Are you sure your veterinary clients are aware that your practice now offers digital radiography, laser therapy and a new medication for their itchy dog? Even if they do, are you sure they know why it matters to them?
You’d think veterinary practices would naturally tell clients about a new service or piece of equipment. And, we often think we’re doing a good job of spreading the news. But a lot of what’s obvious to us remains unknown to our clients.
Far too many veterinary practices miss significant revenue because their clients don’t know about new services they offer.
Information creates interest in the minds of pet parents who want the best care for their pets. Plus, imagine the time and stress you could save if a client already understood the value of digital radiography before their pet needed it.
Clients who understand the value of your equipment and services before they need them, are likely to accept your recommendations with enthusiasm.
The fact that you have up-to-date equipment shows your high level of concern for patient care. But those resources have a cost attached to them. And, that cost must be passed on to the client who needs the services.
Educating clients about new services (or old ones for that matter) is more complicated than we might think. And yes, the stakes are high.
3 Benefits From Spreading the News About Your Services
1) You’ll improve client engagement.
Providing information about new services will enhance the level of your client’s engagement.
What is customer engagement? According to website, Access Development:
“Stated simply, customer engagement is the depth of the relationship a customer has with a brand.”
In simple terms, engaged clients trust what you say; unengaged clients don’t.
Engaged clients are more likely to accept your services and products. They’re likely to refer your practice to friends. And, they are loyal to your practice.
Communication that is clear, repeated, and delivered in a variety of forms has the best chance to foster client engagement.
2) The level of client compliance will rise.
Most veterinarians agree: Lack of client compliance is one of the top challenges of practicing quality medicine.
Educating clients about the services and products you offer is a major key to attaining client compliance. That’s because, as Zehavi Enock writes in her article, Dealing With Difficult Clients In The Veterinary Workplace: “An educated client is a compliant one.”
3) Delivering quality patient care will be easier.
No veterinary practice can deliver top quality medicine to patients unless pet owners are willing to pay for those services.
When a client understands the value of the service you recommend, they are far less likely to resist because of cost concerns.
Few of us want to admit it, but most of the time the stress of dealing with clients who balk at paying for our services is avoidable. How? By communicating value before the service is needed.
Why is this so Important?
You can’t assume clients will just know what’s new: You’d think by hearing all the parameters of hematology which their pet is being tested for, clients would realize that your equipment has to be the latest model available. But, without explanation, they will take it for granted. Not to mention all the other clients who could benefit from knowing what’s available to them.
Word of mouth is way too slow: While direct word of mouth is still important, clients of all generations get most of their information through smartphones, tablets and laptops.
Most people get their information from tablets and smartphones. Are you reaching them?
How to Create Interest
So, how do you educate clients and create interest in your new (and old) services? Here are some ideas that may help.
As they say “Rinse and Repeat”: People don’t “get it” the first time they hear something. That’s why late author and salesman Zig Ziglar says, “Repetition is the mother of learning, the father of action, which makes it the architect of accomplishment.”
Ever wonder why we have to endure the same TV commercials repeatedly? We can thank advertising gurus who determined that it normally takes 20 exposures for a customer to buy a product. As The Financial Brand writes, “Research proves messages are more effective when repeated. Yet financial marketers abandon their ads, slogans and brands too soon and much too often.”
The takeaway is we have to use repetition to communicate new knowledge to our clients.
Take advantage of all the channels of communication available to your practice: In addition to repetition, people assimilate information by exposure to various methods of communication.
Not so many years ago, postcard reminders and phone calls were the only options veterinarians had to communicate with clients between visits.
Nowadays, new possibilities materialize almost daily. No, you shouldn’t try to incorporate them all. But you have plenty of options for improving client education.
Ways to Create Interest
Let’s look at a few and their potential for helping you do your job of telling clients what’s new (and old, too) at your hospital.
- An effective website: It’s surprising how many veterinarians tell me they don’t need a website. That’s worrisome because, as time passes by, the reality of lost opportunities is going to become apparent.
As a local business, you need a website because your market demands it. That’s where people look for information when deciding where to do business.
There’s lots of information available to help you set up or improve your business website. You can get started by taking a look at this article on
- An informative blog: Have you seen the commercial where a white-haired grandma gets into a new car and says, “Oh, you mean I can update my blog from here!”
Ever wondered why so many people have tried blogging? Truthfully, there are many reasons. But, here’s the reason you should consider it: blogs are a great way to educate clients.
A client who’s read your blog post about all the benefits of your services and equipment will be happy to pay the fee for your recommendations.
- A consistent presence on social media: If you have any doubts about who’s actually checking out social media pages, take a look at this report from Pew Research.
“Fully 72% of online American adults use Facebook… Usage continues to be especially popular among online women, 77% of whom are users. In addition, 82% of online adults ages 18 to 29 use Facebook, along with 79% of those ages 30 to 49, 64% of those ages 50 to 64 and 48% of those 65 and older.”
The fun and effective ways for using social media to connect and inform clients are limited only by your imagination.
- Email messages: If you are not already collecting email addresses from current clients, start doing it today!
Studies by the Direct Marketing Association consistently show very high return on investment (ROI) numbers for email messaging.
While there are many ways to use email to communicate with clients, a client e-newsletter gives your hospital endless opportunities to educate clients about your services and products.
- Take a look at several veterinary websites for how they’re marketing their services to clients. Include some from nearby hospitals and a few from around the nation.
- Follow a couple of blogs that focus on veterinary medicine for ideas on how to write your club.
- Subscribe to newsletters created by other veterinary practices for tips on how to create your newsletters.
- Don’t have the time? Consider your resource options. For example:
- “Techie” people on your staff.
- Run a Google search for “website services for veterinarians”.
- You may prefer searching for freelance writers or web designers.
- Want to DIY? Check out WordPress.
Now is a Great Time to Tell Your Clients What’s New
Just because your practice is really busy today, there’s no guarantee it will be next year, or even next month.
Keeping a practice healthy for the long haul requires consistent education of current and prospective clients.
Here’s the good news: It’s never been easier to communicate exactly what you want pet owners to know about your services.