How To Increase Your Veterinary Recalls and Reminders

Years ago when I owned my first practice as a solo vet, we ran a very simple but effective system to remind owners that their pets were due for their annual booster vaccination. At that time we had no computers, mobile phones, faxes or e.mails and the reception staff were charged with filling out and addressing a postcard, stamping it and put it in a box ready to be posted 12 months hence, every single time a client came in with a cat or dog for their initial or booster vaccination. The system was so simple it really couldn’t go wrong and from memory, recall rates for the first posted reminder were 65% or more rising to 70 or 80% after the second or third reminder.

What’s changed over the last thirty or forty years? Is it because practices are fully computerised and staff have forgotten how to use a pen a paper. Is it because clients aren’t so ready to accept professional advice or is it because vets are less confident about offering firm advice about the value of preventive medicine.

Episode 107 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which Diederik Gelderman, a management consultant based near Sydney, offers some suggestions and practical tips to improve your response rates

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Some tips to offset lost product sales at your practice

Throughout my professional career as a vet, there has been a consensus view I think, that practices undercharged for their professional expertise and relied too much on the sale of products to generate practice profits. The problem with such a strategy is that the number and effectiveness of competing suppliers in the market for animal health and veterinary products has increased dramatically and that animal owners, like most other consumer groups, use the internet to seek out consumer information and no longer assume that their local veterinary practice is the best, most convenient or most cost-effective supplier of the products they’re looking for

Episode 107 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which Fritz Wood, a CPA and business consultant to the profession, offers some tips to offset lost product sales at your practice

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Why does vaccination compliance fall off dramatically between puppyhood and a two year old?

The latest figures from the MAI report from AT Systems, indicate that in the UK, 78.8% of puppies and 58.1% of kittens are up to date with the recommended vaccination programme but that the numbers fall off dramatically to 58.4% and 47.9% respectively, two years later. Why does it happen? Well – it’s clearly an issue of poor compliance with professional advice. The first question is why? If anyone is to blame, is it the client or the practice? This is a major business management problem for practice and I was delighted to have an opportunity of talking to Andrew Carter, Head of Client and Member Services at the Premier Vet Alliance during the London Vet Show

Episode 106 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which Andrew talks about a new approach to improving compliance and increasing practice revenue

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Business Optimism in the Veterinary Industry

The commercial exhibition at the London Vet Show in November was huge and around 50 of the more than 300 commercial stands, were devoted to the business, rather than the clinical aspects of practice.

I sensed that a good deal of business optimism was about this year and I recorded 2 short clips Episode 105 of the Veterinary Business Video Show – the first with Derek King, Managing Director of VetBuild Solutions, who reported that investment in practice premises was on the rise. I also had a word with Ian Kynock and Stephen Barabas, Director of VBS Direct who spoke about the success of their K Laser Therapy as one treatment option to enhance client service and grow practice income.

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Working with a practice development group to achieve individual and group objectives

Alan Robinson of VetDynamics is a regular contributor at the London Vet Show and always attracts a large and lively audience. This year was no exception and Alan was also able to host a separate lunchtime session promoting the benefits of small groups of practice owners and managers meeting and working together on a regular basis with a mentor or group facilitator to define and achieve agreed group and practice objectives.

One of the group mentors and speakers was Jenny Guyat and Episode 105 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which she she talks about her role and the results her groups have been able to achieve

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Do you want to work in a happy practice with happy staff and serving happy clients?

Do you want to work in a happy practice with happy staff and serving happy clients? – of course you do. Wikipedia defines happiness as a mental or emotional state of well-being characterised by positive or pleasant emotions ranging from contentment to intense joy. So you might imagine that we would all be happy if we got what we wanted but miserable if we didn’t.

Episode 104 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which Dan Gilbert challenges that view and tells us a little more about the surprising science of happiness.

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What do you understand by the term – solutions marketing?

If a solution is an action or process that solves a problem then solution marketing could be described as the process of defining, informing, and providing solutions that help customers to solve their problems and achieve value.

Could solution marketing be a concept which might apply to the veterinary industry and the relationship between a veterinary practice and its clients.

Practice management consultant Karyn Gavzer certainly thinks so – Episode 104 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which she offers one example and suggests that you too, think of some examples of problems facing your clients which your practice might be able to solve.

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What to do when the phone doesn’t ring and the door doesn’t swing

One of the hot practice management topics in recent years has related to compliance – that is the extent to which veterinary patients actually receive the treatment or other healthcare measures recommended by their vet, nurse or other professional. If compliance is poor – and all too often it is, there’s a tendency to blame the clients for not accepting professional advice. The reality in most cases, is that the fault lies with poor practice management – not the client. What about those days when business is quiet? when the phone doesn’t ring and the door doesn’t swing?

Episode 103 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip in which Janice Wheeler suggests similarly, that the likeliest cause for quiet days isn’t the weather or some other external factor, but poor practice management

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Is your veterinary practice a good investment?

If you own or are planning to own a veterinary practice – can I ask you this question? Did you buy into practice because it offers you job security and because you wanted to be your own boss as a clinician – or because you regard practice ownership as an investment. I imagine that for most owners, it was both – but if you consider your practice as an investment and to build wealth for your retirement, much will depend on its ability to deliver a healthy level of profit.

So with that in mind – ask yourself what are your three key costs which influence profit and the value of your practice, how much profit are you really making, how many client transactions do the vets in your practice handle on a daily basis and how do all those numbers compare with other similar practices?

Episode 103 of the Veterinary Business Video Show includes a clip which will show you how to find out online, here and now

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