COVID-19 has had a widespread and long-lasting impact on just about every industry and, unfortunately, the veterinary field is no exception. In the wake of the global pandemic, many clinics found themselves suddenly and unexpectedly forced to close down. Some found creative ways to keep their businesses alive, from offering telemedicine and contactless appointments to delivering care via house call.
Now that the dust is beginning to settle and many of the restrictions are finally being lifted, the new challenge lies in finding ways to reconnect and re-engage with those clients who may have fallen off the radar over the past several months. If you’re looking for a few ideas to reel those dormant clients back in and reassert your value in their pets’ lives, here are a few suggestions.
Stay on top of your online presence.
With so much uncertainty, it’s important that you provide your clients – new and old – with a quick and easy way to get up-to-date and accurate information about your practice. When they visit your website, check Google or head to your social media profiles, you want to make sure they’ll find what they’re looking for, including updated contact information, business hours and any changes you may have made to your available services.
You might also want to include information on how you’re handling the pandemic. For instance, letting people know you’re taking extra precautions for their safety will help ease their mind and increase the likelihood of them booking an appointment. Likewise, if there are additional requirements or protocols you’ve got in place, such as screenings and health attestations, it’s a good idea to include that info as well. The more informed your clients are, the better.
Send out some notices.
Whether you choose old-fashioned snail mail, email or a combination of both, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for your clients to come back to you, or assume they know you’re open for business and booking appointments again. You should be proactive in your communications with them.
Even if some of your clients aren’t yet ready to come in with their pets, at the very least, you’ll stay in contact and keep your practice top-of-mind with them. Be sure to always include reminders of the importance of staying up-to-date with ongoing vet care as well as compelling calls to action that prompt the recipient to take action as soon as they’re ready.
Offer something extra, if possible.
Whether or not they were impacted by coronavirus from a health perspective, this entire experience has affected almost all of us in some way or another. It’s important to recognize that the quarantine has left many people feeling incredibly vulnerable, whether financially, physically, psychologically, or all of the above.
Extending a few special considerations can really go a long way toward demonstrating empathy and understanding to your clients. For instance, offering designated hours for seniors will not only help keep your older clientele healthy and safe, but it might be just the thing that convinces them to book an appointment.
Think outside the box.
There are lots of creative ways to connect with clients and get them re-engaged with your practice and your staff. One idea is to host online seminars and other virtual educational events. Offering these types of “free perks” may also help you attract new prospects to your clinic. Not sure where to start? Think about the most common questions your clients ask and then see if you can turn those into free events that are informative, interesting and/or entertaining.
Last, but not least, encourage your clients to share their thoughts, feelings and ideas with you. Learning what’s on their minds and what may be standing in their way of scheduling an appointment can help you discover ways to overcome those obstacles.
Likewise, you may find that some of your clients have great ideas for accommodations that might make an experience with your practice feel safer and less risky. At the very least, you’ll keep the lines of communication open and show your clients that you value their opinion. And that can go a long way toward retention and a more secure bottom line.
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