Business owners in the digital era must constantly grapple with new technologies to remain at the top of their industries. Communication methods that kept clients satisfied and profits high just a few years ago are now obsolete, with today’s veterinarians needing new and better forms of communication to stay afloat. Understanding how to digitize veterinary operations while keeping pace with changes as they arise is of the utmost importance.
Whether they’re relying on cutting-edge veterinary apps or contributing to the growing field of veterinary telemedicine, there are many ways that practice owners can communicate with clients at scale in the digital era. Review these best practices to ensure that your veterinary professionals can still meet the needs of patients in this hectic digital age.
Meeting the Needs of Digital-age Clients
Veterinary practice owners and consolidators must understand that millennials now make up the bulk of their target audience. These younger clients of the digital-age are often called “digital natives” for a good reason, as they’ve grown up immersed in digital technology that’s far unlike anything their parents or grandparents had access to. In addition to having access to wonderous technology that shapes their consumer preferences, they also live in a society that puts a social and commercial emphasis on the role of tech in everyday life like never before.
The rise of the millennial generation has been incredibly consequential for the veterinary industry. Practices hoping to attract clients from the generation which now spurs most of the industry’s growth need to embrace slick digital tools that set them apart from the competition. Younger clients won’t tolerate dated advertising methods or slow websites that feature lackluster design elements. Meeting the needs of digital-age clients requires embracing the growing role of technology in the veterinary industry.
Veterinary consolidators should also recognize that embracing digital technology will help attract new-age talent. Digital services aren’t only favored by millennials, but are also what modern veterinary professionals who rely on digital tools every day expect to see in their workplace. Understand that the digitization of any veterinary practice serves to ease communication with clients while also ensuring that practitioners are maximizing their professional potential.
The Challenges of the Digital Age
Veterinary professionals are all too familiar with many of the challenges that are unique to the digital age. Modern clients expect near-instantaneous communication, for example, and will leave poor reviews for practices that fail to meet their standards. Veterinary professionals who are experts in the field of animal medicine may also have to deal with clients who believe cursory internet searches provide them with more information than the experts themselves have access to.
In order to avoid miscommunication that could jeopardize the brand of your practice, ensure that professionals are familiar with proper conduct on official social media pages. Consider hiring a dedicated IT team to manage your website, so that you don’t lose potential or existing customers to unexpected crashes, dangerous data breaches or slow loading pages. Finally, successfully navigating the digital era will require your veterinary practice to identify and avoid friction points in client communication to ensure you don’t reach out with the wrong message.
Recognizing Friction Points in Client Communication
Successfully communicating with clients requires veterinary practices to identify and avoid friction points which could damage their relationship with pet owners. Few millennial clients want to do business with a practice that relies on outdated methods of communication which can be frustrating and slow to use compared to more modern methods. There’s good reason to believe that millennials hate phone calls, for instance, so calling clients with status updates or marketing pitches is a surefire way to alienate your target audience in most cases.
This doesn’t mean that veterinary consolidators should eschew phones altogether. While millennials may not want to take part in traditional phone calls, they’ll still eagerly use smartphone apps to do business with the brands they know and love. Practice owners seeking to communicate with clients at scale should ditch old-fashioned ways of leveraging phones for commercial purposes and stick to new-age methods like the development of apps.
Similar to avoiding phone calls, practice owners should abandon the fax machine as a relic of a bygone era. While faxing patients proved to be an attractive commercial practice in the past, it’s now a sign that your business is outdated and incapable of communicating with clients on their terms. While some internet pharmacies still fax medical information from time to time, modern practices hoping to cultivate a powerful brand in the digital era should rely on email and other contemporary methods of communication instead.
Ensuring stellar client communication just isn’t possible when your practice is using sluggish communication tools developed for a different era. The best veterinary apps, a well-designed website with quick loading times, and a robust social media presence are all required to avoid points of friction when communicating with your clients. Services like PetsApp will impress patients by letting them book appointments, schedule video chats, and make easy digital payments on their phones. Used by thousands of veterinary professionals, this app and others like it will convince millennial clients that you can do business on their terms.
