Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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 41 of 67

40 Today's Veterinary Business Communication I've met practice owners who would rather see the demograph- ic changes go away, since these veterinarians have to dramatically change how they engage with pet owners. But I've also seen practices learn to thrive within the digital landscape, leveraging their Goo- gle Reviews to engage clients and manage a stellar reputation, driv- ing new business as a direct result. Opportunity Knocks How do we use Google Reviews and our online presence to find our best brand advocates? And how do we go a step further by rewarding our brand advocates and making sure they know how much we truly appreciate them? While the world of online reviews can seem overwhelming and maybe impersonal at times, the opposite is true. Each person who leaves a review has taken time to share an opinion and spread awareness about their experience. Sometimes this means a rave review and other times this means having to deal with a public grievance. Each review left for your vet- erinary practice is actually another opportunity to engage with pet owners in a meaningful way and reward clients who share their experience with your practice. Google Rankings are an increas- ingly important part of your overall online presence, so receiving a five- star review is a valuable commodity in the digital age. Pet owners are looking higher up in local listings than ever before, typically skimming over veterinary practices with two- or three-star ratings and focusing on four- and five-star practices as top contenders for their business. Star Power A single star can impact your ability to appear in the map section of the first page of a Google search. A huge amount of traffic goes toward the re- sults that appear first, and practices with lower scores will get buried in online search results. This is because Google selectively filters the results of veterinary practices based off the reviews secured online. It's in Google's best interest to do this, because providing results of high- er-rated practices tends to enhance the search experience for pet own- ers, who are typically looking for the best resource available in their local area. If a pet owner searches a region and finds veterinary prac- tices with only two- and three-star reviews, the potential client likely keeps looking. Instead, Google wants to deliver the best results pos- sible to the user on the first try. While traditional word of mouth remains a powerful tool for securing new clients, your online reputation is like digital word of mouth, reverberating far and wide to pet owners searching for reliable care. There's no ignoring this reality, which leaves a more permanent footprint than traditional word of mouth and can't be underempha- sized in the modern digital age. Since Google is the majority holder of search engine market share, this puts us in a perfect situation to not only solicit Google Reviews from pleased clients but also thank and reward those who serve as brand advocates by leav- ing standout reviews. Our need to express a heartfelt "Thank you" has never been more relevant or imperative than it is now. Despite what you might have been told, this simple phrase is em- blematic of a whole lot more. It can make or break a friendship, or even a relationship with your clients. Veterinary medicine is so dead set on acquiring new clients that we hardly stop to tell existing clients how much we appreciate them. Now, why would we work so hard to build our practice, market effec- tively and provide stellar service but stop short of giving thanks? Outstanding client reviews and testimonials can drive new business and increase your Google Ranking. It's no longer just younger pet owners who are emailing, texting and using social media to connect online. Now, all generations of pet owners are adapting to digital technology in new and unprecedented ways. In fact, according to The Nielsen Co. , the fastest-growing demographic using social media is adults ages 55 or older. Communication SOCIALLY ACCEPTABLE By Eric D. Garcia Show the love Clients who become brand advocates, especially through online reviews, deserve a heartfelt thank you. Continued on Page 42

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