"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinette, Claire Brand, and Vicki Lenz, authors of Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life (McGraw-Hill, 2000).
"I didn't like boarding my dog in a little cage," says Dr. Henry Inglesby, owner of Suwanee Pet Suites and Animal Care Center in Suwanee, Ga. Assuming other vacationing dog owners also hated the thought of leaving their precious canines in tight quarters, he decided to replace the cramped cages.
In 23 percent of practices, credentialed technicians are responsible for most of the client's education, according to a recent survey by VetMedTeam.com. In 52 percent of practices, veterinarians handle the bulk of education, while in 19 percent of practices, veterinary assistants take charge of this task. Here's a look at the percentage of respondents who say team members discuss these issues with clients:
Gary Morgan, a receptionist for Robert E. Lewis, a dentist in Overland Park, Kan., has a special talent: He remembers the name of most of the clients who walk through the door. And with more than 1,500 client records in the practice database, that's no small feat.
Between 7:30 a.m. and 9 a.m. chaos ruled in the front office at Catawba Animal Clinic in Rock Hill, S.C., says Hospital Administrator Jean Weaver. "All our dental appointments, surgery appointments, daycares, and routine morning appointments were coming in around the same time," she says. "Our receptionists were overwhelmed trying to check in the appointments in a timely manner, especially with clients rushing to get to work."
A pet's euthanasia is always difficult for clients, and it can be tough for team members, too. Dr. Mark Reser of Neel Veterinary Hospital in Oklahoma City says he gets great feedback when he takes two key steps.
"The secret to a successful open house," says Christy Johnson, CVPM, practice administrator at Pampered Pet Health Center, "is to make it fun. Have lots of things for clients to see and do, and serve plenty of finger food. Involve your staff, distributors, and drug representatives. And get the word out."