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Wellness Plans in your veterinary practice - the OTHER side of the coin

Posted in Client Service @ Jun 15th 2016 - By Dr Diederik Gelderman, Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice
Wellness Plans The Other Side Of The Coin 1

Veterinary wellness Plans are NOT for everyone & there are many traps for young players

The Veterinary world is being inundated with conversations about Wellness Plans – everywhere; the internet, Facebook, print magazine, on-line magazines and at conferences and other CE events.

Everywhere I go I’m asked – “Help me implement a wellness plan?”, “How do I implement a wellness plan?”, “The practice down the road has a wellness plan so I need one also, where do I find the exact details on how to develop a wellness plan?”, etc.

Let me share this thought; Wellness plans are NOT for everyone and there are many ‘traps for young players.’

Wellness Plans are NOT for everyone

I get AT LEAST one phone call a week from a practitioner asking me, “How do I stop, get out of the wellness plan that I have in the clinic – it’s driving me broke!” or “It’s driving my Team and me CRAZY!”

Okay – I could go through in great detail, all the sticking points that make wellness plans challenging to incept and have running smoothly.

Things like:

  • The logistics of managing the monthly billing and payments, administration and logistics without having to put on extra staff
  • What products and services to include and which to exclude in the plan and how many ‘tiers’ or ‘levels’ of plans to have
  • How to get Team buy in and get them to actively SELL wellness plans – realistically you need 25%-40% of your pets on the plans to make them viable and successful
  • How to get the message across to pet owners about wellness plans not being pet insurance and the difference between the two
  • What to do if people use all the services on offer and then the pet dies and they believe they can (and do) stop paying
  • Similarly, how to manage people who have not used all the services they are entitled to in the year and demand a refund or want the services ‘rolled-over’ to the next year
  • What action to take if staff can’t or won’t ‘sell’ wellness plans to the client

I see many practices having many more logistics problems and challenges than those. But, those sticking points above cover most of the challenges that practices which want to implement wellness plans face.

Those sticking points that I’ve listed are enough to get most practice owners and managers to SERIOUSLY consider whether they want to implement wellness plans in their practice.

The major sticking point of Wellness Plans

But there is ONE MAJOR sticking point that most people who implement wellness plans do not think of until the plan is well and truly in place and they start to run into it (this problem).

This is the major reason why a significant percentage of practices end up ditching their wellness plans from their practice.

This sticking point is the one of - CULTURE.

When you have a wellness plan ‘working’ in your hospital, you typically get busy with low value work and have a lot less or even no time to service your ‘A’ clients who want your time, attention and expertise and are happy to pay full ‘whack’ for it…..

But in many cases you can’t service those ‘A’ grade clients the way they’d like to be serviced – because you’re so busy working with ‘C’ and ‘D’ (and sometimes ‘B’ clients) and doing discounted work

The type of client you attract with wellness plans are the Cs and Ds.

A grade clients typically do NOT avail themselves of discounted wellness plans or discounted services.

Your practice will become busy, busy, busy with a well implemented and functioning wellness plan, this does NOT allow you the luxury of extended consults with your ‘good’ or favourite clients to ‘shoot the breeze’, develop or maintain that ‘friendship’ and relationship like you used to do before the days of wellness plans.

What’s more you don’t like working with C and D grade clients. Typically they do not have your (and your practice’s) vision, purpose or values around pets and pet care.

They are not your ‘ideal’ client, they do not match your client Avatar and so you eventually no longer look forward to coming to work and having a GREAT day like you did when you were working with primarily ‘A’ clients.

That’s what I hear from the clients who call me or call me in in order to help them either dismantle their practice wellness plan or to turn it into ‘modified’ wellness plan which ties in and embraces the practice’s vison and core values.

For example, a wellness plan targeted to senior pets, or dental care or even adult wellness.

This ‘modified’ wellness plan scenario serves as the best model to satisfy all outcomes and everyone’s need.

Wellness plans are a great way to drive business and create loyalty with your clients,” Taaffe said. “However, offering wellness plans does take more time and investment than simply making plans available. It takes a commitment to educate and work with your clients on understanding the importance and value of preventive care.”

If you have  a question for Diederik about Wellness Plans, why not ask him in the Comments section below?

If you enjoyed reading this you may also be interested to read another Vetanswers Blog Post: The Value of Wellness Plans - from a veterinary client's perspective

About Diederik


Guest blogger, Dr. Gelderman is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Trainer. He began coaching veterinary professionals with his Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice seminar, in 2004, to a small group of associates. In 2009, the seminars expanding internationally to Hong Kong, NZ, Europe and the US.

Dr. Gelderman has coached and consulted with more than 350 Small to Medium Enterprises in a diverse range of industries. For more information visit 'Turbo Charge Your Practice'.

Click here to visit the 'Turbo Charge Your Veterinary Practice' Page in the Vetanswers Business Directory


David Butchart @ Jun 23rd 2016 6:53pm
They way to get all clients interested is not to discount anything and offer the total years cost smoothed out with 12 monthly payments. Just because a corporate down the road is offering a discount doesn't mean a private practice needs to offer the same. Be different and offer value rather than price. The clients that want a discount aren't the ones we want anyway unless you want to promote that veterinary services are a commodity that can be shopped around. If we want vet practices to thrive and have great cultures with great staff clearly discounting our services is not the way to go.
Judy @ Jun 24th 2016 1:05pm
Thanks David, I totally agree. It should never be about discounting but about offering great value.

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