Take aim at client loyalty

Take aim at client loyalty

Knowing why new clients left their old practice is already half the battle.
Jun 01, 2012

Trying to earn new clients' loyalty without knowing why they left their previous veterinarian is like trying to master target shooting while blindfolded. Some new clients volunteer the reason they left their previous veterinarian. Others remain closed-mouthed about it. When you don't know the reason for their departure, it leaves you and your team in the dark as to what, if anything, went wrong—and how you might prevent it from happening to you.

There are many reasons clients ditch their doctor. Feeling rushed, long waits, rude receptionists, high-pressure sales tactics, and more could push clients out the door. While you can't prevent every single client from walking, you can take steps to figure out what matters most to each pet owner—and work to make sure it doesn't happen again at your practice. It would be short-sighted not to know why they left, and self-defeating to repeat the behavior.

To gain client loyalty, take this simple step: Ask pet owners why they left their previous practice. It might feel awkward the first time you do it, but you could say, "If you don't mind my asking, could you please tell me why you left your previous veterinarian? If there were problems of any kind, I want to make sure they don't happen here."

When you tell clients your reason for asking, chances are they'll be more likely to open up. This could give you and your team members important clues to the pet owner's expectations and priorities.

If a client truly liked his or her previous veterinarian and regretted having to leave the practice, ask what that hospital team did right instead. Learning what earned their affection and loyalty could help your practice team follow suit.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Bob Levoy is the author of 222 Secrets of Hiring, Managing, and Retaining Great Employees in Healthcare Practices (Jones and Bartlett, 2007).