Quality, Cost, Convenience: Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad

Meat Loaf’s songwriter, Jim Steinman, was challenged by a friend (actress Mimi Kennedy) to write a ballad along the lines of Elvis Presley’s I Want You, I Need You, I Love You. Steinman, a tragedian of near Shakespearian proportions, decided two out of three would have to do, having Meat Loaf declare:

I want you (I want you) I need you (I need you) There ain't no way I'm ever gonna love you

And so Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad, the first charting single from Bat Out of Hell, was born.

I think Steinman was right. My wife, the first pair of eyes on basically everything I write, insists at this point that I must clarify exactly what I think Steinman was right about. Certainly not relationships. (Love you, Dear.) No, he was right about something far more profound than that. Veterinary business.

There are three key factors consumers will assess your business on when making purchasing decisions:

  • Quality,
  • Cost, and
  • Convenience.

Value triangle

A successful approach to strategic positioning has you optimizing along two of these dimensions, and selecting the remainder as your direction of compromise. In other words, two out of three ain’t bad. The two factors for which you optimize are the levers you pull on to generate value that attracts customers. The third factor, where you quite intentionally come up short, is your opportunity to extract value from the exchange - it represents your margin.

We’ve all been on the consumer end of this. So, look at the trade-offs from a customer perspective, and it’ll start to feel familiar.

You want something done cheaply and on your schedule then quality is going to suffer, and you’ll need to swallow that.

You want something high quality and right there when you need it, it’ll cost ya.

You want a surprising bargain - you’ll have to earn it through an investment of effort. Think of the super cheap, delicious phở for which you once queued almost your entire lunch break (hey, at least you got a lunch break - I’m betting your clinic has PetsApp!).

takeaway food convenience

Now, let’s put our business management lens back on. Think of Amazon, or Chewy, or an online pharmacy, or some other disruptive force trying to eat your metaphorical phở. What do they have in common?

Amazon and convenience

They score relatively well on cost (low cost channel) and convenience (high convenience channel) but relatively low on quality (the “Everything Store” doesn’t scream high-end boutique) especially when framed against a vet clinic.

What about your clinic?

Well, you score well on quality. No doubt about that. You have a team of highly educated, experienced professionals, who pet owners love. All else being equal, pet owners would seek your recommendation on all 24 pet issues they face in a typical year. But they don’t. Why not? Because all else ain’t equal. You cost a fair bit (and so you should), and convenient you are not. Just to get in to see a vet I’ve got to take off work, load my kids into their car seats, and tolerate that my vehicle is going to stink of dog vom for the next 3 weeks. In other words, I love you but I don’t want you, and I hope to hell I don’t need you.

traditional vet clinic convenience

Uh oh, you may have noticed this means veterinary clinics traditionally only optimize along one of the three key dimensions. And, I hate to break it to you, one out of three is bad.

Not to worry. This is where PetsApp comes in. Sure, you’re always going to struggle to compete with stack ’em high, sell ’em cheap online pharmacies - and I’m not sure you should even want to. But PetsApp can help vet clinics compete on convenience. With not only an app but also a widget on your website, a web portal, a search engine optimized website directory listing, and natively on every pet owner’s phone with 2-way SMS text - PetsApp puts your clinic everywhere any pet owner would want you and exactly where they need you. No more searching for your clinic’s number, waiting on hold, rambling voicemails, or games of telephone tennis.

petsapp enable veterinary clinic

Convenient email, SMS, and push notification reminders for vaccines, parasiticides, and appointments show up the Everything Store as nowhere near as convenient as your Exactly-What-Your-Pet-Needs Store. Pet owners don’t have to search for the right food or medication for the right species, for the right weight, in the right quantity, at the correct dose because when they text you asking for “some more pills for Fluffy” you have the context to know exactly what they mean. And with PetsApp you can even take payment there and then. Be grateful to Amazon for training us all to expect to pay at the time of ordering rather than on receipt - you’ll find there are far fewer medications left expiring in the plastic box you keep at reception!

All of this has helped PetsApp-enabled veterinary clinics to achieve market leading Customer Effort Scores of 4.64 out of 5.00. This is solid data, based on a sample of over 120,000 customer interactions.

Would-be disruptors will find that a digitally-enabled veterinary clinic providing joined up online-to-offline experiences for their pet owners is not only more efficient but also incredibly hard to disrupt, and ready to compete. Turns out Presley and Steinman both had it right because two out of three is more than enough for pet owners to want you, need you and love you.

Speak to the pack and find out how we can help your clinic today

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