Today's Veterinary Business

DEC-JAN 2017

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 26 of 67

25 December 2017/January 2018 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM free and the only question I have is, 'Why you would allow a competitor to occupy the space?'" According to Schroeder, this real estate is there for the taking. And he's right. When you have an app that's downloaded to clients' smartphones, you have secured a position in their pocket. Your app, and consequently your veterinary practice, is now poised and ready to take appointment requests, questions or anything else a pet owner might require. In general, these apps provide an alternative to calling in to book an appointment — millennials increasingly shy away from this — and often lead to increased client engagement and bookings. If keep- ing up with appointment or pre- scription refill requests becomes your greatest difficulty, I think we're in a pretty good position. Not to mention, your business hours expand because you're not requiring pet owners to call during a finite window of time. An app serves as an extension of reminder systems, such as postcards, that are likely already in place. While tradi- tional communication methods are somewhat handy, they're quickly becoming supplanted by emails, text messages and, perhaps most importantly, push notifications (pop- up messages on a mobile device). When Push Comes to Shove Vet2Pet founder Stacee Santi, DVM, sheds light on how push notifica- tions are changing the way veter- inary practices engage with pet owners when she says, "Until now, veterinarians were only able to share educational content via post- cards, emails, social media and at the annual exam. Push notifications are changing all that by providing a simple and affordable interface for the veterinarian to communicate relevant educational content to their clients." Since recent findings show that communications sent to clients via mobile app are four times more like- ly to be read than email, push notifi- cations have the power to shape our industry for years to come. Clients, of course, can turn features and your practice. • Pet-specific information: Core material needs to be in your app to make it truly useful. This includes infor- mation about upcoming appointments as well as services pets are due for and when, a health care library containing quality content, the ability to schedule an appointment or request a prescription refill within the app, and push notifica- tion capability. If your app includes all these functional- ities, you're in great shape. • Extras: An app should be informational, functional and fun. Reward clients when they download the app and take an active interest in the health of their pet. Clients should be able to Socially Acceptable columnist Eric D. Garcia is an IT and digital marketing consultant who works exclusively with veterinary practices. Learn more at www.simplydonetechsolutions. An app serves as an extension of reminder systems, such as postcards, that are likely already in place. upload pictures of their pets doing fun or silly things. Vet- erinary practices can share these pictures in a digital frame at the front desk or print them for display — and share on Facebook, of course. Mobile apps are powerful tools that can enhance the client experience and boost engage- ment, retention and business. A great app should teach clients how to best care for their pet and engage the veterinary practice for appointments, prescriptions, ques- tions and the everyday things they need most. A mobile app is no longer a luxury. It's a must-have for a grow- ing veterinary practice. notifications on or off, which falls in line with my steadfast belief that pet owners should have total control of how they wish to receive communication. Some clients may prefer the postcard, while some might transition solely to the app. If clients are anything like me, they may opt into every available choice. I'm known to tape the post- card to my monitor, mark the email as important and screenshot the incoming text to make sure that Elvis and Penny don't miss their checkups. The point here is that how pet owners choose to engage is entirely up to them. Take the Next Step All right, so you're starting to see the power of the mobile app. This seems to be a progressive and incredible move for veterinary practices to enhance their offer- ings, connect with pet owners, drive more business and lead the industry on the cutting edge. If you're ready to get started on an app for your veterinary practice, here are the features to look for: • Personalized: An app needs to be branded to your indi- vidual practice. Pet owners should be able to search for and find your practice by name within the app store. (Use your logo as the icon.) While an app that's not per- sonally branded isn't a deal breaker, clear instructions are needed so pet owners can successfully download the app and be aware of its associated

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