Thom Jenkins·17 April 2023
This week Dr. Thom Jenkins explains how getting the balance between quality, cost and convenience can revolutionise a clinics understanding of just how competitive their new veterinary business model can be.
In 2007 hoping to piggy back on to the ever increasing trend of 'pets', a group of marketers decided that the future of pet care was going to be robotic pets. Companion pets that wouldn't get sick, need walking or ever throw up on your pillow. However, fast forward just over 15 years and a global pandemic it turns out that there's something intrinsic to picking up the faecal matter of another species that we humans find therapeutic! In other words part of the value of owning an actual, real life pet comes from the effort and care we invest in them. And yet despite almost every household having at least one pet, around 92% of all pet care issues still go unaddressed.
Why? Well, traditionally veterinary clinics have always done well at serving pet owners at point of need, but a much worse job of servicing pet owners at point of curiosity. And as veterinary professionals we know that pet owners, alone are not best placed to decide what is critical versus what is just a curiosity.
Jack Ma Yun, the founder of Alibaba possibly said it best:
"The boundary between offline and online disappears as we focus on full-filling the personalised needs of each customer"
And so while we can't upload fluffy to the cloud no matter how much they might look like one, we can digitally extend clinics to improve fragmented pet owner experiences. Not only to the benefit of pet owners and their pets but to veterinary teams too.
One really helpful, framing business model is understanding there are three dimensions that any given business can compete on. These are quality, cost and convenience.
Veterinary clinics are very high quality touch points in the pet care journey. Pet owners love and trust their local veterinary clinic, but it's always going to be a high cost touch point for them in their pet care journey. Even if you're trying to be an affordable practice, your services (as they should be) are still going to be a relatively expensive touch point because genuine, good quality medical care will always come at a high price point; we've little say in that other than to make sure that the level and quality of care matches the money spent.
Where we as vets fall down is on convenience. We're quite inaccessible, quite inconvenient as a touch point. As a pet owner I've got to drop everything, I've got to load my kids into the car, I've got to take time off work, I've got to come in and have this offline interaction, where despite a high level of stress and chaos I also need to listen and be prepared to take in a large amount of information in a very quick space of time. But it is within this space that veterinary clinics can compete.
Traditionally a business should score well on two out of the three elements and then extract value on the third. So, we can extract value on the affordability and charge fairly for a high quality service. Once we have the quality combined with the convenience, then we can compete against the disintermediation offering cheap, direct to consumer digital disruptors with low quality, poorly regulated alternatives. This is where vets are uniquely placed to compete to offer a joined up online-to-offline experience.
So how do you become most convenient? Consider where your pet owners are and meet them there. We live in a world where more people own mobile phones than electric toothbrushes. People are mobile first and this is a mobile first world that we live in now. Start filling the top of your funnel with convenient, accessible touch points and then cherry pick the items that are going to be of the best use of your in clinic resources and team. Then decide what is going to give you the most rich patient advocacy opportunities. Here is where your quality and convenience lie and where the value of your services and products automatically become increased.
Father of 3 with 1 on the way and avid pet guardian to Becki and Adi, Dr. Thom Jenkins swapped his paper round for web design at just 13 years old. Later graduating from Cambridge university with a first grade, honours degree in Zoology & Veterinary Medicine, Thom used his combined expertise to create PetsApp; used by 1000s of veterinary professionals world wide.
Want to know more about PetsApp? Book your FREE demo today!
Interested in learning how PetsApp can help move your practice forward? Why not book your FREE demo today!