You are ‘The Vet’!
Are you a veterinary nurse, receptionist, accountant, cleaner, intern or the veterinarian in a veterinary practice? For the pet owner, ‘The Veterinarian’ is more than a single profession – it stands for the whole experience – a brand.
The word ‘vet’ immediately carries weight, it’s synonymous with words such as ‘trust’, ‘honesty’, ‘care’, ‘quality’, and ‘knowledge’, to name but a few. To most customers, it also means more than the one person who examines their pet – it transcends the function of the profession, representing the practice, the consultation, and the entire customer journey.
‘The Vet’ as an authority
Customers obtain something from a vet that others cannot offer. A baker bakes bread; however, bread can also be bought from a supermarket – bypassing the baker. This is not the case for you – a vet has an advantageous starting position; selling a product that is not available anywhere else. But don’t take this for granted – it is your job to convey this to your customers, it also means that customers expect a better experience and one that’s consistent across other practices,
Don’t bet on loyalty – instead improve the interaction
Many companies focus on loyalty instead of improving interactions with their customers. These companies continue to build on what used to work instead of investing in the customer. In communication, there is often a big gap and difference between what ‘The Vet’ means and what the pet owner wants to see and experience.
Pet owners are shoppers too – they shop around for the best prices for their groceries, or the latest gadgets, so you should expect them to do the same with you. It may sound short, but if you are not available when they call on your services (at any time of the day or night), the owner will go to another vet, and if they have a good customer journey there, you may have lost this customer permanently.
Of course, you cannot accommodate pet owners demands – sometimes there is simply no place for a consultation, or an emergency takes precedence. The perfect customer journey is, therefore, a dream scenario. You may have many ideas on how to give the pet owner a better ‘veterinary experience’. Still, the practicalities of day-to-day work mean that you can’t implement much of it, but often many elements are quick and relatively easy to implement. To discover these opportunities, you can start with an ‘Empathy Map’, to help you quickly identify opportunities for improving the customer journey in your practice.
The Empathy Map
- Download and print the template linked above.
- Think of a particular scenario or area you’d like to explore. For example, you can think of a recent situation or a consultation.
- For your chosen scenario, put yourself in the position of being the pet owner. Starting as the customer walks through the door, and ending when they walk out, in the relevant boxes on the empathy map, write down what they experience, and their behaviours. The goal is to empathise as much as possible with the situation, so you understand what your service means to your customers.
- Share this exercise with others at your practice. Ask for feedback and suggestions. The point is that you identify as much as possible with your target group, the pet owner.
The first time you do this it will be challenging to put yourself your customers’ steps, but as you do it more often, it will become more comfortable, and you will come to a more detailed description, and learn more each time.
Hopefully, you’ll gain new insights after a few of these exercises, and you’ll want to get started with your new fresh look in your practice. IDEXX Animana can help you with this! Learn more about this through our NEXXT Level Program or contact one of our veterinary specialists.