Today's Veterinary Business

AUG 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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39 August/September 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM Pets bring joy to us, and our clients want a reliable veterinary practice to which they can bring their beloved furry friends in times of good health or uncertainty. However, huge generational shifts are occurring and are impacting the profession in profound ways. Two generations make up the majority of today's pet owners: millennials (born between 1982 and 2002) and baby boomers (born between 1945 and 1964). Together they number more than 150 million people in the United States alone. The statistics show just how im- portant the two demographics are when it comes to understanding the needs of modern-day pet owners. Here's where the tricky part comes in: While these two demo- graphics are the most likely to walk through the doors of your veterinary practice, they can differ tremen- dously in both expectations and needs. Everything from how they communicate and book appoint- ments to their personal styles is influenced by their background and specific, generational upbringing. Think about it. What did Amer- ican society look like in the '50s and '60s versus the '80s and '90s? We've seen incredible changes in our world, many having to do with technology and how we conduct everyday business. How do we honor both demographics and ensure that pet owners from each generation get what they need, each and every time they visit our practice? The answer is simpler than you might think: Customize your services and business to each pet owner you encounter. Be an Attentive Listener In my studies of pet owners I have learned that listening is the biggest competitive advantage you can gain when it comes to satisfying them. Listen to who they are and what they're looking for and you'll be bet- ter equipped to deliver outstanding services they remember, appreciate and, yes, even recom- mend to their friends. From these studies, I've learned about some of the biggest differenc- es between millennials and baby boomers. Paying close attention to these differences will allow you to provide a more nuanced approach and better understand the backgrounds of both demographics. Baby boomers, on average, take a more After years of consulting with dozens of veterinary practices nationwide, I've become very familiar with the threads that tie us together. No matter where we're born, our political preferences, age or gender, we love and adore pets from the bottom of our hearts. This singular thread allows people from every place and imaginable background to come together in celebration of their pets. Communication SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE By Eric D. Garcia Modern-day pet owners, whether millennials or baby boomers, often have different needs and expectations. One thing they share is a desire for outstanding service. Connect with clients of all ages traditional approach to doing busi- ness and are less likely to be fully integrated into the technological solutions that some of us are more accustomed to. This means that while they might use Siri to make phone calls and schedule appoint- ments, there's a chance they do not. Baby boomers also might be more accustomed to receiving hard-copy paperwork rather than digital documents and feel more comfortable receiving information while in the office or by phone than by text messaging, Skype, Face- Time or email. Millennials were more likely raised with modern technology like smartphones and mobile apps and thus experience less hesitation in using them. This means they are more likely to book veterinary appointments online or by app, or they might be comfortable with Skype-based appointments and phone consults instead of in-office visits when they have a question. They also might be more active in engaging with your practice's social media accounts or using an app to manage their pet's health. Your only surefire way to satisfy pet owners at each end of the spectrum is to offer more choices and let them choose what's best.

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