How To Convert Them to Clients and Keep Them Happy
That’s the name of the game – right? Getting clients, but more importantly being able to keep them as clients. You simply CANNOT make a living only having one time visits and all new customers. It’s just too expensive to advertise for only ‘new’ business…
Do you know what CLV stands for? It’s Customer Lifetime Value.
What is the lifetime value of a customer to you?
For simple quick math here’s the raw basic formula I use.
Average lifetime age of pet / number of visits per lifetime / average ticket price.
Dog – 10 years – 12 visits lifetime – $100 per visit. CLV = $1200.00
This number is completely made up and doesn’t include any surgery, medications or accident emergency treatments – just basic routine yearly visits. Add in heartworm medication, neuter or spay, an emergency visit or two and this number could be doubled…add in a referral or two and you can easily triple or quadruple the CLV!!
It all starts with your Staff
Staff education and their behavior is one of the most important things you can manage and monitor in your clinic. How they answer the phone, greet clients, behave, how they smell (perfume or smoke?), dress and talk.
Here’s my basic rule of thumb – your staff should treat EVERY client as if they are a close friend or family member. Calling them and their pet by name and at all times having a genuine caring attitude for all animals and especially understanding the stressful situations that happen with sick pets.
We need to work on strategically altering the customers perception away from ‘Another Vet Clinic” to family and friendly Vet Clinic.
Why? Well because friends and family refer new clients. Happy customers refer more and more people and do so happily. Referrals are the easiest of all clients to keep happy (and the cheapest client you can acquire!).
Think about it this way – if ‘only’ 1/3rd of your current clients referred at least 1 friend or family member – what would that do for your business?
Do you have a system in place for encouraging referrals? Nope! Well I’m telling you, you need one…
Your front office secretary is your number 1 salesman!
Understand this and you will discover 10’s if not 100’s of thousands in hidden income in your practice.
I talk about ‘scripting’ a lot with my clients. I believe that every phone call should follow a script. For one, its easier to teach new staff members to follow a script and it’s better to have a fool proof process and system in place so you know everyone is doing and saying the same correct things to your customers.
When we have a script – things like pricing questions are always dealt with the same way…here’s my script for those clients that ask only about prices…
The Script – “Thanks for asking and I’ll be more than happy to tell you but is price your only method of determining which veterinarian you want to see your pet, or is it possible there might be other things involved as well?”
You are starting a conversation now instead of being dead-ended into price quotes.
Go right into telling them why and how you are different – facility, staff, extra training, number of cases done, treatment options, financing options etc.
This still won’t get every contact you get to agree with you – but it will get the conversation going with those that are interested.
We have found that in reality – people don’t know what other questions to ask, it’s that simple…you know all about your business, they don’t…so the only thing they can ask is price…
How about specifically engineering your waiting room to be more pet friendly, making the whole experience easier on pets and owners?
How many reminder postcards do you send out a month? What’s your regular response rate from cards mailed to appointments set?
What about a member of staff whose sole responsibility it is to follow up by phone with every reminder card to secure the appointment.
The Script – “Hi Mrs. Smith – this is Sally from Doc Bob’s pet Clinic. How’s Barney been doing? Is he still as happy as ever, I bet he has really grown since the last time we saw him…(every pet owner LOVES to talk about their dog!!)… I’m calling because I noticed we had sent a reminder card for Barney’s annual vaccinations and you had not yet set an appointment time for a visit with Doc, can I schedule you one now or would another time be better for you?”
How about phone reminders for Frontline and Heart guard meds every 6 months?
The Script – “Hi Mrs. Smith – this is Sally from Doc Bobs Pet Clinic – we were calling to remind you that Barney is due for more heartworm and flea medication, I checked your records and he has already had his heartworm test last visit so if I know when you are coming we will have the meds waiting for you at the front desk – when would be convenient day and time for you to come by and pick them up?”
Simple huh! – How much money would that add to your yearly revenues?
The best part is – YOUR CUSTOMERS WILL LOVE YOU FOR IT!!!!
Look – I have tons of these types of things to share with you. I know it’s a lot to digest in one sitting – but think about how quickly this would grow your clinic, how much your customers would appreciate you for it and all the extra time and freedom you would have because of the revenues it generates…
It’s a real win-win-win for everyone – happier staff because they know exactly what to say and do, happier customers because they know you really care – and you get to choose only the clients you want to deal with!