Do You Know Why Your Clinic Has a Monthly Wellness Plan?

The Hidden Value of Wellness Plans

Wellness Plan, Pet Health Club, Health Plan, Membership Subscription - whatever you call it, you probably have one. A monthly subscription that pet owners can sign-up to in order to receive a bucket of preventive care items for their pet throughout the year. Often, by committing to the bucket of items the owner receives a discount.

But why does your clinic have a wellness plan?

The most common answer is that it helps pet owners budget for those things that they know their pet will need. It sits neatly alongside insurance (at least in theory), which, in contrast, helps pet owners budget for those things that their pet might need but they hope they won’t.

However, this answer sort of misses the point.

I’m not asking why pet owners sign-up to the wellness plan your clinic already has. Instead, I’m asking why your clinic has one in the first place.

Sure, you want to help pets and their owners. I get it, I do too. But it's also okay to ask: what’s in it for you?

Ah, in that case it’s the quality of the revenue.

Go on…

Here the argument goes that monthly recurring revenue from the subscriber base is higher quality because it’s more reliable than the lumpy bumpiness of normal clinic revenue.

It’s certainly true that clinic revenue can vary from month-to-month, and in my experience - while it can be fun to speculate and invent causality - this often happens for no discernible reason.

Then again, I’d argue that veterinary revenue is pretty high quality anyway… You’ve got regular boosters, monthly parasiticides, annual health checks, enviable levels of customer loyalty and decent customer lifetime values, alongside strong evidence of recession resistance*.

But you know what can take a hit in a recession? Direct debits.

So, are wellness plans a waste of time?

Nope!

Or at least they needn’t be.

For me the most often overlooked benefit of having a wellness plan is customer segmentation. Wellness plan members are telling you something.

Assuming you’ve designed your wellness plan correctly - members are a self-selecting population of highly compliant pet owners. And they want you to treat them accordingly. They want the very best for their pet. They want to be kept up-to-speed with the latest veterinary recommendations. They value preventive care. And they want more touch-points with their veterinary team.

Careful. This doesn’t mean that non-members never want these things. Nor does it mean that all members are the same, joining for exactly the same reasons. However, customer segmentation is always a balance of probabilities. It’s about finding a signal, listening to it and then acting on it.

While the plural of anecdote may not be data - a story is illustrative here. I remember working in a clinic where the membership plan included neutering as standard for puppies and kittens. The owner of one puppy was adamant that they did not want him neutered but equally adamant that he wanted his pup on the pet health club. With the pet owner’s interests in mind, I tried to explain that without the surgery the cost of the plan didn’t actually make financial sense. The owner was offended:

“Just because I don’t want him neutered, doesn’t mean I don’t want the best for him. I want him to be in the club.”

On balance, your members probably want more from you than just the bucket of items to which they’ve subscribe.

Are you giving it to them?

*Pet owners in the last recession, for example, were more likely to trade down on their own brands than on the premium pet food they bought for their pet.

Did you know that PetsApp can help you improve your clinic's Pet Health Club penetration? With targeted push notification campaigns and enhanced membership benefits you can grow your membership base to >40% of your active clients, and give them the digital touchpoints they crave. Book a demo to learn more.


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