Our 3 tips for 2021
From the moment you join the queue, you are full of expectations. You’ve already had a good look at the roller coaster, and you have a good idea of how the ride will go… You probably thought precisely the same about the New Year in December 2019 – good intentions, all the plans, and goals set. But even before the ‘waiting’ was well and truly over, the 2020 ‘ride’ started.
If you’ve ever been on a roller coaster, you know that a ride can be quite turbulent – and sometimes that’s the fun. Sometimes the ride is much different than you estimated from a distance, from the ground. The only thing that is really certain during the ride is that it will eventually come to an end. Similarly, 2020 – a year where you’ll look back on annoying moments and beautiful moments, but certainly a year of which you will always remember ‘the ride’. Ultimately, it is the ups and downs that make the memory.
Just like a real roller coaster ride, you will take these experiences with you. 2020 may have been a less pleasant time with more downs than ups, but ultimately, it is those downs that you take most of later on. Did you have that crazy gut feeling when you saw a descent coming? How did you prepare yourself? In the end, was it as bad as you thought? If not, was it because you anticipated correctly? Did this feel like a win (big or small)? Great, then you know exactly what to do when you get on the next roller coaster.
Now that our 2020 ‘ride’ is almost over, we can slowly start looking back. 2020 will have a lasting impact on the years to come. After this year, many things will not be the same, but after every down comes an up—a new moment to catch your breath, oversee the experience and look ahead.
Tip 1: The permanent ‘new normal.’
Like it or not, the ‘new normal’ is here to stay! If you offered pet owners a different experience from previous years, this could just be a new normal.
As an example, my hairdresser never previously worked by appointment, and never wanted to think about the hassle which came with it. Now that they are forced to work by appointment, they learn the advantages. And as it turns out, almost all regular customers think it is an improvement in the service. So a win-win.
In your practice, were those quieter waiting rooms more pleasant? Did you cancel walk-in consultation hours? Perhaps you used video consultations, or increased your use of SMS text message reminders? If you want to implement or try new things, now is your chance!
What do you run into in your practice? Do you have to keep more on top of stock because of some supply problems? Do pet owners want to be informed differently about treatments or receive texts or emails when a medication should be administered (at home)? Take the time to talk to your customers, make a list of what works and what does not, and implement this as your personal ‘new normal’ of 2021.
Tip 2: Have a Plan B
Who could have imagined that cafes, museums, zoos etc. would ever have to close their doors? During the beginning of the pandemic, it was the same question for the veterinary practices – is it an essential profession? Fortunately, practices were allowed to remain open – albeit with extra measures.
Having a ‘Plan B’ turns out to be essential. Sometimes you don’t see change coming, so you have to switch quickly. In that sense, it is not directly about having every detail laid out, but more about taking the unknown into account. After all, you don’t know what the next challenge could be. A good example would be something ‘simpler’ like a power outage in your street for one day, or a sudden outage of staff. This can cause quite a bit of unrest in practice. If 2020 has taught you one thing is that you can switch quickly and come up with solutions for complex problems. That power outage or staff shortage will no longer be a problem to worry about from 2021, right?
Tip 3: Have fun and enjoy
Many of our IDEXX Veterinary Software & Services employees have a strong veterinary background. Many are also veterinarians or veterinary nurses and know better than anyone how much fun the profession is. From our home offices, we saw how 2020 went for you as a user, veterinarian, veterinary nurse, receptionist, trainee, student, or support staff. During our (private) visits to your practices, with our own pets, we saw first-hand that you could still provide the best care under the most extreme of circumstances. Despite the masks and screens, we also saw your always friendly smile and the fun you still have while practising this wonderful profession. After all, you also get on the roller coaster for fun!
Finally, we’ll leave you with the words of our Dutch IDEXX VSS Consultant, Pieter Stokman: “Thanks for the laugh, thank you for being there“.
We hope you’ll join us looking forward to the new ride: 2021!