Today's Veterinary Business

OCT 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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Page 61 of 67

60 Today's Veterinary Business Merchandising The funny part is, I see vet- erinarians get as mad and upset about internet prescriptions today as they did 10 years ago. Words and phrases were and are said about these businesses that our mamas would never have approved of. I often ask, "Why the conten- tion?" After all, this is America. Remember supply and demand? Free enterprise? Differentiate? Stay connected? All the business phrases we learned in Econ 101? Internet pharmacies are doing nothing differ- ent than what we do every day. That is, try to be successful in business. Do we like the competition? Probably not. From the box store down the street to the online retail- er offering free overnight shipping, we have competing entities going after our clients' business. So, what tactic should we take to combat this unwanted competi- tion? Ignore the script requests and hope the client gives up? Charge the client to sign the script? Re- quire the client to bring in the pet for a paid exam before we sign? Or do we just refuse? Now there's an idea! Yes, these are real tactics taken by veterinary hospi- tals over the years. But where do these tactics leave us? With dissatisfied or upset clients. I get it. I understand your frustration. But rather than make it harder on the client, let's make it easier and more appealing for pet owners to make their pharma- ceutical purchases in our hospitals. Rather than fight what we cannot control, let's take the time and en- ergy to freshen up our offerings. Know How to Respond First, begin by touching up your staff training. Whether you have a new hire on the team or an old pro, their ability to demonstrate that they know what you are talking about is extremely important. Clients don't want to see hesitation or hear, "I'm not sure." This certainly doesn't mean that your staff mem- bers need to lie or guess. Get them educated and feeling comfortable about the prescription items they will discuss. It's unrealistic to think that your staff is going to know every answer every time. When they don't know, they can still confidently act as an advocate for the client and say: "That is an excellent question. Let me discuss this with the doctor and get right back to you. Are there any Merchandising SELLING POINTS By Brian Conrad, CVPM additional questions or concerns I should raise when I speak with the doctor?" The client will appreciate and remember the effort. Chances are that if a team member doesn't know the answer, then another employee needs the same education. Keep a list of such questions and provide answers for everyone at the next staff meet- ing. Take the time to educate your staff and the effort will translate into confident conversations with clients and success in keeping pharmacy sales where they belong. Respect the Client's Time The fact is that clients have more options than ever for getting their pets' medications filled and dis- pensed. Our doctors and staff are responsible for making sure that drug sales stay in the practice and that the client continues to return. This is done by instilling confidence in the client, making sure the refill process is accurate and efficient, The fax machine rings and begins to print. Is it vital bloodwork results from the outside laboratory? Patient medical records from the university referral? A $499 round-trip, all-inclusive vacation offer to the Bahamas? (Does anyone fall for this scam?) No, no, no. It's a prescription request from one of our good friends at the online pharmacy. Hey, they just want to help. It's not like they're taking business from us. Or are they? Of course they are. This has been going on for over a decade. The internet script You might not like online drug sellers, but rather than ignore their prescription requests, become more competitive and provide more personalized service to your clients. Continued on Page 64

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