Not just a new year but a new decade! January is the month of good intentions and trying new things. We have already given some quick tips to get the year off to a good start, and now that 2020 is well underway, we want to talk about opportunities.

Should this be the year you make some significant changes to your practice? You’re probably wondering “Why?” or “How?” – easy; your customer base is going to change! This year you’ll start to see more ‘Millennials’ or ‘Generation Y’ (people born between 1981 and 2000) come to your practice for the first time as pet owners.

“Clinics that learn how to deliver the right kind of experience to Millennials and their pets will be clinics that thrive”

Not all Clichés!

What do we think of when the term ‘Millennial’ is mentioned? Probably an image of a person glued to their smartphone, spending too long on social media, while drinking overpriced coffee. Besides the stereotypes, there is something that sets Millennials apart from other generations – their obsession with pets. 75% of Millennials are willing to spend sizeable money to care for their pets. Practices which learn and adapt how to deliver the right experiences to these new pet owners will be the practices that will do well in the new decade.

What the research says

In a recent study in the US, 532 Millennials were asked what they expected from their experience in a practice. Questions included why they go where they do, how they like to be informed, what keeps them loyal and what would make them change.

The most important finding: To win and retain pet owners, practices must provide a combination of professional, friendly care and excellent communication in line with the generations’ expectations.

Personal relationships are especially crucial for Millennials – 81% expressed that they wanted their veterinarian to know who they are when they call – yet 72% said they have to wait while their information is accessed.

How Millenials like to be contacted:

  • For appointment reminders, 57% prefer to receive text messages
  • For invoicing, 36% prefer to receive text messages
  • For follow-ups, 44% would like to receive a phone call.

Only 15% of the millennials always answer the phone to an unknown number, but 81% say they would have responded if they knew it was the practice calling.

When Millennials want to receive text messages:

  • Reminders for upcoming appointments (86%)
  • Reminder to schedule a check-up (59%)
  • Due vaccinations, treatments, or prescriptions (48%)

What makes Millenials loyal?:

  • Friendly practice staff (57%)
  • Personalised service (49%)
  • A clean practice (47%)

Why Millennials change practice or veterinarian:

  • Unfriendly staff (44%)
  • Dirty or unorganised practice (42%)
  • Long waiting times (30%)

How can practices offer Millennials a great experience:

In the study, something else unusual emerged. It turned out that the Millennials surveyed love their pet more than technology, and that more Millennials would give up their social media accounts and smartphones for their pets!