One of the fundamental messages we at DVMelite try to drive home with all of our practices is the critical importance of establishing long-lasting relationships with your veterinary clients. Attractive prices might get someone’s foot in the door, but it’s the personal connection that will ultimately keep them coming back, year after year and generation after generation of pet. That being said, making these connections isn’t always something that comes naturally to all of us.
If you find yourself struggling in this area, here are a few strategies you can implement that will help you establish more meaningful and therefore more profitable relationships with your clients.
Start with the first impression.
Before a client has the opportunity to meet and connect with you as the doctor or practice owner, he or she will likely begin their experience with a simple phone call. How that call is handled can set the tone for a long-standing, mutually beneficial relationship or a one-and-done interaction. If it’s a particularly poor experience, it could eliminate your chances of ever meeting that prospective client in the first place. So, simply put, your front desk is the gateway to your practice. Make sure that first impression is an outstanding one, each and every time.
Manage your schedule effectively.
One of the keys to connecting with clients is taking the time to listen to their needs and concerns and to answer their questions adequately. You can’t accomplish either of these things if you’re rushing through appointments. Make a point not to overbook and be conscious when you’re with a client to slow down and give them your undivided attention. It will pay off tenfold.
Social media has made it possible to connect with large audiences in a way that is both efficient and highly engaging. Take advantage of this powerful tool by establishing and maintaining an active online presence for your practice. (Not sure where to begin? Check out this DVMelite blog post to learn some do’s and don’ts of veterinary practice social media.)
Put yourself in their shoes.
In the last installment of our DVMelite Expert Series we detailed how to more effectively think like your clients. This is important because it helps you find that common ground and provides your clients with a more human view of your practice. Even something as simple as smiling, making eye contact, offering a hug or sharing a story about your own animal family member can go a long way toward cementing that bond.
Be responsive and willing to improve.
These days, the internet has provided a public platform upon which unhappy clients can share their bad experiences with the whole world. Be responsive – even to the negative reviews you receive. Be professional, positive and offer a solution. Above all, be willing to take feedback and use it as a tool for personal and professional growth. This will improve relationships with current clients, potentially bridge the divide with unhappy ones and demonstrate to future prospects that you care and you’re willing to make the changes necessary to become a better veterinary provider. In other words, it’s a win-win.
Connecting with clients on a personal level is something we recommend to all of our DVMelite practice go-getters. Why? Because it’s ultimately what will differentiate your clinic from all the others in your geographical area. It’s also a catalyst for generating valuable word-of-mouth marketing. In other words, it’s essential to the growth and ongoing success of your practice.
Are you doing enough to establish those all-important personal connections with your clients? If not, the above tips should provide you a good starting point.