Will Monk - CTO & Co-founder of PetsApp·2 March 2023
It’s that age old question; how do we get more, without doing more?
But could it be that the greatest hack there is you already have in your arsenal?
Mastering pet owner communication through utilising reminders is a great way to get yourself in front of your clients without having to physically place yourself in front of them!
A reminder is an alert, which can be used to keep pet owners compliant with your veterinary recommendations.
A reminder could be sent via:
Reminders are a perfect way to begin mastering the art of current pet owner communication needs. They can maximise client retention and require minimal effort.
So, why are reminders so important?
Well, they can generate and maintain those two visits per year, on average that every pet owner needs to come in with their pet.
But if the pet owner is coming in anyway, you might ask; ‘what’s the point of reminding them?’.
It’s simple, they might visit a vet twice a year, but they may also visit two different clinics, one for each of those two visits, how can you be sure that either of those visits will be to you?
Reminders are the easiest and most efficient way to keep your clients bonded to your clinic and ensure that they are directed back to you, time after time.
It is this continued return and yearly schedule curation that will grow a loyal following within your pool of patients.
So, your health check and vaccine reminders are super important to make sure that you're getting those patients back in, year after year. Now we’ve got that cleared up, let's look at how we can maintain relevant reminder strategies.
Generic reminder strategies are no longer enough to meet the needs and expectations of the new “near me” generation. Therefore, given that zip/post code is the number one predictor of the vet a pet owner would choose, are you doing enough to ensure those two visits come straight back to you?
The “near me” generation or Millennials are the largest pet owning generation. They want curation followed by informed consumption. They need multiple touch points before deciding and they expect trustworthy, fast communication. In fact they will often vanish after bad experiences, “ghosting” or worse, sharing their negative experiences to deter others from following in their path! But as well as demoters, Millennials are often huge promoters, driven by advocacy. Sign up a Millennial and they will bring older generations with them too. Obvious when you think about it, as they help in curating and directing their parents' digital pathways and online exploration.
All this combined makes the ‘vets near me’ Google search your biggest competitor when it comes to client retention. That is unless you can negate the need or capitalise upon it! With only two touch points a year (on average) but 8 million + search results, stop your clients leaking to non veterinary influencers on social media, who haphazardly dish out "advice". Give your clients a trusted place to come back for advice by seeding it in the first place. Be proactive in guiding their behaviour and ask yourself:
1) Are my recommendations sinking in or is compliance being reduced? 2) How are new clients going to find me?
Let’s take the example of a millennial owner bringing their pet in for a booster when they’re two years old. You have 10 minutes to do the service required, and answer any questions. How do you then also find time to actually advocate for any additional procedures that this pet needs, for example a dental check up or cleaning?
Offload the heavy lifting to technology by sequencing the touch-points that the client needs to make their decision. Drip-feed useful, contextual information over time. Omni-channel communication is now the baseline for a great experience with a little bit of everything (App, web, sms, laptop, phone) to gently guide them from one point to the next. Keeping your pet parents informed will cut through the noise, so don't change your behaviour in the consultation room!
Instead, log a zero cost item in their invoice and build a sequence of events to build a relationship that takes them on a journey, with defined calls to action for them to follow on what to do next, when and why. And don't forget to capture those promoters!
The greatest strategy for countering non-veterinary influencers on social media is by creating engaging reminders that resonate with the generations of pet owners you serve. Doing so can help in building stronger connections with your pet owners and as a result improve their compliance with your recommendations. Millennials in particular want a trusted source they can establish strong, lifelong relationships with.
Use this top tips list of time saving compliance activities that you can incorporate into your reminders schedule.
For more points of learning on reminders, see Will Monk’s (PetsAPP CTO) webinar ‘Mastering Pet Owner Communication: Maximise Client Retention with Minimal Effort’.