5 senses of clinic hunters: How to entice veterinary clients to choose your clinic
You have potential clients hunting for you everyday. They aren't dressed in camouflage and loading up rifles, but they are using the Internet and listening to friends and family on their quest to find a veterinarian. What's more, they're recruiting all of their five senses to decide where to take their beloved pet for the best care.
So get ready—these pet owners have you in their crosshairs. Find out if your practice is worth their shot—and passes these five sense tests.
Wow them on the Web
The first source many pet owners will turn to is the Internet. However, just because you have a website doesn't mean it's going to bring in business.
When potential clients are searching for a veterinarian, they visit your website to get a quick overview of your practice. Your website must be informative, clean and professional. It's great to have a clinic tour or pictures of your patients on your site, but leave them off the home page. At first glance, people are looking for a few very important pieces of information—your clinic's logo, contact information and address, and business hours. They're also looking for a page that details your practice's philosophy and provides brief biographies and pictures of your doctors. And don't forget to include logos for social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, that link directly to your practice's pages.
Entice them on site
Now that you've appealed to potential clients with your website, the next step is the "meet and greet," as I like to call it. Often pet owners will contact us with questions about our service and prices—and that's the perfect opportunity to get someone new in the door. After politely answering the person's questions over the phone, our receptionists extend the invitation to meet the doctors and staff and get a clinic tour, with no cost for the visit.
And whether it's a 10-minute "meet and greet" appointment or a scheduled office visit, when clients and their pets visit your practice, the first thing they should see is a professional appearance—a clean facility, nicely dressed and well-groomed team members and doctors, and exam rooms filled with educational posters and tools. Even better, play videos or have interactive client education modules on mobile electronic devices to keep them entertained and learning about the health of their pet.
Keep it positive, people
Exam room doors are wonderful when preparing for the patient on the other side—you and your team can get everything together without ever being spotted by the patient or the client. But what you may not realize is that it's possible clients can hear everything your staff is discussing whether it pertains to their pet or not—and many staff members don't think before they talk.
Make sure your staff is aware of this and encourage everyone to keep a positive attitude at all times in the clinic. Of course there will be days when team members will be in the dumps, but you can help them out. Arrange for a quiet place in the clinic for staff to escape, whether it's an office, a break room or an outdoor sitting area. Just having this getaway will also help to keep your team's morale at its highest.
Be aware of the pet's needs
As far as the pet goes, each and every one is different. Some pets are happy to be at your practice, but many of them are shaking in their fur boots. A pet's sense of hearing is off the charts when he's in your practice—every drawer that's slammed and every bark, purr or voice he hears can send him into a frenzy.
So in an effort to keep pets calm, you've got two options: You could install padded, soundproof walls in your exam rooms or you could put yourself in their paws and consider how pets might feel in your clinic. I think the latter option would be the easiest and most economical, don't you? Consider something as simple as playing soft music in the exam rooms and treatment areas to keep pets relaxed and comfortable.