Do You Know The Number One Factor That Determines Whether a Client is Likely to Visit Your Practice? It’s NOT What You Think!
FUN FACT: The number one factor that determines whether a client is likely to visit your veterinary practice is whether or not you have parking!
Wait, what? So it’s not necessarily your veterinary team, the potential care you might provide, or the cost of your services that is the INITIAL drawcard?
When I first heard this, my mind was blown … but the more I thought about it, the less surprised I became.
Changing client loyalty
Client loyalty has definitely changed over the last few years. This is not necessarily negative if, for example, they are not receiving the service they are looking for. But it’s certainly frustrating if it’s because they are chasing a cheaper option (or, more often than not, a perceived cheaper option).
How often do you see a patient, generate a diagnosis (or working diagnosis) and then prescribe a specific treatment or management option, only for that client not to return for their recheck?
Is it because the patient got better / the problem resolved?
Is it because the client is worried about spending more money?
Or is it because they are unhappy with the service provided and have moved to a different practice?
How often do you follow up with them to find out – or would you rather not know? Or perhaps you would like to follow up, but you just don’t have the time to do so!
There is no escaping how busy our practices are; however, I truly believe this is our new normal. Our appointment lists are not going to be getting any less busy any time soon, so it’s time to create some systems and processes that ensure we are not leaving money on the consult table, so to speak.
How to foster a loyalty culture with your clients
Below are my top 5 recommendations for fostering a loyalty culture with your clients.
1. Nurse Clinics
Client-nurse interactions go such a long way to building solid relationships, particularly as they are an opportunity to provide clients with high-quality information specifically customised to their pet’s needs
2. Always pre-book, re-check/revisit appointments
Always book recheck/revisit appointments before the client leaves the practice. These don’t necessarily need to be physical appointments; they could be phone consults. Or nurse calls / check-ins. But book it in, there and then – because what gets scheduled gets done.
Follow-ups by checking in with your client by phone, email, text or whatever means of communication you prefer if (when) a client does not attend their recheck appointment. Your support staff or nursing team can do this, and so long as the right questions are asked (see #5), it can actually provide you with some really useful information
4. Client education events
Your client education events don’t need to be presented solely by the vets; it’s actually a great opportunity for our veterinary nurses to step into the spotlight and share their knowledge. They are also fantastic opportunities for clients to get to know different members of the veterinary team, which is very helpful when the inevitable time comes when “their” vet is unavailable.
5. Client satisfaction surveys
I can feel you rolling your eyes at me, but bear with me. A short survey sent to clients following an interaction with your practice can be really eye-opening and provide you with some actionable information about the client experience you might not be aware of.
I would love to hear what you and your team are currently doing in your practice to promote client loyalty! And let me know if you implement any of the above!