Best Practices for Marketing Your Veterinary Practice During COVID-19
Is it week 4? 5? 6? of the COVID-19 nightmare? Guess it depends on where you live, and when you changed your practice’s protocols. Not sure it really matters, however, because for the time being anyway, we’re all navigating this new normal together.
You don’t need to be perfect. But you need to be honest.
Most pet owners understand and are appreciative of the steps you are taking to protect them – and your staff. Your upfront, unforgiving, and honest communication about what those steps are and why, are imperative to your reputation now, and success for the future when this is over.
Yes, it’s business, but it’s personal.
It’s easier than ever before to have each visit feel “transactional” rather than an extension of a personal relationship with a pet owner or referring veterinarian (I mean…who’s going to know? No one can come inside the practice, right?). Now is the time to ensure that each virtual exchange of information includes the pet’s name, unique condition, and the client/referring DVM name. It seems like a “duh” – but you’d be surprised. Whether you’re on the phone, using a visual platform, email, or even a traditional letter, a personalized and thorough approach to conveying information is essential – especially when there is a situation when finances are stretched.
Calm is contagious. And so is stress.
The current situation stinks for all of us. But at the end of the day… if you and your team remain calm, conversant, and confident – regardless of a patient’s outcome – the pet owner and referring DVM will too remain calm and understanding.
Stay current with technology.
Telehealth, online patient/client forms, easy eBilling, text updates, virtual visits, etc., are all designed to make doing business with your practice as easy as possible. Be the go-to, easy practice to do business with.
Don’t be shy or complacent about offering financing options.
Most pet owners are not prepared for unexpected pet medical expenses, nor do they have insurance. Your understanding of that, along with your sincere and upfront communication about offering resources such as CareCredit, VetBilling, and/or ScratchPay, etc., can make all the difference.
Communicate. Communicate. Communicate.
YOU may think you’ve communicated enough to your clients and/or referring DVMs about your hours, protocols, and practice changes. Reality check… you haven’t. Was it two weeks ago that you sent that eBlast or that social media post about curbside service or a change in your hours? Send it again – this week, dated – so everyone knows that the information you’re sending is current. And send it again next week with a new date. Stay in front of your competition, even if that means over-communicating (which is REALLY hard to do in today’s world unless you’re doing it every day).
Say thank you.
In a world where most people are thanking YOU for showing up to work every day (yes, THANK YOU!), it is important to be the practice that shows appreciation to your clients and referring DVMs for taking care of pets despite the challenges we all face. In-person (or virtual) is great of course, but follow up with an email or handwritten note of appreciation.