Q&A: Do online veterinary referrals hold as much weight as word-of-mouth referrals?

Q&A: Do online veterinary referrals hold as much weight as word-of-mouth referrals?

Q: I've heard that 60 percent of your veterinary practice's referrals should come from clients' word-of-mouth. How has the Internet changed that recommendation? Should we count online recommendations from our clients?
source-image
Apr 01, 2011

Q: I've heard that 60 percent of your veterinary practice's referrals should come from clients' word-of-mouth. How has the Internet changed that recommendation? Should we count online recommendations from our clients?

First, any practice that is tracking referral sources is on the right path—it's crucial to know what channels are working for your hospital, says Karyn Gavzer, CVPM. That said, the world is changing. Conventional word-of-mouth referrals are great but no longer sufficient in our technology-driven society. "If face-to-face word-of-mouth was sufficient, we wouldn't be seeing the decline in new client numbers and patient visits documented by the new Bayer-Brakke-NCVEI Usage Study," Gavzer says.

Consumers today rely online consumer-to-consumer recommendations—like those found on Yelp and other similar review sites—instead of advertising, according to market research studies. This means that more than likely new pet owners make their decisions on which practice to choose based on what they read online. You are right to include your online referrals if you want an accurate count, Gavzer says, and 60 percent is still a great goal to shoot for.

Hot topics on dvm360

Follow dvm360 on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest

For quick updates and to touch base with the editors of dvm360, Veterinary Economics, Veterinary Medicine, and Firstline, and check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.

Why veterinarians should be more like a Louisiana shoeshiner

If my veterinary clients feel half as good as I did after visiting the 'Michael Jordan of shoeshines,' I'll be thrilled.

Texts from your veterinary clinic cat

If your clinic cat had a cell phone and opposable thumbs, what would he or she text you?

Learning goodbye: Veterinarians fill a void by focusing on end of life care

Veterinarians dedicating their careers to hospice and euthansia medicine may be pioneering the profession's next specialty—at clients' request.