The true cost of pet ownership: unexpected expenses and a lifetime of care - Episode 6
See patients more often to boost ROI and relationships
How to get the veterinary team on board with having more conversations with clients instead of missing opportunities for care
Content sponsored by CareCredit
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: So, the lifetime of care research, I think it would be so crucial to have this at a lunch and learn for your hospital for the entire team. Because we're living in different times. This isn't 2020 anymore, where we just don't have the time. Those of you that are tuning in and viewing this, we're like, that sounds all fun and dandy, but I don't have the time. Dr Weinstein, how can we utilize and leverage the CSR from a pet parent who's asking, "Do you guys carry CareCredit?" to the veterinary assistant to the vet tech that's talking about, you know, pet insurance? What does that look like to you?
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: It looks like this, you have a staff meeting, and you don't use the staff meeting to beat your staff up, you know, the "beatings will continue until the morale improves" approach. That doesn't work.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Right.
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Okay, but you have a staff meeting that starts with a whiteboard, and the number 55,000 and the number 45,000 on the whiteboard and you have a question.Ask your staff, "What do you think these numbers mean?" It's like, is that how much you make per month as a veterinarian, you know? No, this is what the value of a pet is, in terms of their their spend on animal care. $55,000 for dog, $45,000 or so for cat, is what a cat owner will spend or a dog owner's spend over the lifetime of their pet. Part of that is spent right here at the veterinary hospital. And we'd like to capture the as much of it as we can with optimal patient care, which means our pets are coming in more often, which means our pets are getting what they need in terms of services, and also what our clients can afford. And if it means they come in and spend a little bit 4 times a year, but they're spending to take care of their pet, that's great. If it means they come in one time a year, and they're spending to take care of their pet...What we're trying to do is understand that when we only see a client once it's missed opportunity. This is opportunity of a return on our relationship: ROR or return on relationship. How much having a lifetime relationship with Dr Christman and his 5, now, dachshunds is, for each of those dachshunds, to our practice. And that helps you understand how we can pay you a higher salary, and how we can have new technologies within our practice, and how we can do a better job of taking care of our clients by by taking and taking better care of their pets for the lifetime of their pet.
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: Yeah. Yeah, it's a great explanation of showing the why behind what we do you know, and showing value to every product and service that's being offered by the hospital. And then what about, you know, you leave the exam room door, you do your thing, you move on, and the pet parent is left with a veterinary technician, let's just say. Walk me through that to say, you know, "Hey, technician, do I really need to get CareCredit? Do I need pet insurance?" You know, what are some sound bites that you can offer the technician and support staff that can help for compliance?
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: Well, first of all, it shouldn't start in the exam room. It should have been communicated to a new client in a series of emails or hyperlinks to your website. We talk about...and talk about your financial policies and financial plans before a new client comes in with an existing client. I would also probably do it virtually before they come in. The more we can provide information to a pet owner at home, the better prepared they are when they come in, in communicating with you across the table. In a veterinary hospital, your clients are only going to absorb about 20% of what you say. "Yada yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, yada, dollars." And so if we can communicate some of this to them ahead of time and give them information ahead of time, what you're hoping that they come in and say is "How do I go about signing up for it?" If you give them the ease of sign up in at home before they come in, if you give them the ease of signing up in even the lobby or in the exam rooms, we need to get, we need to get the easy button for financial care for our clients. And it's much more uncomfortable doing it in an exam room than it is doing ahead of time so that they're coming in with some knowledge so they can ask some questions. And they're actually going to be engaged in the conversation. So step 1, send them some information ahead of time. Step 2 ,at the end, or even before they go into the room, ask them if they'd like some additional information about CareCredit or pet health insurance. And then before they wrap up and leave, ask them if they would like us like to follow up from that standpoint. I think one of the great questions on a welcome to the practice form would be "Is your pet insured? And with which company? And do you have CareCredit?" And then finally, "Would you like more information about CareCredit or pet health insurance to help in providing information about the cost of access to cost of care for your pet?"
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: I like that because some practices or some clients don't know that the CareCredit is being offered. So the fact that you already have that in a questionnaire that they know that yeah, it's here. "Oh, okay. I didn't know that." So it's nice to even have it like...I've seen practices, they have like the cling on in the window when you walk in. You can also have it on their website, but there needs to be a lot more follow through. It's not just one conversation it's multiple, so...
Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA: So get Dr Spock and window? Spock or some other Klingon?
Adam Christman, DVM, MBA: That's a different thing.