What Pet Owners Want in a Veterinary Clinic
When people take their pets to a veterinary clinic, it's much like bringing their kids to the doctor. A pet is often loved and considered part of the family. Pet owners desire the best possible care for the pets that they bring into the clinic.
But for a successful veterinary clinic, expertise in animal care is usually not enough. What must also be taken into consideration is the pet owner's experience. Better customer experience will lead to loyal customers who will always go to your clinic for their pet needs.
In this article, we will go over many of the most important things that people look for in a veterinary clinic so that you can ensure your clinic successfully satisfies the desires and needs of your clients and their pets.
The location of your clinic simply cannot be ignored. If a prospective client does not know much about the veterinary clinics in their area, it is more than likely that they will simply go to the clinic that is most convenient for them to get to.
Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean that a clinic needs to be in the middle of the city. For many people, the city center isn’t convenient at all. Some clinics do very well outside of urban environments because they serve a clientele that also lives outside of the city limits.
The other related consideration is the location of other veterinary clinics in the area. It helps neither party if two veterinary clinics offering the same services are right near each other. So, you will want to locate a place that has enough potential pet owners and does not have too many other veterinary clinics near the location that you choose.
When it comes to choosing a veterinary clinic, having a good recommendation can be the deal breaker that makes a pet owner go to your clinic rather than a different one. One important step that you can take is to institute a referral program. Additionally, it is important to have a good web presence.
If people are talking about your clinic on social media, then even if someone does not hear about it from a close friend or family member, they could still see the online recommendations of real people who have visited your clinic. Generating recommendations is an essentially important part of getting more customers, growing your business, and increasing your sales.
3. Friendly Staff
Having a friendly and welcoming staff is important for almost all businesses, but this is especially the case with doctor’s offices and veterinary clinics. People are often experiencing stress when they come into the veterinary clinic, even if their pet is just going for a check-up.
The animals are quite probably acting stressed as well which only increases the stress of the owner. This is why it is so important that staff be friendly and act as a source of calm professionalism that can put the pet owner at ease.
3. Comfortable Waiting Room
Since going to any doctor’s office or veterinary clinic almost inevitably entails sitting in a waiting room, it is surprising that so many clinics ignore the fact that the pet-owner experience can be greatly improved by improving the conditions of the place they will be waiting in.
It's amazing how much the waiting room experience can be improved by making the seating comfortable and paying attention to the aesthetic. There is no reason a waiting room needs to look like a hospital. Tasteful decorations, artworks, and plants can all make the experience much more enjoyable.
Some might even find it relaxing to be in the waiting room instead of simply waiting for the experience to be over, and if you can create a space that has that sort of effect, then you can be sure to develop a loyal customer base.
4. Calming Music
As we’ve said, going to the vet can be a stressful experience for both the pet and the pet owner. A friendly receptionist might make the pet owner feel better but the pet will likely still be anxious.
Many studies have shown that calming music can have a psychological calming effect on the human body. But it is not just humans who find some music calming. The right music for calming both pets and pet owners is available.
5. Helpful products
It can be very nice for a pet owner to have access to helpful products for their pets that the veterinarians can recommend on the spot. People often do not know much about pet nutrition, and simply buy whatever seems good, so it can be reassuring to get a veterinarian's approval and recommendation of a specific product.
6. Wide range of information to read
In the waiting room, there should be a wide range of information available to read. Nowadays, people often entertain themselves on their phones, but it can actually be quite pleasant to find a nice magazine and flip through the pages while waiting for your pet to be taken care of.
The key is pet owners (and all other people sitting in waiting rooms) are almost universally disappointed by the reading material available, and so it has come to be seen as an ineffective way to ease the pain of waiting. However, if real attention is paid to getting high-quality magazines, this might not be the case at all.
A veterinarian’s office need not limit itself to subscription magazines. They can get creative. For example, they might have a pamphlet that details all the foods that dogs should not eat or an explanation of why chocolate is bad for dogs.
These are things that pet owners are seriously interested in, and it will show the pet owner that your clinic has truly put some thought into the type of information they make available to you.
