The benefits of wellness plans and proactive veterinary care are well established in the industry, however with new demands and pressures on veterinary businesses following the pandemic, we look at how wellness strategies can be used to best serve customers in the future
For many veterinary businesses, wellness plans can work to increase annual client expenditure as well as spread out seasonal revenue fluctuations. For pet owners, the key benefit is usually that wellness plans help to spread the cost of veterinary care over the year, making vet visits more affordable. Following the pandemic, affordability will remain a key concern for many customers due to financial loss and uncertainty. Practices should take note and assess how they use or revise their wellness strategy to help clients manage this affordability long term.
The past year has seen significant spikes in new, first-time pet owners and the rise of “pandemic puppies,” with many taking the opportunity of more time at home to welcome a new companion. Therefore, veterinary practices focused on new client acquisition could take this opportunity to refocus their wellness strategies to appeal to this new potential client base. Providing affordable and competitive wellness plans for new customers will be one way veterinary businesses could look to promote growth this year.
In addition, practices can use wellness plan strategies to strengthen their client retention and bring inactive clients back into the fold. Retention-led wellness strategies could look to focus on similar value-for-money and value-add positioning to build back loyalty. For example, to provide more affordable options for geriatric care and promote more regular check-ups, practices can create dedicated senior plans and target them to owners with pets over a specific age.
“Wellness plans, or Schemes in RoboVet and CarePlans in RxWorks, can help you develop trust with your clients. They allow you to craft and shape a service, to bundle benefits and preventative care which is going to help retain and more importantly engage with your clients throughout the year. It’s good for them, it’s good for their pets, and it’s good for your business.” Camilla Morrison, Business Analyst
The prevailing theme following the events of 2020, is a focus on ensuring customers feel like they are getting full transparency and authenticity from the businesses and brands they choose. Consumers seek trust, safety and for transactions to be as simple as possible.
Pet owners expect the same transparency – they want the cost of care to be clearly laid out in black and white and communicated at every stage. When it comes to their wellness plans, they want to know the monthly cost and very clearly which services are included and which are not. Practices should also make clear the associated costs around emergency care and the added value of pet insurance to cover for the unexpected. Practice teams should emphasise that while pet insurance offers coverage for unforeseen circumstances, wellness plans focus on opportunities to discover early signs of illness and disease and prevent ahead of time.
For many veterinary businesses the landscape is still uncertain, but what we can predict is that the biggest successes will come from the businesses which innovate fast and stay tuned into their customer’s needs. Personalised customer experiences and empathic engagement has never been so important. When it comes to engaging pet owners, a focus on personalisation of care and services makes perfect sense. For veterinary businesses, there has been a movement towards using more personalisation in areas such as client communications, reminders and pet portals to increase engagement and build trust.
Looking ahead, there are new opportunities to increase the value and success of wellness plans via personalisation. Practices can use personalised, automated reminders to strengthen their wellness plan communications, increase engagement and ensure clients make the most of the services available to them. Wellness plans have also become more sophisticated and customisable and practices are able to adjust them to fit them to best suit their client base. Whether it’s incorporating virtual visits into your wellness plan, offering multiple-pet discounts or add-on services such as additional dental cleaning, wellness plans can be used to offer more flexibility to best serve the individual client and pet.
Want to know more about wellness plans?
Download our free eBook, Making wellness plans work: A practical guide for veterinary practitioners. Along with expert advice about wellness plans, this new resource will lay out the steps for successful implementation including understanding the benefits, setting goals and financial targets, how to design plans for every life stage and much more.
Or get in touch to talk to one of our experts. Together we can explore your wellness plans options, discuss set up and how you can nurture them into a regular income stream for your business.