This time of year in the veterinary industry is nothing short of stressful, even at the best of times. Add in COVID and curbside care, and many veterinary professionals are struggling. ‘Tis the season!
One lesson COVID has made abundantly clear: Communication is one of the greatest tools at your disposal. Staying connected to your clients is the best way to ride out this uncertainty while keeping pets healthy and clients happy.
But what’s the best way to connect with clients during this COVID-era holiday season? Rumpus is here to guide you through with our top 10 tips.
#1: Boost morale
We could all use a little extra comfort these days. Reaching out to clients, whether with educational information, a helpful pet health reminder, or just a season’s greeting, will make them feel supported, and increase visits and compliance.
#2: Be prepared
Stressed clients means an influx of calls and appointments made in a panic.
That ribbon my cat just ate… is that a problem?
My dog just had diarrhea… should I be concerned?
Sometimes, these problems are serious, but sometimes they don’t even warrant an exam. This is particularly concerning right now because many clinics are juggling hectic schedules with fewer team members. Create a practice blog, and regularly publish pet health and behavior articles about common concerns of pet owners. Share your educational posts via email, and on your social media channels. By providing clients with written information from a credible source (YOU!), you’ll reduce some of those panic-driven calls and appointments. Too much information is always better than not enough.
#3: Keep clients informed
Unfortunately, we’re stuck in a sort of COVID limbo at the moment. Government regulations are changing often, team members might be exposed and require quarantine… All of these uncertainties mean that your clinic operations are subject to change. If clients are unaware of changes, you risk losing business. Be prepared to send out a quick email or text with spur-of-the moment schedule or protocol changes.
#4: Share COVID information
Remember, you are the expert. This is a great opportunity to keep your clients informed about the latest information regarding pets and COVID. Share what you know (and don’t know), and don’t forget to cite reputable sources, like the CDC, along the way.
- Can my pet get COVID?
- Should I self-isolate from my pet if I get COVID?
- How do I have my pet tested for COVID?
- Can my pet be vaccinated for COVID?
#5: Provide holiday tips
Same season, same problems. Every year, there’s an influx of holiday-related issues that bring pets into your hospital. Round up a list of these common issues and share them with your clients.
Some common problems you can address:
- Dangerous foods
- Toxic plants
#6: Share clinic protocols
Whether you’re fine-tuning curbside, adding telehealth options, or resuming in-person visits, ensure your clients, old and new, are aware.
Some clinic protocols you should share with your clients:
- Hours of operation
- COVID regulations
- Scheduling and check-in
- Appointment types
- Plans for potential COVID exposure
#7: Take advantage of your digital channels
These days, it’s almost impossible to run a business without a social media presence. Both Facebook and Instagram are a great way to stay connected to your clients. And, the best part is that it’s so easy to maintain.
Social media ideas:
- Frequently changing information, like your practice’s COVID protocols
- Quick tips on keeping pets safe during the holidays
- Resources (your own and external)
- Behind-the-scenes content, like “get to know the team” posts
- Engaging content, like asking clients to caption a funny photo or to enter your pet holiday photo contest
- Any blog posts you’ve published on your website
Newsletters are a great way to send clients a recap of all the content you’re producing.
- Social media posts
- Blog articles
- Any general updates
- A “Pet of the Month” column
- A monthly team member highlight
#8: Update your website and blog
Your website is often the first thing clients see. It must be updated regularly to reflect current practice protocols and provide educational content for pet owners.
Be sure to include the following on your website:
- Hours of operation
- Scheduling information
- COVID protocols
Blogs are a great medium for more detailed content. Your blog is a ready-made library of information you can direct clients to via social media and newsletters, or even as a follow-up after a pet’s exam or treatment. Use it to address common issues, or concerns made more common because of COVID.
- New pet care tips
- Wellness and preventive care
- Separation anxiety
- Holiday safety
- “Meet the team”
- Client stories and testimonials
- Common health and behavior conditions
- The importance of pet medical insurance
#9: Send snail mail
Don’t disregard the value of sending old-fashioned mail. Sometimes, a physical item is exactly what clients need. Don’t forget to include your digital details (i.e., social, website, blog, etc.).
Snail mail ideas:
- Holiday cards
- Clinic updates
- Thank-you notes
#10: Be patient and kind
You’re bound to encounter a fair share of unpleasant client interactions. Any holiday season can be difficult, and this COVID-era holiday season is likely more stressful than normal. Be extra patient with your team and your clients.
And, if you find your communication efforts in need of some support, Rumpus is always here to lend a helping hand!