John Volk, senior consultant with veterinary market analysis firm Brakke Consulting, presented brand-new data at CVC San Diego detailing what thriving practices are doing to see more clients—at a time when most veterinary practices are experiencing fewer visits. Here are the top four drivers of increased visits to successful veterinary practices, according to Volk:
1. Individual relationships. The No. 1 driver of increased visits to veterinary clinics is clients’ seeing the same doctor at every visit. Pet owners build a stronger bond and see greater need for veterinary services when they see the same veterinarian, Volk says. These individual relationships allow doctors to realize when they haven’t seen a client or patient for a while and follow up to get an appointment scheduled.
2. Believing wellness exams are one of the most valuable services you provide. “If you believe it, so will your clients,” Volk says—and they’ll bring their pets in for these exams as a result. What many veterinarians don’t realize, according to Volk, is that their clients want to please them as much as they want to please their clients.
3. Believing strongly in marketing programs. If you believe in these programs, you’ll do them, Volk says. And consistent marketing of your services will pay off in bringing pet owners through your door.
4. Use of social media. Volk displayed a number of statistics illustrating that not only do pet owners use the Internet, they use it far more than average consumers—especially cat owners. When you have a social media presence on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, you’re giving pet owners a reason to engage with you in their preferred forum, Volk says.
One of the most common reasons Volk hears for not engaging in more behaviors that drive demand for veterinary services is lack of time. However, with 30 percent of appointment slots open at the average practice, that excuse goes up in smoke. So take a look at these drivers for demand and figure out which ones you can focus more attention on. And don’t be surprised if you see more clients as a result.