Managing the online 'We love you!' and 'Your practice stinks!'
Most veterinarians—and even practice managers—don't want to do digital marketing, but, well, you have to, for the good of your veterinary hospital's business. So if YOU'RE not going to do it—and you can, so try starting here with this toolkit or here with a first stab at blogging and generating content—get someone else to do it.
There are social media gurus, small online marketing companies and big players, and they've all got pros and cons. So, here's a big one you've heard of that's been working to build a suite of client communication and education options: Vetstreet. Vetstreet reps say they've been updating their Reputation Engagement Program from last year to help veterinary practices better manage their social reputation.
The basic, lowest-priced offering is a dashboard that tells you whether your search-engine business listing is up to snuff and your reviews are raves or really bad. Upgrades mean Vetstreet team members will help you optimize your business listings online and automatically reply to negative and positive reviews FOR YOU.
So you can hire them, and you'll never be tempted in an angry moment to respond to a cranky client. Don't do that. EVER. You'll always have the time and space to take a few deep breaths then say just the right thing in the right way so that all those people who stumble onto your practice online nod and smile at how kind of a business owner you are.
Anyway, do it yourself, or try a service like this. But you can't neglect your social media, your search engine listings and your reviews anymore.
Physicians live by it. And a growing number of veterinarians use it. And the 2016 dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year talked her practice owner into paperless practice, in part, thanks to it.
It's dictation software.
"Even my practice owner was worried, as she wasn't the fastest typist," said Judi Bailey, CVPM. "Today, she uses dictation software and she can knock out 20 visits for records in 10 minutes."
Now there's one better than the standard Dragon dictation software—Dragon software with veterinary terms prepopulated in the program for your blabbing with Talkingvet. Because, honestly, do you WANT to add all those words to the library?
According to the company, the software integrates speech-to-text capabilities into AVImark, ImproMed, IDEXX Cornerstone and a few other veterinary software suites. Buy the veterinary package and you get simple templates ("normal exam"), dynamic templates ("suture") and workflow automation: "Open Microsoft Word," "Look up patient," "Print record" or "I'm tired, Dragon, will you just dictate all this for me?" OK, I'm kidding about that last one.
Talkingvet offers two pricing packages. One's a monthly, no-commitment contract, with a USB headset and dictation set for the cloud with AVImark shortcut commands—all at $75/month. If you like to buy and own, tada: an a la carte, buy-it-once-and-have-it option, with the basic software running $1,599.99, the veterinary add-on $379, and better microphones, training, AVImark shortcuts and more for a little extra.
Are you keeping score?
Veterinary practice management gurus for decades have told veterinarians they need to track practice benchmarks or financial numbers or key performance indicators. Call 'em what you want, those gurus were calling for DVMs to keep a better eye to make better decisions about their veterinary businesses.
Today, Henry Schein, with AVImark, ImproMed and other software solutions in its stable, has added a new dashboard option from across the English Channel they seem pretty stoked about: Sparkline Scorecard. It integrates with all of Henry Schein's practice software.
Sparkline aims to help practice owners and managers improve profits by showing off your most important metrics on a single page: revenue and transaction trends, ratio of particular services in visits and missed charges, etc.
Missed charges, people! Just think! The days of getting everyone together in the break room and swapping folders to compare medical records to receipts could be over for you. OVER!
OK, maybe you still want to do that as a teaching exercise, but there are easier ways to do your job.
If you love metrics, sounds like this is a fun, visual way to see numbers you may or may not be paying attention to now. If you hate business, you might like the pretty graphics that tell you what's important about the business.
'Is DOG right for you?' 'It's time you learned about CAT'
"Is DOG right for you? Benefits include lowering your blood pressure, decreasing your risk of heart disease and strengthening your immune system. Side effects may include: Picking up poop. Being jealous of DOG kissing other people. Feeling guilty if you don't tell DOG you love them before you leave the house."
From a new brochure and pet-owner-facing marketing materials, Zoetis is clearly willing to be very fun with the very real benefits of living with cats and dogs proven by the very real data out of the Human Animal Bond Research Institute.
Brochures advertising "DOG (Bestfriendor)" and "CAT (Purrfectis)" play with human drug messaging ("Is DOG right for you?" and "It's time you learned about CAT") in free brochures available for veterinary practices as well as a website with ads for our four-legged friends.
The campaign is product-agnostic (no direct mention of Zoetis products) and focuses on the mental and physical health benefits of dosing up with pet time.
Visit veterinarian.thepeteffect.org/the-campaign for downloadable flyers, mini posters, infographics and an email practices canto clients.
Psssst! Cat lovers, don't worry: The company doesn't neglect the pros and cons of kitty ownership too ... "You may feel a strange sensation that you don't own CAT and that CAT actually owns you."
Outlook cloudy on pet insurance—and that's good!
By cloudy, we mean that a "specialty" insurance underwriter explained to us, Markel, has unveiled Figo Pet Insurance, "cloud-based pet insurance."
What does that mean?
Pet owners can download the app, sign up for pet insurance, take pics of receipts from your veterinary practice and get paid electronically.
Figo says its big differentiator is that everything can be uploaded, shared and synced via the cloud.
Weigh Figo and newer, smaller contenders against long-standing, long-trusted pet insurance competitors like Nationwide, Pet Plan, Trupanion and more.
Speaking of long-standing, long-trusted pet insurance companies, Nationwide pet insurance is in a few markets (the DC Metro area and parts of Southern California) testing a new feature integrating its claims submission process with the veterinary app VitusVet. It allows just this kind of smartphone-snapping-receipts capabilities. Who says the big guys don't keep up with the times? Stay tuned.
Practice Manager of the Year loves this software—their booth said so!
This one is not unbiased, because the dvm360/VHMA Practice Manager of the Year (read about her here) has raved to our staff on more than one occasion about her happiness with the technical support and customization of server-based V-Tech Platinum or cloud-based V-Tech Prime, now tied closely with Vetscene. Vetscene has emblazed on their booth a note that that's true.
Free with this PIMS now is postcard capabilities, a website and more, courtesy of Vetscene's relationship. And now the entire suite, tied to Vetscene's one-small-fee-per-pet loyalty card, also comes with possible add-ons:
> Vetscene TV, an Internet-updating, customizable slideshow and video gallery that can play your custom content and their fun, no-ad-filled content on exam room and reception-area TVs
> Vetscene clinic app, for social messaging, push notifications and online appointments.
Honestly, Vetscene has been around for a while and their link-up with this practice software might sell you on the whole suite of products, which is probably what founder Greg Graves is hoping.
Yellow Pages are back?! Well, sort of ...
Did you know your friendly Yellow Pages are still changing with the times? That weird-smelling block of paper dropped on your doorstep has turned into a suite of digital marketing services for businesses, some tied directly to the yp.com website: search engine optimization, online business listing optimization, online video and reputation management, etc.
We haven't compared yp.com to other digital marketing opportunities out there advertising online at dvm360.com or at shows like CVC yet (soon?), but if you want to learn more about yp.com's services for small business, click here.