If the crazy COVID times of 2020 have taught the veterinary profession one thing, it’s our resilience with creative and collaborative care. We’ve had to uproot our daily workflow and create an alternative way to communicate and serve our clients, while keeping our team, our patients, and our community safe. Partnering with our clients allows us to provide the absolute best medicine that will benefit every one of our patients—and the key to creating an effective protocol is finding novel ways to communicate with our clients so they feel they have an active role in their pet’s care, although they cannot be in the hospital.
So, what does a collaborative curbside approach look like? What aspects of curbside and virtual care drive revenue and what will drive customer service? Can you be successful at both? The answer is yes! By collaborating with clients, not only do you improve the customer service value, but you can also maintain your bottom line and generate income. During this stressful pandemic, keeping a close rapport with your clients, while still generating revenue, is key to surviving as a business. Let’s break down the ways curbside and virtual care drive revenue, and contribute to your customer service.
What drives revenue with collaborative curbside care?
- Online orders — People love the convenience of shopping online, especially when items are shipped straight to their front door. Whether you use an online pharmacy to fill your clients’ orders, or a virtual care platform to offer online order services, your clients will appreciate the simplicity of shopping online for their pet’s needs. Through your virtual care platform, you can authorize medication refills, prescription diets, parasite prevention products, and nutraceuticals. You can also collect payment with a virtual payment option, eliminating the need for credit cards or cash while you’re running curbside care. Online orders not only decrease your team’s phone time and increase their efficiency, but also keep your clients coming to your hospital’s online pharmacy or ordering service, instead of turning to online pet-care giants.
- Loyalty programs — Loyalty programs are excellent for enticing clients to spend more in single or repeat transactions. Plus, a well-thought-out program encourages them to keep coming back, especially when they are being rewarded at the same time. More services rendered show up in your bottom line with a strong loyalty program.
- Telemedicine — An asynchronous chat platform allows efficient triaging throughout the day, which in turn can mean:
- More appointments are scheduled
- Efficient in-house diagnostics are performed, because your staff has received the virtual heads-up
- Reaching 100% compliance when picture and video recommendations are given through the chat feature
- Monetary compensation when you triage cases that turn into telemedicine consults
- An increase in monetized appointment rechecks, because in-home progress checks are so easy
What drives customer service with collaborative curbside care?
- Attention to clients — Your virtual care platform allows your team to go the extra mile for clients and provide over-the-top attention to your in-hospital patients, with such features as:
- Push notifications for grooming or boarding pet updates
- Asynchronous chat for pre- and post-op surgery updates and pictures
- Push notifications or chat for blood work and test results
- Social media and loyalty stamps for selfies
- Efficiency and availability — Using a virtual care platform allows your team to be more efficient and more available to your clients. Your phones may be ringing off the hook, but no problem—have your clients send questions with the chat feature and get a faster response. If appointment times are booked, no big deal. Schedule a triaging consultation with the veterinarian the same day to receive medical recommendations, and peace of mind. Availability is everything to clients right now, and giving them options for faster results is a huge plus.
- Going the extra mile — Going out to cars to pick up and return pets, taking before-and-after dental pictures, sending push notifications on surgery updates, delivering medications to vehicles, and sending videos of their pet’s exam or diagnosis through the chat feature is a big hit with clients. Other ways to boost customer service during curbside care include:
- Offering a delivery service to those who live close to your hospital
- Splitting pills for prescriptions
- Sending birthday or condolence cards
- Making follow-up calls to check on patients after surgery or an illness-related appointment
Dr. Crista Wallis graduated from Kansas State College of Veterinary Medicine in 2000. She co-owns and operates Monticello Animal Hospital in Shawnee, KS, specializing in small animal and exotic animal medicine. Crista has a wealth of expertise and experience in the field of veterinary telemedicine and is excited to help Vet2Pet clients on their journey. She believes that if you put your best self out into the universe, a ripple effect of positive energy will touch all those around you!