We can probably all agree that introducing change of any kind in veterinary medicine is not exactly the easiest task on our never-ending to-do list. In a field that is filled with passion, personality and pressure, it’s easy to get lost in the “but”s and “what if”s of doubt. When we throw a price tag on that idea, the rabbit hole goes even deeper. However, introducing change and ensuring its success is not impossible.
Mukwonago Animal Hospital in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, has achieved immense success in their first year of having the Vet2Pet App. As a team, they got 30% of their active client base to not only download the app, but also to use it. After having their app for one year, they had 896 order requests and 636 appointment requests submitted through the app— that’s over 1,500 avoided phone calls (and a really happy reception team)!
So, how did a busy hospital with 6 doctors and approximately 25 staff members motivate their clients to download and use their new app? Read on for some insider tips from the trenches on how the team at Mukwonago Animal Hospital achieved such success with client engagement.
Know where to go - Communication is key
Have you ever been looking for a special ingredient in the grocery store, and couldn’t find a single employee to ask where to find it? If so, you know how frustrating that can be.
People need direction
That’s why when you introduce a new platform to your team, you should identify the key players—the app champions— and how you’ll be communicating about it to your clients. When Mukwonago Animal Hospital’s Vet2Pet app went live in 2018, CSR’s Kim and Dani took the reins.
“At first, we only trained the receptionists on how to add stamps and rewards. After they got comfortable with that, we gradually trained them how to handle client requests,” explains Dani.
By being clear with who was responsible for what, they were able to establish order in their busy clinic
They also created an intra-hospital communication strategy within their Practice Management Software to indicate when someone has spoken to a client about downloading the app. Kim explains that when they first got the app, they would discuss the app’s features with nearly every client that walked through the doors, but soon realized that they were having duplicate conversations. Their solution? In the “fax number” field of the client information section of their PMS, they enter: ‘has app’, ‘told app’ or ‘no app’.
“It adds that personal touch so our clients feel like we’re paying attention to who they are and what they’re telling us,” says Dani, “rather than just asking them if they’ve heard of our app a million times.” Not only does this help make their clients feel heard, but it also increases communication amongst the staff, which is a huge bonus.
Happy clients AND happy team? Yes please!
Consider it an investment
Would you rather be the last hospital in your area to adopt a new idea, or one of the pioneers? This is a question many leaders ask themselves before committing to something new, and the team at Mukwonago Animal Hospital is no different. “Getting an app was a good way to move with technology—there’s already an app for everything else,” explains Dani, who loves that the Dashboard is so user-friendly and straightforward. Kim adds, “We are always looking for new tools to better the business so we can work smarter not harder.”
One of Dani’s favorite app features is order requests. She says that their app’s order request feature has been a major contributor to their decreased phone traffic over the past year. She also loves the ease of sending a push notification vs calling when a refill request is complete. According to Kim and Dani, prescriptions are getting filled faster than before which helps them increase patient care.
Capitalize on team strengths and give people what they want
Do you have someone on your team that loves editing photos? Maybe they’d be the perfect social media organizer. A technician that also has a degree in English? Maybe they could help edit your discharge instructions.
At Mukwonago Animal Hospital, Dani, who has a background in graphic design, finds free non-copy written photos online to use for updating their home screen image. Using GimpShop, a freeware similar to Photoshop, she can edit the photos too. Dani changes the home screen image to update their clients on many topics, such as: staff meeting schedules, holiday hours, and the construction status of their building, just to name a few. “That way, our clients just have to open up our app real quick to see what’s going on.” The team at Mukwonago Animal Hospital use their app as an information hub, which is likely a large contributor to its success and the level of engagement they get from their clients.
What do clients love most about the app?
When asked what their clients’ favorite part of the app is, Kim quickly responds, “People really, really love the loyalty program. A lot of clients are rounding up to get that extra stamp.” And with 92% of their app users engaged with the loyalty program, I’d say she’s correct.
To capitalize on its popularity, Kim explains that individual Greenies treats strategically placed at the front desk make it easier for clients to increase their invoice amount when they haven’t quite reached the next $100 tier. In their first year of using the loyalty program, loyalty members increased their monthly spending by $25/month vs. the prior year, resulting in a $290K revenue lift for the practice. Not only is the loyalty program great for their bottom line, but it’s also beneficial for their patients.
The practice has added another reward option to the standard $100 standard reward program . “Our $50 dental reward option drives compliance, and I think that option helps get some clients off the fence and onto the surgery schedule,” Kim adds.
Remember to be patient and persistent
Remember, with any new idea or change, reaching the comfort zone takes time. Every animal hospital differs in culture and strategy, but the more you practice and use your new app, the better you’ll become at realizing and reaping the benefits for your hospital. If you need some inspiration, consider mimicking some of Mukwonago Animal Hospital’s influential success strategies.