Implementing Modern Communication Methods
Consolidators should focus on implementing the following modern communication methods into the practice as soon as possible:
- Messenger apps
- Software services
- Smartphone/tablet apps
- Social media accounts
Messenger apps can be used to communicate directly with clients. Additionally, practice managers can use instant messaging apps such as Slack, Telegram, or WhatsApp to communicate with clinic employees. Veterinary professionals may find that these instant messaging apps — or even basic SMS — are the most reliable way to inform one another of shift changes, supply shortages, or other daily updates. These messaging services also allow clients to speak quickly and directly with the professionals who will be taking care of their beloved pets.
Software services can be more difficult to implement, as they may require a dedicated IT professional or some training before employees become familiarized with their features. Nevertheless, software has become a regular facet of the modern professional workforce and can be implemented in the veterinary industry to bolster efficiency. With software services at their disposal, veterinary professionals will be able to meet the needs of more clients in less time. Cloud-based management software allows professionals to easily access patient records and keep track of administrative costs.
In addition to helping professionals manage their daily responsibilities, software also allows practices to offer veterinary telemedicine services. This is a particularly important step to take during a pandemic, when in-person business could be minimal and more clients flock to digital services when seeking remedies for their pets’ problems.
Smartphone apps can be used to educate clients about veterinary medicine at scale. Veterinary professionals can use apps like Plumb’s Veterinary Drugs to create printable drug handouts for clients that help them medicate their furry friends at home. The Pet First Aid app created by the American Red Cross can also be recommended to clients who want to ensure the health of their pets in emergency situations. Recommending these apps to clients is a great way to build trust between them and your practice.
Other apps exist to help veterinary professionals avoid burnout or enhance workplace productivity. When using apps that help them calculate dosages, diagnose illnesses, or better understand the anatomy of the animal being treated, veterinary professionals are less likely to make costly mistakes. Apps thus offer an enticing way to communicate with clients while also helping rank-and-file professionals excel at their jobs.
Finally, veterinary practices seeking to communicate with clients at scale must become active on the most popular social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and other platforms have millions of millennial users who are itching for new content to consume. Whether they’re leveraged for traditional digital advertising campaigns or used to create content designed to go viral, these platforms let you communicate with clients on their own terms. Consolidators looking to boost business should consider developing a social media team to communicate with as many users as possible.
The Matter of Choice
Veterinary practice owners assessing their many options may be satisfied with one or two of these tools when communicating with clients. The truth of the matter, however, is that practices should embrace as many of these methods as possible to communicate at a greater scale than ever before. A variety of communication channels ensures that no client is left behind when it comes to your messaging efforts.
The client communication best practices you need to embrace to grow your business extend to every one of these communication methods. Choosing one method to focus on at a time is perfectly acceptable, especially if your practice can’t afford to digitize everything at once. Begin by choosing to embrace those communication methods which will yield the most results as quickly as possible; customer service software or social media campaigns often generate commercial returns quickly and are a great place to start.
Changing consumer preferences requires your practice to focus on different communication methods when targeting certain consumer demographics. Older clients who have been patronizing your practice for years may appreciate phone calls or other interpersonal communication methods. Younger clients, on the other hand, will expect that their veterinary care provider goes the extra mile and meets them in the digital environments where they choose to spend a fair share of their time and money. Choosing which demographic you’re targeting with any given ad campaign will determine your mode of communication.
Social media campaigns are always a great choice, regardless of the age of your workforce or target demographic. This is because consumers in every age group use platforms like Facebook and YouTube in overwhelming numbers. Excellent client communication is ensured when you maintain a healthy presence on these platforms that are frequented by potential clients.
Any communication tool that maximizes client satisfaction is worthy of your practice’s attention. Enhancing client communication should be prioritized over implementing workplace software, but by no means should consolidators ignore digital tools that can improve profit margins and reduce burnout across the workforce. Modern consumers have more choices than clients of bygone generations. As a result, they’ll likely have fewer reasons to be loyal to any specific brand, so expect to work harder to attract and maintain the attention of millennial consumers who demand the best from their veterinary care provider.
Succeeding at Scale
Clients in the digital age are easily alienated by lackluster communication practices. Ensuring that clear client communication comes first should be a priority for any veterinary consolidator seeking to bolster profits. Modern social media platforms offer an affordable and effective way of reaching out to millennial customers, while innovative software and helpful apps ensure workplace communication is smooth for veterinary professionals. Invest in the right digital tools for the job, and your veterinary clinic will soon master client communication best practices that keep pet owners happy with your services.