You may have noticed it in your practice – during telephone conversations or when pet owners visit the practice; customers are less patient, which can lead to increased frustration and stress for staff.
66% Less patience
Recently, Zendesk (a customer communication platform), published a report stating that 66% of customers are less patient than the year before. When considering your patience, you might immediately think about that emergency patient who is not actually an emergency, or the “I’m going on holiday tomorrow and still have to vaccinate my 5 dogs against rabies and also need new passports” appointments.
The study concluded that impatient customers need an “exceptional customer experience”, which included a combination of helping a customer quickly and meeting their service and support needs. So how could you translate these findings into practice life to offer your impatient customers?
Pet owner: “My cat has fleas”
Exceptional service: The customer calls the practice for advice, which is given on the phone, and follows up with a standardised e-mail or text message with a link to your website with more information about the suggested treatment. Because the customer has received information beforehand, when the customer visits your practice to purchase the product, they are able to ask better questions about the treatment and make a well-informed decision. After the purchase, the pet owner is added to receive (automatic) reminders for future preventative treatments.
Pet owner: “My cat has an appointment for surgery”
Exceptional service: Before the treatment, the pet owner is given information about the operation, so they are better informed on the day itself. In the days before the surgery, the owner is reminded by text message of the date and time of the appointment, and that the pet should not have food before the operation. When the pet is in surgery, the owner is informed via a text message and when the treatment is completed the owner is called. Post-surgery, with the help of automatic reminders, the owner is reminded of aftercare such as monitoring the patient, removing the stitches, and follow-up appointments.
Direct impact on your business performance
Now you probably think: “Nice examples, but our system works ok as it is, and those examples would take too long to set up”. That may be so, but consider that pet owners are not only customers of your practice alone. Your pet owner also uses other care providers such as hairdressers, taxi companies and dentists. They also use the local pet shop, dog walkers and groomers. The combination of these service providers and the service levels that they provide create expectations that the pet owner also expects from you. Simply put, your service can be measured against that of their hairdresser.
It’s no coincidence that in the same Zendesk report, 64% of companies say customer service has a direct impact on business performance.
Customer, king, emperor and content
Of course, you can’t spend hours on the phone with every pet owner and answer endless questions. What you can do is ensure that the tools around you – such as Animana – are optimised to work for you, and do some of the repetitive work. It may take you some time to set up default reminder texts and treatment advice (don’t forget that your suppliers can help you with this), and to do some settings in Animana. That’s still better than writing hundreds of individual emails or answering phone calls with similar content. With Animana you can often do more than you think and a little creative thinking can go a long way to reduce the percentage of impatient customers while increasing business success and efficiency.
Tips to optimise your workflow
1. Online appointment booking
Let pet owners easily make appointments themselves – even outside opening hours! Online appointment platforms such as Vetstoria, allow you to control when owners can make an appointment and what for. For example, you can control when you accept appointments for basic consultations and allow more extensive checks or services such as puppy consultations. If you offer additional services such as an in-house grooming salon – you can define hours for those too.
- Advertise online appointment booking via your website and social media channels
- Add links to online appointment booking in email signatures
- Create scannable QR codes with a direct booking link for your vaccination reminders or cards.
Learn more about automatic reminders in Animana:
- How do you connect to Vetstoria?
- How do I set up my calendar to work with online appointments?
- Learning path: Diary management
2. SMS text messages
Send text messages easily and quickly from your Animana account. Aniamna supports both ad-hoc messaging, and product or service-based automatic reminders such as vaccination reminders.
- Use SMS text messages to remind pet owners the day before their appointment
- Proactively inform owners of the stages of a pet treatment or admission; you may be able to offer this as a premium service.
- Send reminders via SMS text messages
Learn more about text messaging in Animana
- How do I send a text message?
- How do I send an appointment reminder from the calendar (also possible with SMS)?
3. Automatic Reminders
Automatic reminders allow you to send communications to pet owners automatically. After a one-off setup, it works automatically, with minimal input. It is ideal for standard vaccination calls or antiparasitic reminders.
- Use automatic reminders to inform and remind pet owners. For example, you can send pet weight loss advice and prompt for weight checks or check-ins.
- In cases of a chronic condition, such as diabetes or thyroid problems, use automated reminders to keep the owner engaged. For example, informing them in advance of the consultation will lead to better questions and better care.
Learn more about automatic reminders in Animana
- Learning Path: Automatic Reminders
- Set a reminder on a product
- How to manually add an automatic reminder to the patient record
- How to make reports of (automatic) reminders
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