Some of the greatest opportunities to increase practice revenues occur as a result of marketing efforts aimed at the existing client base. To increase service utilization by your existing clients, you can offer new services, provide more patient care for pets and endeavor to improve client compliance. Implementing practice protocols, medical standards, hospital programs and paying attention to staff training help make these marketing efforts more successful.
Offer New Services
New services may include providing consultations in a new area of expertise or providing services related to the use of new equipment. For example, consider offering behavior consultations or nutritional counseling once your team gains knowledge and expertise in this area. Other new services might include offering tonometry, endoscopy, blood pressure monitoring, grooming, or house calls. Don’t forget to actively promote new services to your clients.
Rechecks, Recalls and Hospital Programs
Make it a hospital protocol to schedule recheck exams for all patients when the veterinarian cannot be certain how long it will take for complete resolution of clinical symptoms. Try to make appointments for recheck exams at the time of the pet’s initial appointment to increase the likelihood of owner compliance.
Recalls refers to calling clients to check on the progress of their pet since the last appointment. Aside from being a practice builder, recalls can increase service utilization when it is determined that these pets need re-evaluations or follow-up diagnostics.
Developing marketing initiatives focused on specific hospital programs helps to grow your practice and ensure pets receive excellent care. Examples of hospital programs include senior care, dental healthcare, and obesity management programs. For these programs to be effective, make sure everyone on the team adheres to specific standards and conveys consistent messages when communicating with clients. Compliance rates can be improved by using written client education tools such as brochures when communicating with pet owners as well as with targeted marketing to promote hospital programs. Your marketing tactics might include promotion via your website, e-newsletters, hospital signage, advertising and mailings to specific target markets.
Set Medical Standards and Protocols
Another way to increase service revenue and grow your practice is to set medical standards and protocols in your hospital. For example, be sure your practice has a standard of including a urinalysis when doing both wellness testing and chemistry profiles on sick patients. Set diagnostic testing standards for patients placed on long-term medications such as thyroid supplementation, ace-inhibitors, anti-convulsants, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Don’t forget to educate your entire team about the value and benefits of diagnostic testing standards and train everyone to adhere to the standards.
Set anesthesia protocols for all pets. For example, establish minimum standards for pre-anesthetic labwork based on the age of the pet and the procedure. Make it a standard protocol that pets undergoing anesthesia have intravenous catheters placed and fluids administered as deemed appropriate. Use anesthesia monitoring devices such as pulse oximetry for pets undergoing dental or surgical procedures. Make sure pain medications aren’t optional but instead administered and prescribed as needed. Be sure to charge appropriately for all the above medical standards. Clients today understand the value of high quality medical standards and are usually willing to pay for these services.
Assess your current compliance rates for a variety of services such as dentistry, wellness testing, heartworm testing, pre-anesthetic laboratory testing, obesity management programs, etc. Once you know your current compliance levels, you can formulate marketing tactics to improve compliance rates. For example, you could develop a comprehensive marketing initiative to increase senior care laboratory testing that might include a targeted mailing to clients, promotion on your website, community activities, and an e-newsletter focused on senior care.
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