This is a common question that most veterinarians have when contemplating a loyalty program, and especially when they see the rewards going out the door. It puzzles me too as to why we would ask such a question because aren’t your best clients the only one’s worth rewarding?
I think this question stems from fear…. a fear of losing revenue in an already marginally profitable business. Perhaps the perspective is that these clients appear to be fine paying your fees and have never complained so why would we give them a credit on their account?
There are several points to consider that will shift this reasoning:
1. Pay it forward
Kindness reaps kindness. Philosophically you have to believe that by putting goodness, kindness and positivity in the world, the same will come back to you. Yes it’s true—your best clients have never asked you for this but imagine how surprised, grateful, and in-turn more loyal they will be if you start rewarding them for their excellent pet owner skills. The other consideration—and what most people who have discovered a spirit of “giving” have experienced—is the unexpected benefit that it feels good for your soul. And, in this industry, we can definitely use a dose of that.
2. How do you know?
You may be making the false assumption that your best clients already do everything you recommend but how do you know? Do you follow them when they leave the practice to make sure they don’t stop by the pet store and purchase some canned food or supplements? Do you monitor their internet activity to make sure they aren’t price shopping you online at Chewy? It is easy to fall into the trap of thinking that your best clients listen to everything you say and closely follow all of your directions. However the reality is, it is highly unlikely because your clients all have a mind of their own, with their own unique motivating factors and priorities.
3. The data doesn't support it
Vet2Pet has collected data from over 200 practices and studied the behavior of over 500K pet owners. The data shows that it is in fact your best clients that drive the increased revenue in your loyalty program. It’s the Christmas cookie people, the A and B clients, that are responsible for the additional $100K average revenue that practices earn in our loyalty program. It’s not the C and D clients. Their visits and spending don’t change.
“It’s the 80/20 rule….20% of your clients are responsible for 80% of your practice success.”
And when we reward these 20% (without them even asking us to do so), their visits go from 16 to 21 per year and their spending increases 26% per year.
4. The caseload doesn't matter
In the first year I implemented a loyalty program at my practice, I thought perhaps I just had tougher cases that year. I knew that Ms. Cohen’s dog had a splenectomy and that Ms. Bing’s dog had a TPLO. But I also knew that Mr. Cortese’s two Golden Retrievers had died in pre-loyalty year and now he had a puppy. The truth is that you have serious cases every year, just different clients in each group. The likelihood of having more serious cases in one year vs. another is not only unlikely, but also not supported by the data we have collected.
My hope is that you will strongly consider these factors when thinking that your best clients are maxed out because what we know— what has been statistically proven— is that your best clients have the potential to be better. And let’s face it, it’s the more pleasant clients that are worth rewarding and retaining, not the “less than pleasant” ones.