You can even create and share a video from the pet’s perspective showing what the experience is like from curbside to physical exam.
These next 2 creative ideas may not be possible, depending on your location, weather, availability, etc, but are worth sharing because they showcase the amazing creativity of our profession. One hospital is requesting the help of waiting clients to create a mural of their logo on the side of their hospital. Pet parents receive a paintbrush and a number assigned to the tile(s) they can paint. Another hospital is asking waiting pet parents to plant a bulb in the hospital’s garden on behalf of their family. They then write their name on a tag so when the bulbs bloom, the hospitals can show how wonderfully their hospital has "blossomed.”
These simple ideas do not cost much but go a long way. Take advantage of the time pet parents are waiting on you to help bond them further to your hospital and create peace of mind during uncertain situations. Keep on innovating. And always remember to take a deep breath…you’ve got this!