Today's Veterinary Business

JUN 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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CHOOSE TERUMO. Quality. Commitment. Savings. 800-888-3786 PM-00335 Encourage clients to post photos of their pets on their birthday or in a Halloween costume. Ask questions on Facebook to get people to engage with your posts. Examples include "What three words best describe your pet?" or "How did you come up with your pet's name?" Another way to engage millennials is by posting short, interesting videos on Facebook. You will know which posts are the most engag- ing by determining which ones result in com- ments and shares, not just likes. New Solutions Using technology in client communications is a growing area of innovation in the veteri- nary field. One of the most popular must-have technologies involves apps. Companies such as Vet2Pet, VitusVet and PetDesk offer apps branded to the veterinary practice. Depending on the company, app features might include client loyalty programs, appointment schedul- ing, reminders and notifications, texting and prescription requests. Other new technology solutions that promote client engagement and compliance in- tegrate with practice management systems. For example, FuturePet sends texts to clients before an appointment to gather details about the pet's health history. Since millennials like convenience and using their smartphones, they will undoubt- edly appreciate being able to provide their pet's medical history in advance. Another company, BabelVet, has a commu- nication platform and app that allow veterinary teams to stay connected with all aspects of their patients' lives. Owners use the app to keep track of all their pet's service providers as well as med- ications, diet information and activity levels. The veterinary team has a dashboard and access to the patient's information. Telehealth solutions appeal to millennials due to the use of technology, convenience and perceived value. Companies offering access to a veterinarian via text, email or video chat include WhiskerDocs, Fuzzy's Ask-A-Vet, PetCoach, Live DVM and Ask.Vet. A Desired Style Be cautious not to stereotype millennials and make assumptions that they all want a specif- ic style of communication. As with any client, veterinary teams should strive to adapt their communication style to one preferred by the pet owner. Talk the Talk columnist Dr. Amanda L. Donnelly is a speaker, business consultant and second- generation veterinarian. She is the author of "101 Practice Management Questions Answered" and serves on the Today's Veterinary Business editorial advisory board. 3 Research suggests that millennials prefer communication that is straightforward and concise. Rather than lecturing, which millenni- als might find boring, find out what they want to talk about and which questions they have. Millennials want to interact with trusted advisers and make emotional connections. This is great news because achieving this goal helps to build client loyalty and increase compliance. Be sure to use communications skills that demonstrate you are a guide who will help millennial pet owners make decisions. Use open-ended questions to create a dialogue about the pet's care. For example, you can ask, "Tell me what concerns you have about Sophie?" or "What questions do you have about Jake's diet and supplements?" An Array of Interests We know that millennial clients, just like other generations, have a strong bond with their pets and want excellent veterinary care. We also know from surveys and research that they view preventive care a bit differently. They tend to define their pet's health and well- being broadly and include all aspects of the pet's lifestyle. As a result, they are more likely to care about nutrition, socialization, exercise and stress-free veterinary visits. Therefore, it is important for veterinary teams to create con- versations about all aspects of the pet's health and care. Another characteristic of millennials is their focus on values and making a difference in the world. They want to do business with com- panies that share their values. So, be sure to explain why you love veterinary medicine and communicate the core values of the practice as well as any involvement you have in helping the community. Your Call to Action Now is the time to evaluate your communication strategies and determine how well you are doing at adapting to the preferences of millennial pet parents. Investigate new technologies and decide which services are the best fit for your practice and clients. Strive to take one or two action steps in 2018 that will help your team connect more effectively with the millennial generation. These actions will be worthwhile because they will help attract and retain millennial clients. Moreover, you will help give more pets the care they deserve.

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