Keeping Clients in Your Veterinary Practice (aka Client Retention)
We often see a common problem in veterinary practices as they start their marketing with us. They’re getting new clients through the door — often using specials and discounted services — but they’re struggling to make ends meet. So, what’s the problem? When you’re looking at how you make your profits in any business, it’s important to know what your client retention rate is.
Remember that scene from The Office where Ryan is quizzing Michael Scott about how expensive it is for a business to maintain a returning client relationship versus landing a new one? The exact number may fluctuate depending on the market, but it’s about five times more expensive to attract a new customer. Those first exam deals you’re offering? The money and time you spend on advertising? These are all cutting into your profit.
Strategies for Client Retention In Your Veterinary Practice
What can you do about it? There are many paths you can take to better client retention in a veterinary practice. It may be time to take a closer look at your customer service, for example. The person answering the phones in a busy practice has a number of important responsibilities, including everything from a pleasant tone to following up on important questions. Are they prepared to answer common questions when people call in? Are they off-puttingly curt? Or are they kind and supportive to the pet owners on the other line? The same questions apply to people walking through the front door, too.
Most pet owners are relying on you to remind them of what their pets need and when they need it. It’s a good idea to invest in a system that offers patient reminders or to make it a priority to call to schedule those annual appointments. Ongoing loyalty programs are especially great for client retention because they tie the pet to the clinic for each and every service they need. Plus, they can help make pet owners aware of the important aspects of preventive care for their pets.
Speaking of client education, campaigns aimed at reminding pet owners about the dangers of certain infections like heartworm can be effective. The visceral reminder of just how deadly certain conditions are can encourage them to bring a pet in when deployed appropriately on places like social media.