Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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32 Today's Veterinary Business Communication Communication Technology's Influences Humans are hardwired to compete and collaborate. These two traits are arguably more responsible for our ascension to the peak of the predatory ranks than any other twist in our 23 pairs of chromo- somes. It's no surprise that tech- nology has tapped into this primal predisposition and created the sharing-and-trust economy. If you distill this movement to its core elements, you discover we simultaneously seek to learn from others while craving to outperform them. Today, we learn and share through reviews and rankings. We perform better based on this intel and really shine when we know we're being reviewed and ranked. That simple idea is completely re- shaping businesses, service provid- ers and veterinary clinics. If you're not building and demonstrating trust on these new platforms, you're being left behind. Today's typical consumer makes purchases based on Ama- zon reviews and blog descriptions, and selects a hotel tagged on Instagram and ranked highly on TripAdvisor. We read news stories chosen by algorithms because our friends shared them. We get into cars with strangers and stay in private apartments because hun- dreds of people ticked five stars. The new language and currency of value and trustworthiness is being defined by the 3 billion online earthlings hardwired to collaborate and compete. Which brings us back to that friendly tow truck driver and an invaluable lesson I learned for my veterinary practice. Active Advocacy As we neared the auto repair shop, my dead-car-transport-jockey changed the conversation. "I hope you never have to call me again," he said. "Being broken down by the highway can be frightening and dangerous. You can help others in your situation by letting them know about me so they won't be as I was wet, cold and slouched beside my broken-down car. Desperate for a tow truck, I pulled out my iPhone and Googled. In less than a second, I had three nearby tow services plotted on a map. Each was heralded by a string of stars. The first business boasted a 4.9-star rating from 56 reviews. The other two barely topped 3.0 and had only single-digit responses. I clicked the five-star listing and 20 minutes later was surveying the world from atop a toasty tow truck. I had leveraged technology to get me out of a jam, selected a service based on advice from total strangers, and completely bypassed traditional advertising and marketing channels. Ten years ago, this system couldn't be imag- ined. Today, I can't imagine living without it. Welcome to the new economy of trust. worried if they're in your situation. Here's a card with my information and how you can rank us on Goo- gle. It only takes a minute, and I'd really appreciate it." Not only did I tip the driver gen- erously, I promptly gave him a five- star review. This guy was brilliant. The act of asking for an online review demonstrates the shift from passive to active consumer advo- cacy. In the past, we imagined our most satisfied "clinic advocates" strolling through their lives joyously proclaiming the greatness of their veterinarian. That was never true. At best, these superclients passive- ly advocated for us whenever the subject of veterinary care came up. Sure, if neighbor Nellie complained or bragged about her vet, your ad- vocate likely spoke up in your favor. The problem was her voice didn't carry beyond the coffee table. We've now entered an era of active advocacy. If you receive a glowing review, it can be seen in- finitely by innumerable pet owners. No longer are superclients limited In the internet we trust Your reputation and credibility are on the line in today's world, so know how to request online reviews and respond to less-than-stellar comments. By Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT

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