Times are strange, and everything is changing quickly.
To come out the other side of this as strong as ever, it’s essential that we all find ways to stay relevant and accessible to the communities we serve. These will need to constantly change as the situation develops, so it’s going to be vital that we all keep an eye on what we’re doing and why.
When we offer a service that helps people, our responsibility is to make sure the people who need our products and services can get them. In practical terms, this means changing how we do things and letting people know you’re there for them – whether it’s to give them information or help keep what makes you (and your health plan) useful to them an accessible service.
This isn’t a time to sit back, wait it out and stop messaging. This is a time to grow your audience, build trust, and to SHOW you care rather than just say you do.
1. Make your services accessible
If you haven’t already done so, get a telemedicine service up and running on your website. This will quickly enable you to keep the virtual doors open to those who need you.
Look into home delivery of key products to your clients. Some practices are delivering products themselves including parasiticides, food and long-term medications Some are using a home delivery service such as Vets Deliver.
The truth is, these things are going to be a big part of veterinary practice services in the future anyway – this just gives us all a reason to fast track to that future and be ready.
2. Provide information people can trust
At the moment, everyone is in information-gathering mode. So much uncertainty, and more available time for some, means this is the time to let them know that you’re knowledgeable about healthcare and can help them make informed choices.
- Put a Facebook and Google pixel on your website so you can start capturing information from people who visit your site.
- Start a targeted Facebook and Google advertising campaign that lets people near you know that you can come to them through online consults and home delivery of drugs and parasiticides
- Lead users to a landing page on your website and ask them to give you their email address in return for regular updates. Use this opportunity to grow your list of potential clients who want to actively engage with you
- Adding regular blog posts and email communication will allow you to offer reassurance and education whilst building awareness and trust.
- Keep your social media up to date
Encourage the community to engage and trust you now, and you’ll come out of this with a stronger brand than ever.
3. Don’t forget about your health plan members.
It’s their monthly payments that will help see you through this!
Let them know they’re special by keeping communication with them open.
- Manage member’s expectations when it comes to anything that’s due to them during restricted periods such as health checks and vaccinations. Are you offering vaccination restarts free? Will you call them in for their health check as soon as it’s safe for them and you to do so? Let them know.
- Offer them a reduced rate for remote consults
- Ask if you can deliver their parasiticides to them for no additional cost
- REMIND them how they really don’t need a flea and worm infestation to deal with on top of everything else right now
- Send them a personalised email. It’s really easy to do this and means so much more than the ‘Dear valued customer’ emails everyone is sending. You aren’t Asda. You KNOW who they are, you KNOW what they’re paying for
4. Exceed expectations.
Be the ones with the article in the local paper talking about what you’re doing to help your community. Talk loudly about how registered clients can access remote consults. Put a hand-written note in with orders.
We can’t control coronavirus and the impact it’s having on our lives, but we CAN control the way we react to it. This is the time to think about what you do well, and shout about it.