Online pharmacies: Catch more clients with honey, not vinegar

October 20, 2017
Patrick Fabricatore

Instead of outright refusing prescription requests, your veterinary team can make themselves approachable to clients in search of the perfect solution for their pets.


And the finalists are ...

Patrick Fabricatore is one of 10 finalists in the 2017 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year contest. Click right here to read a little from all the finalists, enjoy the stories about the finalists as they slowly unfold on this page, and find out the big winner at Fetch dvm360 in San Diego in December.

When internet pharmacies came to veterinary medicine, most hospital management teams took it personally. For me, it often felt like the client trusted someone else with a job that used to only be ours. Management experts crammed us with advice on the best way to capture lost revenue. Everything was on the table-from flat-out denying client requests for prescriptions to fill elsewhere to letting the pharmacy go and focusing on other services.

Don't be judgy

Me? I stopped taking it personally when veterinary clients took their business to online pharmacies. Our hospital stopped refusing prescriptions that we'd otherwise have filled in our hospital. We focused on explaining the strengths and benefits of purchasing the products with us. We showed off our promotional deals (buy enough, get a free dose), our fully stocked-and-ready-to-dispense pharmacy and our doctors available to answer product-related questions.

The key was staying positive and not getting frustrated with clients for asking to fill prescriptions somewhere else.

Did positivity work?

Most of the time, clients realize through a soft, no-pressure approach that not only are we convenient, but that we're also often the most affordable option.

By no longer denying medications but rather embracing the client through continuing support for the best approach to medicine, we've had the greatest impact with staff that understand and truly support your decision.

Of course, we all hope clients buy the products through us. But simply supporting clients and focusing on our real benefits-better price points, instant availability and professional product knowledge-has won us the best outcome. Clients trust us to take this approach-the approach that always has the best interest of pets in mind.

Patrick Fabricatore is practice manager at Perkiomen Animal Hospital in Palm, Pennsylvania.