There is no shortage of companies providing services for veterinarians all the way from digital x-ray to consultants to cotton balls. How do you choose? It takes an incredible amount of time to research everyone to make sure you are getting the best “deal” and most of us don’t have that much time. Here is how you do it in 5 simple steps.
1. Date first
When you are initially contacting a company, before the contract is signed, think of this as the dating period. This is the part where everyone puts their best foot forward. The treatment you see in the dating period will be the best you will ever see from this company so make sure it fits with the way you like to be treated. For example, if they are aggressive to sell you the product, then they are most likely going to be aggressive when there is a problem.
2. Get the backstory
I don’t mean read their mission statement. Go deeper. Ask for the founder story of the company. Is it someone passionate about providing the service you are interested in or a faceless company funded by venture capitalists?
3. Smaller is generally better
Just because a company is huge doesn’t mean they don’t have the same problems as smaller companies, they are just on a larger scale. Generally speaking, smaller companies have more to lose and are willing to work harder to keep your business, because every account matters. And usually, these companies are more nimble and can be more responsive to your needs.
4. Find out how to break up
It’s best to find out how to break up before you get into the relationship. Having this conversation beforehand generally results in you never having to break up. But, if you do and it’s all spelled out ahead of time, it will be so much easier. Personally, I prefer companies that don’t require a contract because it means their product is so solid that they don’t have to make you stay in the relationship, you’ll want to.
5. Meet their friends
Most people are willing to tell you what they think. Be sure to check out the reviews on social media or chat rooms but a good ole’ fashioned phone call to a colleague can’t be beat. If you can find a company that is already paying for the service you are interested in, you’ll get the real story.
So, in the end, a cotton ball is a cotton ball and instead of choosing a provider based on a feature to feature comparison of the product, you’ll be much happier if you go straight to the core and choose your providers like you choose your friends.
Dr. Stacee Santi, CEO/Founder Vet2Pet
Dr. Stacee Santi is a 1996 DVM graduate from Colorado State University and the founder of Vet2Pet, a technology startup that builds personalized custom apps for veterinary practices. With over 20 years of clinical experience in small animal and emergency practice, Stacee brings an “in the trenches” approach to innovation and solutions for veterinary teams. She has also served as a medical advisory consultant for NVA for 5 years, medical director for a general/ER practice in Colorado as well as current President of the Colorado Veterinary Medical Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.