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6 tips to make 2019 the best year ever for your veterinary business

Posted in Guest Blogger @ Nov 21st 2018 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Practice
6 Tips To Make 2019 The Best Year Ever In Your Veterinary Practice

There is more (veterinary and non-veterinary) competition out there – it’s getting tougher every month - and resting on your laurels will ensure that you fall behind.

It’s time to set your practice up for a fabulous 2019. Waiting until January 1, 2019, is leaving it far too late.

These 6 strategies are simple, inexpensive and they work – Enjoy!

  1. Data Capture
  2. Implement Surveys
  3. Conduct Online Audits
  4. Review Your Reception Area & Staff
  5. Conduct Mystery Shops
  6. Value Relationships

TIP 1: Data Capture

Capturing data is one of the simplest things we can do as a business – but surprisingly, very few Veterinary businesses are doing it. When you include this as one of your front desk’s key practices you will find yourself ahead of the game.

For all Veterinary practices, clinics, hospitals, service providers, include a field of ‘How did you hear about us?’ or my personal favourite ‘Who do we get to thank for suggesting you come here? in your new patient history forms – or better still, get your receptionist(s) to ask this of all new clients.

If you have a Veterinary website, include a downloadable item that requires a data capture field such as name and email address.

If you are a Veterinary specialist, clinic or hospital, regularly review your referrer data through your practice management software. Be aware of who your top referrers are, who is increasing and who is dropping off. And then do something with this data.

Why is data capture important?

Analysis of this data will provide you with valuable insights on how your clients found you and allow you to develop marketing strategies based on results.

Once you have the data captured, be sure to track it against different criteria including time periods and geography and correlate it back to different marketing activities, i.e. Google, AdWords, social media posts, newspaper article, education seminar; so you have a consistent easy to read record of new patient acquisition based against activities.

This analysis will then help you to determine what activity is delivering results and where to spend your time and marketing money in the future.

Don't forget to say "Thank you"

And don’t forget to thank ALL your referrers and fans. Remember ‘What gets rewarded gets repeated’.

How do you thank them? Anything from as simple as a ‘Thank You’ phone call to a small gift or voucher (redeemable in-house’ or elsewhere).

You can even go one-better and have a convivial get together for your top 40 referrers once a year. This will spread the word (the good word about you…), even faster!

TIP 2: Implement Surveys

Surveys can be a powerful tool and results are often very surprising. A well-constructed survey can be used to dig deep into what your client is actually experiencing at the coal face of your business and most importantly; can identify necessary changes.

Quantitative research is quite a science and data is easy to skew, so survey questions need to be well considered.

Survey questions should be balanced to highlight the negative and positive sections of your practice. If the survey just tells you the negative things that can’t be changed it won’t be valuable to you.

Carefully work through your survey questions to ensure you are able to use the results you obtain as a basis to identify areas of strength, weaknesses and opportunity and implement any necessary changes.

Surveys can be quickly performed at reception. Or you can sms or email your clients a link to something like Survey Monkey. Limit your questions to 4 or 5 VERY simple questions. And make sure you include a ‘Magic Wand’ question as well. ("If you could wave a magic wand and change, add or have us do something differently, what would it be?")

If you have a paid subscription to Survey Monkey – then you can AUTOMATICALLY have the stand-out surveys posted to Google, Yelp or similar. This really adds to your on-line credibility.

TIP 3: Conduct Online Audits

There is so much information online now, but are you sure your online information is accurate?

Contact details

Conduct an online audit on Yellow pages, White pages, True Local and other directory listings to check if your online details are correct. Check your practice details as well as each individual doctor’s details. Look for and check your address, phone numbers, email address and look for spelling errors.

Even inconsistency in something as simple as how your practice phone number is written can deter Google. For example 48721144 versus 4872 1144 versus 02 48721144

What is being said about you online?

Check Google+, Rate MD, Facebook and Yelp and see if there are comments about your business online. If not, then it might be time for you to consider a digital media program.

TIP 4: Review Your Reception Area and Staff

The very first face-to-face experience your client has of you is your reception area. What is this First Impression like? Remember you only have 2-3 seconds to make a first impression - one and that first impression ‘sticks’.

What does it look like?

Take the time to look at your reception area through the eyes of your clients and ask what impression are you creating?

There are some really basic things you can do to improve the look and feel of your reception.

De-clutter: Remove old torn magazines, pamphlet piles and handwritten sticky taped signs. Replace with fresh new magazines, a specified pamphlet zone and make sure signs are professionally produced and hung.

What impression does your staff create?

Do they need a name tag or a uniform refresh?

Do they greet clients and smile?

Do they ‘pat the puppy-dogs and kiss the pussy cats…’?

A smile is one of the most powerful tools in your practice sales force arsenal and can set a positive impression and experience before any clinical interaction. If your client and patient are treated well at your reception, it will help to ensure you experience a more relaxed consultation; that they will want to come back; and will recommend your practice to their friends and family

TIP 5: Conduct Mystery Shops

Mystery shops are one of the best ways to uncover the strengths and weaknesses of your practice. Ideally, they should be conducted in person, via phone and online every 6 months to benchmark results and improvements.

Mystery shops should look at uncovering:

  • Call answer times in peak periods
  • On-hold procedures
  • Quality and correctness of the information given
  • Accessibility
  • Caller/visitor experience

TIP 6: Value Relationships

Remember that strong relationships are the most important part of a service-based business.

What are you doing to strengthen your relationships with your clients and/or referrers? Implement some basic outreaches such as a practice newsletter to keep in touch and include clinical updates as well as some fun items to break down barriers.

Over to you....

Now it’s up to you. Don’t just say “Nice article…” and move on. This time actually do something with this information!

Take action yourself. Or delegate to a trusted, motivated Team member.

Enjoy getting better!

Any questions for Diederik? Ask them in the Comments section below.

About Diederik

Diederik Gelderman BVSc, MVS graduated from the University of Sydney with First Class Honours in 1977.

Besides his veterinary work, Dr Gelderman is also a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer and world-renowned coach to veterinarians wanting to improve their profitability. He has coached and consulted with more than 350 small to medium enterprises in a diverse range of industries, and has also held workshops/seminars around the world, including in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, USA, South Africa and around Europe, both for smaller organisations and through his Turbo Charge Your Practice Workshops.

 

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