7. Entertaining content
An alternative to reading content is entertainment on television screens. These can include music videos, though ideally of a calming nature, or sitcoms, or some other light-hearted form of entertainment that does not require significant emotional investment or attention.
8. Digital menu board
Digital menu boards are not just useful for restaurants and bars. A digital menu board of all of the services that your clinic offers along with the prices and any special offers can be extremely helpful to a pet owner. Often pet owners don’t know the right questions to be asked about treatments for their pets, and so they do not seek them out.
Highlighting all of the services on a visually pleasing digital menu board, however, could prompt the pet owner to ask questions about treatments and services they did not know about. It can’t be said enough that people love their pets, so when it comes to their care, people are often very glad to be presented with a plethora of options.
9. Health and safety information
This can include information about the health and safety of pets, as well as the relations between the health of the pet owner and the pet. For example, your clinic could provide leaflets that detail how often a cat should be bathed to prevent bacterial infections or how often they should be checked for fleas. If someone is stressed about the health of their pet, then it can actually be quite relaxing to read up on all the ways that they can keep their pet as healthy as possible.
10. Community events and information about related material
Oftentimes veterinarian clinics are highly involved in the pet-owner/pet-caretaker community in their town or city, and it is not uncommon for there to be community events, such as free vaccinations for pets, or more causally, meetups where pet owners can bring their pets to interact with other animals of their kind, hopefully making friends along the way. It goes a long way to see that a veterinarian clinic is involved in the care of pets in the community and does community service to that end.
11. Shelter information
People who have pets and love their pets are often interested in getting more pets. That's why it would be great for veterinarian clinics to provide updated information on shelters. They could have calls to action to save a pet who has for too long gone unadopted.
This again ties into showing the pet owner that the clinic cares about animals even when they are not being treated at the clinic. This could also very well lead to someone adopting an animal they would come to love, and they would not forget that it was in your clinic that they found the pet they were looking for.
12. Parking lot pickup
Moving a pet into the veterinarian's office from the car can often be very difficult and stressful for a pet owner. Over the past few years, many vet clinics have started to do parking lot pickups of animals, and this seems to work very well for many people.
At the very least, it seems that most people would like it if parking lot pickup of their animal was an option. Again, this is just another way to make the lives of pet owners a little easier in a situation that is already potentially very stressful.
Many pet owners are elderly or are veterans, and what many people in this demographic like is to get a senior or a veteran discount. If this is something that you offer, it should be displayed in a place where it is highly visible or communicated with the pet owner. That kind of goodwill toward the elderly can go a long way.
14. Updates on Pet’s Condition
If someone brings their pet to the vet in critical condition, many people will want to receive periodic and dependable updates on the condition of their pet. This could be something as simple as a text or a call, or if the pet owner is in the waiting room, then the veterinarian could give the update.
Unfortunately, people are often held in suspense for quite a long time when they need to know what is going on with their beloved pet. People want the vet to be as communicative as possible.
And while there is no need to be excessive about it, many people would want there to be an option for hourly updates. That way, only the people who are in most need of communication will seek that service.
15. After Appointment Checkups
If a pet has had to undergo some sort of major operation, it is not uncommon for there to be strange side effects that cause anxiety for the pet owner but that the vet could reassure them that what is happening is normal or tell them to bring the pet back to the clinic.
Instead, of having to call the vet with their worries post-operation, many people would surely appreciate if the clinic reached out to them to see if their pet was doing well. This would show that the clinic is really invested in its patients and would garner a lot of goodwill.
Moreover, these checkups should not be made at random. Instead, the pet owner should be notified of the amount of time before the clinic will call them to check up on their pet. This way, they will be sure not to miss the call and the opportunity to talk about their worries regarding their pet.
The Ideal Veterinarian Clinic
It may seem that people want a lot from a vet, who, typically, sees many patients a day. However, their desire comes from the love of their pet and their wish for their pet to be healthy and resilient.
While it may not be necessary to institute everything that pet owners want from a veterinary clinic, if a clinic was to follow the guidelines laid out in this article, it would surely be an ideal place for people to entrust the health of their beloved animals.