Follow these simple strategies to win over the modern client who Googles everything
Customer service has evolved.
During the past 30 years, human civilization has transformed from a society that mostly runs on analog systems to one that mostly runs on digital technologies. Although the field of veterinary care has embraced the digital revolution in a myriad of ways relating to the practice of medicine—from medical equipment and diagnostics to digital records and product information management platforms—overall, the veterinary profession has been one of the slowest in the world to recognize how the digitization of our society has impacted client behavior.
Twenty years ago, if a pet owner had a question about their pet’s health, they didn’t go down to the local library to check out a book on veterinary medicine and possible research answers on their own. They opened the yellow pages and called their local vet. Today, however, more than 95% of people aged 18 to 64 years and 75% of those 65 years and older go straight to the internet when they have a question on anything, including pet health.1
Still, if you ask just about any veterinarian to tell you about the customer service model in their veterinary practice, most will talk about what happens inside the hospital: check-in, the exam room, postoperative care, and a follow-up phone call . Meanwhile, the reality is that pet care today starts online with a Google search. Pet owners read blog articles and look for answers on YouTube, Quora, and pet care websites. They crowdsource information on social networks like Facebook and Reddit, they visit the websites of local veterinarians, and they check reviews—all before ever setting an appointment.
Then, after their veterinary appointment, they grab their phones and “hey Google” again.
Capitalize on this trend with easy video content
Because it doesn’t appear that the world is going to abandon the internet anytime soon, the answer certainly isn’t to continue to ignore client behavior. One simple step toward capitalizing on this trend is to make video content. Veterinarians can begin providing pet care information and answering basic questions about pet health in the places and communication channels that their clients are all using today.
This concept sounds good in theory, but many clinicians today feel they are already far too busy to take on a project involving websites, content, social media, and reviews. However, consider that veterinary professionals spend a significant amount of time every day for their entire careers answering lots of the same pet care questions and providing lots of the same great information. By going over the frequently asked questions and explanations of services, addressing each of these once for your website, and creating an in-depth information resource that can be accessed by local pet owners forever, you can save a tremendous amount of time and resources across the span of your career.
For many people, sitting down and writing it out is a slow and arduous process. A faster and much easier approach is to start by identifying a specific veterinary service, outlining an overview of the topic, and answering basic questions around it:
- What is the topic?
- Why is it important?
- How can problems in this area adversely affect the health of the animal?
- How can proper care support the animal’s health and well-being?
- What are the symptoms of problems in this area?
- What is the process of examination and diagnosis?
- What potential treatment options are available if the animal is experiencing these problems?
- Why should pet owners avoid self-diagnosis?
- When and how should the pet owner schedule an appointment?
- What frequently asked questions do your doctors commonly hear related to this area of veterinary care?
Typically, it only takes a veterinarian 5 to 10 minutes to thoroughly address a topic in this way. Once the video is complete, it can easily be turned into content for your website, shared on social networks, and used by a writer to create well-informed blog articles.
Pet owners consistently turn to Google with their pet health questions because they believe they can trust the information they find there. When your veterinary practice is the one sitting at the top of Google results, in their social feeds, and in the places they go to find pet care answers online, you strengthen your rightful position as the trusted go-to pet care expert in their lives .
This is the way the world works now. It’s time for veterinary practices to embrace it and reap the rewards.
Johnson J. Share of adults in the United States who use the internet in 2021, by age group. Statistics. April 14, 2021. Accessed February 25, 2022. https://www.statista.com/statistics/266587/percentage-of-internet-users-by-age-groups-in-the-us