Clients are Complaining
What do your clients complain about? Haven’t you asked them? Just ask your receptionists/CSRs! In most cases, your team has heard complaints similar to what was reported at VMX 2020 by the United Veterinary Services Association (UVSA). Top complaints reported by 25% or more respondents were:
- Wait time too long
- Lack of weekend hours
- Not enough follow-up communications
- Lack of evening hours
- Lack of transparency about pricing
Reading through the list, what solutions come to mind? Be open more hours, hire more people to see appointments, and make more follow-up calls… However, most veterinary practices are having enough trouble filling current staffing needs without adding more positions! Instead of going with hiring more people, consider implementing a digital transformation to use the team in a unique, efficient manner.
There are several companies offering Apps and other telehealth solutions that will not only address these client complaints and improve access to veterinary care but will also change the practice’s mode of operation in a very positive way. There are multiple ways to provide telehealth – from live video calls to asynchronous store and forward models – and the great thing about this is that there are different options to choose from, options that fit the culture of the practice and the preferences of the veterinarian. One option worth exploring is the asynchronous model.
Asynchronous does not require real-time/live/immediate responses. Asynchronous means the veterinary practice can schedule a convenient time to assess information and data offline. The veterinarian and the client do not have to be available at the same time. Consider how asynchronous care can address the common client complaints listed above.
Wait Time Is Too Long
Long wait times are often because your veterinary services are in high demand. Great for business, bad for scheduling. How long is too long to wait? It doesn’t matter does it – everyone has their limit. What you do know is that everyone is affected – the client, the receptionist, the pet, the veterinary nurse, and the veterinarian. What if some appointments could be made virtually? Think about some of the follow-up appointments that are waiting to get into an exam room. Could contact be made via a video call or looking at a picture/video sent by the client? Could the client answer the questions you send to them to complete the follow-up care? Sure, this requires a change in the standard operating procedure. The VCPR was already established and a virtual progress exam has potential.
Lack Of Weekend Hours / Lack Of Evening Hours
Weekend and evening hour demands may be a matter of convenience for the client or an urgent need of the pet. Some clients need to discuss a pet’s condition to determine the next step in care and having a 24/7/365 point of contact can have considerable benefits in satisfying the need to have access to a veterinary professional. Partnering with the right service provider can keep the primary care veterinarian in the loop and involved in the ongoing care of the pet without adding appointment hours – and it may satisfy clients’ demands for access.
Not Enough Follow-Up Communications
Not enough follow-up communications affect both the veterinary team and clients alike. No one wants to be surprised by an unexpected outcome of a treatment; however, there are only 24 hours in a day so how can anyone provide continuous access to the veterinary team!? Asynchronous connected care has its benefits – the veterinary team receives text messages from clients and responds via a two-way app, reviews videos and pictures from clients, and remotely monitors pet activity. It seems that being connected to the client is possible – and at a scheduled time. With the right app, the client doesn’t need to call on the phone (and be placed on hold or be subjected to phone tag over the next few days), the client and veterinary team can engage in a two-way text messaging conversation, review weight and activity graphs, receive/confirm medication reminders, and respond quicker to any abnormalities. Connected care is easy, convenient, and increases the communications between veterinary team and client.
Lack Of Transparency About Pricing
Regarding the lack of price transparency complaints, an app will not address all of the needs, but it will address some of the questions. Consider creating an asynchronous connected care plan for specific conditions. For example, an overweight pet or one diagnosed with osteoarthritis can be enrolled in a care plan that includes unlimited two-way text messaging, remote patient monitoring with monthly reviews of weight and activity graphs, medication reminders, and virtual follow-up exams at set intervals. What about a surgery discharge plan? For a set fee, the client has a month of the same benefits. How many post-surgery questions can be handled via a text message and picture/video instead of taking up exam room time? How would a pet benefit when remote patient monitoring identifies an issue earlier than what would be noticed by the client? Would a client pay for membership in a plan that gives them all this easy access? Of course, they would – just look how many membership plans people enroll in today!
Our Demanding Culture
Clients are demanding – humans are demanding. We demand immediate responses, easy ordering, free delivery, and price transparency. It is the ‘way of the world’ today. Instead of fighting it and staying back in the old way of doing things, stop the insanity and look at new ways to provide excellent medical care and a great client experience (not client service, but rather, client experience). In the end, we will all be a little more pleased with each other and a little less stressed.
BableBark is one of the companies offering a solution that remedies many of these issues. To see how the BabelBark platform can enhance your practice, improve client engagement and offer tools to meet the ever growing and changing demands of clients, set up a demonstration today. You can schedule one directly by visiting www.babelvet.com or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org