This Won’t Be Popular, But…
By Robin Brogdon, MA, CEO
Several years ago, I wrote an article for Marketecture Digest on my experience visiting five different specialty practices for my dog Maddie and spending $5000. I wanted everyone to understand the experience from a pet owner’s perspective. And because I have spent the last 14 years as the owner of a marketing and management consulting firm for veterinarians, I have proven to be a strong advocate for veterinarians and their teams. It’s who we are and what we do every day – educating pet owners and primary care veterinarians about the advanced care options available for their pets and patients, or in the case of an industry client, help them make veterinarians aware of the products or services they offer that can benefit more animals.
So it pains me to write this follow up blog, which I never intended to do. But in light of so many practices receiving an abundance of negative reviews, this advice clearly warrants repeating.
I recently had an opportunity to visit two primary care practices and one specialty practice that are truly among the best. Yet the simple things that can make a pet owner feel at ease or at least more comfortable leaving their pet without entering the building were simply MIA. To say I was disappointed was an understatement because I hate that pet owners are rude to you and your teams. At BluePrints Veterinary Marketing Group, we’ve launched many a campaign over the last six months for clients to help set pet owner expectations for longer wait times, safety measures in place, and the fact that you are doing everything you can to help as many patients as quickly as possible.
So what happened?
- You were friendly. That’s great. You seemed caring. Awesome. You were definitely working hard. I could see that.
- So my question is, why?
- Why didn’t you explain your protocols and COVID-19 safety measures when I called to book an appointment?
- Why didn’t you direct me to complete paperwork prior to my appointment or direct me to your website? (the specialty practice sent paperwork ahead of time)?
- Why didn’t you inform me you have an app and online pharmacy?
- Why didn’t you tell me your name when you greeted me in the parking lot?
- Why didn’t you wear a name tag?
- Why didn’t you tell me your role and what you do (help pet owners respect you)?
- Why didn’t you tell me what was going to happen in the clinic when you took my pets from me?
- Why didn’t you explain what the meds were and how to administer them when handing them to me in the parking lot?
You may say to yourself, “My practice does all of these things.” But do you really? At every hour of the day, for every client? And do your reviews reflect that your pet owner clients felt prepared and set up for a successful visit? Did their expectations meet the actual experience? How do you know?
Please, I implore you – have someone secret shop your practice several times to get a true picture of what your practice is really putting out there and better comprehend the pet owner journey.
You can do so much better. It costs nothing to set an intention for the experience you want a pet owner to have when they interact with your clinic, and then work backward to determine all of the steps (and there are dozens) that you can map out with specifics to ensure it happens, every time, for every patient.
Yes, we’re happy to help if anyone is brave enough to look in the mirror. It might hurt a little, but it will hurt a lot less because it’s the first step to closing gaps in service that WILL lead to happier clients. And don’t we all need a little more appreciation and kindness these days? I sure do, but I fear my honesty in this blog post will do just the opposite. I trust you know I share these thoughts because I deeply care about your success.