5 steps to getting your vet practice back to business after COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic has touched all of us, as individuals, families, teams and businesses. The last few months have been tough for local businesses, really tough - veterinary practices included. Many services paused, staff furloughed, practices temporarily closed and sadly, in some cases permanently. Consumer attitudes and habits have changed during lockdown; which changes are permanent is yet to be seen, but 'old normal' is still a long way off!
Here at Virtual Recall; our mission is to help every veterinary practice improve the health of animals they look after, enhance their customers' experience and significantly boost the financial health of their business.
Your business may be battered or bruised, but we're here to help you nurse your practice back to full strength.
Here are a few simple steps that could help you get back on track. The good news is, these can be automated, leaving your team to focus on reconnecting with clients and animals be it in practice, in the car park or over the phone (or video).
1. Communicate: tell your clients that you're open for business
It sounds obvious, but let your clients know that you're open - otherwise, they may stay away as they "don't want to inconvenience you" or start to look for alternatives.
Let them know what services you can offer, which of your sites are open/closed or have different opening times, and, reassure them of your 'social distancing' protocols.
2. Catch up on outstanding treatments and procedures
Since urgent or emergency cases have been all you've been able to offer, now is the perfect time to 'catch up' routine treatments and procedures:
With many vaccinations postponed, ensure that you reach out to those clients whose animals are overdue. You could easily do this by updating your vaccination reminders to reflect that you are 'open for all vaccinations'.
Neutering & new patients
Since lockdown there's been a significant rise in the demand for puppies and kittens. It's important to ensure they have the best guidance from day one, including critical advice around the health benefits of neutering.
Welcome your clients with automated welcome packs, and send targeted communication to those youngsters who are potentially due to be neutered during lockdown.
With lockdown lasting the whole of spring and now into early summer, it's important you continue to remind your clients to treat the pets for fleas, ticks and worms.
If compliance and reordering have dropped, you may want to consider doing a digital parasiticide awareness campaign. To help with orders, look at online ordering for home delivery or 'contact-free' click & collect.
3. Home delivery, click & collect, telemedicine
Client expectations and habits have changed. Buying and accessing healthcare online is the new 'normal'. Providing a safe and easy contact-free service, for home delivery and click & collect - not only encourages clients to keep on top of their animals' health but, with 1/3rd of online orders are made 'out of hours'*, will generate a healthy income stream.
Home delivery will reduce the amount of stock you have to carry in practice, boost your cash flow and minimise out-of-date stock write-offs. Manually managing orders can be an additional burden for the team with extra admin to fulfil, so we'd highly recommend an automated service like
allows clients to reorder products direct from their parasiticide messages. It's quick & easy for the practice to manage as the system pulls the data from your PMS (via our iRecall® integration). Always branded to your practice,
is your home delivery service for your clients, your way.
In addition to parasiticide treatments, clients can have their pet food delivered, order chronic mediations and pay for other services (e.g. video consultations).
4. Give your PHP membership a health check of its own
Try and carve out some time over the coming weeks to review your PHP membership - if clients don't see the value for money, they may start to cancel their membership. Once cancelled, it's highly unlikely that they will ever sign back up again.
In the immediate short-term, consider giving your PHP clients free home delivery on their monthly parasiticides and any additional pet food orders - enhancing membership benefits.
Free monthly home delivery would encourage more people to join your plan too. Of course, in the long-term, you could increase your PHP's monthly subscription fee by a modest amount to cover all or part of the costs.
5. Boost online presence
The support for small businesses has been one positive we can take from the COVID pandemic. With more of us online more often than not, you need to ensure that your online presence is tip-top.
Relevant and recent positive reviews on Google, Facebook and your own website are paramount to staying ahead of your local competition.
The first step to improving your online reputation is to make sure you're asking the happiest of your customers to spare a moment to write a glowing review online. These can be all be fully automated and even published to your website without taking up any of your team's time.
And don't forget to share these glowing testimonials with your team - we can all do with a 'thank you' and a pat on the back from time to time!
We're here to help!
We know you and your team have been working tirelessly through the pandemic, and we're here to give you a helping hand.
team a call to discuss
the challenges facing your practice specifically, and together we can formulate an action plan, making things easier and more profitable for your business now and the future. *Our stats have found that a 1/3rd of OurVet.Shop™ orders are made 'out of hours,'.