Practice management blunder No. 1


Competing on price is the biggest slip-up you can make. Here's why.

Competing on price is a common—and costly—strategy frequently used by veterinarians to either attract new clients or retain existing ones. The truth is most clients only consider price the ultimate deciding factor when everything else is perceived to be equal—which is almost never. There's almost always something that gives one practice an edge over others. So the real competitive advantage belongs to the practice with the highest perception of value, not the one with the lowest fees.

The client's perception of value is based on the total experience, which includes not just the quality of care but also less tangible factors, such as helpfulness, friendliness, and the personal touch. These values let practices retain a competitive edge, even if they charge slightly higher fees.

To expand clients' perception of value at your practice, schedule a staff meeting and consider these topics:

  • What are the key components of excellent service and client satisfaction in a veterinary practice? How important is keeping appointments on time, keeping the practice spotlessly clean, and answering questions?

  • Think of a time when you were shopping, dining, or traveling where the service was terrific and the employees exhibited the behaviors that you associate with excellent service. What made the experience memorable? How can you incorporate those behaviors into your practice?

  • Think of a time when you experienced horrible service, and identify the behaviors that you found off-putting or annoying. Are there places you'll never return because people were rude, short-tempered, or inattentive?

Discussing these questions should be a lively, interactive, team-building exercise, and these questions raise team members' awareness of behaviors—positive and negative—that impact people's satisfaction with the services they receive. As a result, you'll enhance client satisfaction, give your practice a competitive edge, and reduce price comparisons.

Bob Levoy

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