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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40 Today's Veterinary Business Communication protocols that can generate income for further hospital investment. Consider this: Nationally rec- ognized veterinary dentist Brook Niemiec, DVM, DAVDC, explains that if a practice can do one more procedure a day, five days a week, at an average retail cost of $400, the practice can earn an additional $8,000 a month. Eight thousand additional revenue dollars can make a big difference in any veteri- nary business. Please the Senses Once a client provides authoriza- tion, consider ways to reduce the fear, anxiety and stress associated with the entire procedure, includ- ing preoperative arrival and diag- nostics and postoperative recovery. Besides the universal recom- mendation of utilizing a pre-visit pharmaceutical for the patient, encourage clients to travel to the practice while listening to soothing music, like "Through a Dogs Ear" on iCalmPet. Pheromones like Adaptil for dogs and Feliway for cats can be very helpful creating natural relax- ation in the car or carrier. The patient also can be administered a dose of maropitant in a small treat two to four hours before the procedure. This will reduce the chance of nau- sea and vomiting and get the animal to eat sooner after anesthesia. Once the patient arrives and to lessen distractions, have a dental technician handle the admission inside an exam room, if possible. Painful stimuli, like blood draws and placement of intravenous catheters, can be drastically reduced if topical lidocaine gel is applied to a shaved site 15 minutes before the venipunc- ture. A ThunderShirt or Thundercap can be used in the hospital to reduce preoperative anxiety, and a warm towel or bed can bring extra comfort. Each veterinary dental team should prioritize pain management cocktails to address intraoperative discomfort. Also, be sure to antici- pate what will be needed in recov- ery. The postoperative process will succeed not only because of the pharmaceutical choices but due to diligent anesthetic monitoring and important feeding recommendations. Veterinary dentists recommend changing what the dog or cat eats into something they love. This might mean adding scrambled eggs to a dog's diet or pureeing a soft canned food into a souplike meal for cats. If the patient's mouth is painful at meal time, the animal can de- velop an aversion to the food or to eating in general. This can develop into an anxiety that sometimes proves difficult to resolve. '42 Little Patients' As another prominent veterinary dentist, Jan Bellows, DVM, DAVDC, DABVP, said in a podcast: "Near- ly 70 to 80 percent of dogs and cats that present to your practice typically have some form of dental disease. Consider every dog as having 42 little patients inside their mouth, and 30 little patients inside the mouths of cats." If we think in this framework, we can put oral health in the forefront of the physical exam, demonstrate periodontal disease in real time to clients, and educate them about the disease, treatment options and prevention. However, we must keep in mind that a large number of clients are fearful about their own dental visits, their pet's dental appoint- ment, anesthesia and the financial investment. Take a moment with your team to identify all the client and patient touch points in which fear, anxiety and stress can be re- duced or eliminated. Consider the initial consult, the preanesthetic blood draw, the procedure and the recovery period. As veterinarians, we have a unique opportunity to address and change fears associated with den- tistry. We can build our business and continue to do better and be better for our clients and patients. Fearless columnist Dr. Natalie Marks is co-owner of Blum Animal Hospital in Chicago. She is Fear Free certified. Communication FEARLESS Thinking back, I realized how much the lapses had cost the slow-responding dentists. Over the next several months, I spent several thousand dollars on a root canal and teeth aligning. Revenue Generator Think about this: If a pet owner reaches out and you don't respond within a reasonable time frame, how much revenue are you losing? Did the potential client have multi- ple pets, and was he willing to pay for great service? You'll never know! Ultimately, it was the New Client Concierge who gained my loyalty. This is the main takeaway: If you put the right infrastructure in place to make new clients immediately feel at home, you'll win new busi- ness and experience an immediate boon for your veterinary practice. To do this, you can set up a texting service, find a texting app or assign the responsibility to your front desk. I recommend choosing the option that feels best. Every cli- ent you encounter is different, but each deserves to feel special. When people leave a voicemail and their mobile number, or fill out a website form, try using the New Client Con- cierge technique to contact them. It's as simple as reaching out, ensuring they feel welcome and getting the next steps in place to ensure their first appointment goes spectacularly well. How to Do It Are you ready to set up a New Cli- ent Concierge of your own? Follow these three steps to surprise and delight new pet owners who come your way. Prepare a website contact form for prospective clients. Include a small check box for "Per- mission to Text." This authorization will allow you to contact them with a welcome text and immediately introduce your New Client Con- cierge service. Determine the best options for implementing the ser- vice. If you have a tech-savvy front desk or staff, they might be able to handle the task using a mobile phone dedicated for office use. You might determine that you want an online service to implement the service, and I assure you there are many from which to choose. Have fun with the new service. It will add a personal touch to your veterinary practice and a bit of personality. When pro- spective clients reach out, don't be afraid to reach back. It's a pleasure to build your business and gain new pet owners. Make sure that pet owners reaching out to you feel appreciated and become excited about their very first appointment. The New Client Concierge is a win-win. You can leverage technology to gain new clients, increase brand loyalty and show appreciation for those interested in your services. The best way to gain an advantage in today's marketplace is to go the extra mile whenever you can. That's exactly what this service does. I consider it invaluable, and I'm still blown away that I discovered it by accident. When pet owners are looking for a local veterinary practice that will treat them like family, why should they look any farther than your front door? By following the steps above and introducing prospective cli- ents to your New Client Concierge, you'll open your arms to new pet owners and stay on the forefront of what veterinary practices are offering today. Setting up the right infrastructure can deliver lifetime customer loyalty. Socially Acceptable columnist Eric D. Garcia is an IT and digital consultant who works exclusively with veterinary practices and speaks at veterinary conferences around the world. Learn more at 1 2 3 Continued from Page 38

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