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A 5 Step Plan to Build Business Back During Slow Times in Veterinary Practice

December 9, 2014

This is an idea to use anytime it is slow in practice to reconnect with lapsed clients and help more pets


Can you identify with this situation? — It seems obvious when business is slow and team members have time on their hands that they could make phone calls to lapsed clients and invite them to make an appointment for their pets.  This helps the patients, the clients and the practice but most staff members don’t see it that way. And they don’t like making reminder calls! Veterinary team members like making clients happy. Many think that clients will see their calls as pushy or as a “telemarketing call” — not something that will make a client happy.
Practice owners and managers can always force team members to make the calls, but I guarantee they will not get good results!  For a better outcome, why not try a different approach?. Here’s a 5-Step Plan to help you and your team members feel more confident and successful making calls to lapsed clients:

5 Step Plan

1. Make the calls important. Start with your doctors. Have them affirm why they recommend the vaccinations they do and what the vaccines do for the pets.  For instance, for dogs, the doctors may say that the vaccines protect them against serious and life-threatening diseases as well as allow them to enjoy doggy parks, walks, pet play groups and more with less risk of kennel cough.

  1. Build your team’s confidence so that they know what they are talking about. Ask the doctors to share their beliefs about vaccinations with the whole team in a staff meeting.  Follow-up with a short C.E. about what each vaccine does. (This will relate vaccinating pets to your mission as well as help team members feel more confident in client conversations.)
  2. Engage your team. Meet with your CSRs/Receptionists and “re-frame” the calls:  Why not assume, for instance, that clients want to protect their pets but get busy and their good intentions unintentionally fade away? The calls are a way of holding out your hand to clients and offering to help them take care of their pets – something you both want to do.
  3. Make a plan for success. Start by making a few reminder calls yourself. This will give you credibility and your own experience to draw on. Then, meet with your CSRs/Receptionists. Ask them what happens when they make the calls?  Make a list. Brainstorm ways to overcome the negatives and work with the positives.
  4. The rest is project management:  Set goals/use spreadsheets to track the calls and results/provide feedback to your team on how they’re doing/reward and celebrate success -better care for pets because of their calls.

    It all comes down to changing their minds about the calls. Once they see that the calls are really about patient care and helping clients, it will be more comfortable for them to make the them. Some team members will get it. Others won’t.  Consider creating a small taskforce of callers from the ones that get it to increase the probability of call success and give you good call models to share with others. Finally, make sure that team members have the time to make the calls and a place to do it.

    It’s a great way to fill the appointment book during slow times, reconnect with clients and help pets who need it.

    Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM
    Practice Management Consultant

Key Words:   Veterinary practice,  Practice Management, Attracting clients, Building business in veterinary practice, Slow-day marketing opportunities, Pet health care, Marketing ideas for veterinary practices

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