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.