The field of medicine has undergone tremendous changes in the last two decades, and the same goes for veterinary practices. The number of pet owners around the world has increased, and there is a greater demand for qualified veterinarians today than ever before. This growth in demand has led to the development of more veterinary medical colleges in the US and Europe.
That being said, independent veterinary clinics are still struggling to compete with corporate-owned veterinary hospitals that have the resources to employ the best vets, technicians, and administrative staff.
If you own an independent veterinary clinic, here are somethings you can do to maintain a competitive advantage against corporate-owned veterinary hospitals:
1. Improve Customer Service
For vets, it isn’t enough to only treat the pet because the animal won’t judge the quality of the treatment—the owner will. Vets must build trusting relationships with their clients, which they can by investing in customer service.
For example, if a client comes in with an emergency, they shouldn’t have to wait 45 minutes for a vet to see their pet. Even if another vet isn’t immediately available, the supporting staff should be collecting the pet’s medical records and gathering any relevant information from the owner that can help build an adequate treatment plan.
When a client walks into, you need to make them feel like they are being cared for and their pets are your number one priority. This proactive approach to treatment and client relationships can help you retain customers.
Also, studies show that clients are more likely to return to the veterinary clinic when they’re assigned the same vet every visit.
2. Collect Feedback
The easiest way to improve customer service is to collect feedback from clients. After every visit, ask clients to fill out a feedback form to find out how satisfied they are with your services. Be open to receiving complaints and suggestions to use the feedback to improve service provision.
3. Show Them You Care
There’s a reason doctors ask patients to come back for follow-ups; these allow them to judge the effectiveness of the treatment. Veterinary clinics should also ask clients to bring their pets back for follow-ups; even if they aren’t available themselves, the technicians can perform a physical examination of the animals to make sure they’re feeling better.
4. Provide Payment Options
Veterinary services in the US are expensive; this causes pet owners to avoid going to the vet and puts the lives of thousands of animals at risk every year.
From studies, we know that clients with pet insurance, a veterinary credit card or a wellness plan for their pets, visit veterinary clinics more often than those who don’t have the finances to spend on pet care.
Offering payment options helps relieve the clients of some of the financial burden they experience and gives them more time to pay their bills. These payment options make your services accessible to a greater number of customers who couldn’t otherwise afford to bring in their pets.
5. Use Veterinary Management Software
Veterinary management software allows veterinary clinics to serve their clients better. Cloud-based veterinary practice management software enables vets to exchange medical records easily and get access to updated information.
Veterinary accounting software lets clinics keep track of payments and monitor cash flow.
Animal Intelligence Software, Inc. supports veterinary practices with veterinary practice management software.
Contact us for more information on how our software can support your business.