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What Do Clients Feel When they Visit Your Practice?

I recently read that Petco announced they’re redesigning some of their stores to encourage more interaction with employees and other pet owners. One of the new features is a concierge desk for customers to get advice on pet nutrition and training as well as other information.

And I read that PetSmart has announced the grand opening of a new concept store in Oceanside, NY that offers a self-service dog wash.  The store also includes a coffee bar-lounge with complimentary coffee.  Eran Cohen, chief customer experience officer, says “Like any spa, our Pet Spa store is intended to provide the amenities and comforts to enhance one’s lifestyle, but this time with your pet.”

What strikes me about this news is how these major brands are catering to what pet owners want.  People enjoy shopping for their pets.  Don’t you?  I especially love walking down the aisle of colorful dog toys that beckon me as if to say “Gidget would love this!”.

What can we learn from the marketing efforts of businesses that sell pet products?

Now I’m not suggesting that veterinary practices expand their retail sales of pet products.  With the exception of products such as therapeutic diets, supplements and those for dental care the rest is probably best left to the pet stores unless you have a large retail section in your practice.  What I am suggesting is that veterinary teams discuss how they can cater to what pet owners want.  I trust your practice is offering the highest quality medicine.  The question is does your team also create an exceptional service experience for pet owners?

Here are 3 questions to discuss with your team:

  • How do we want people to FEEL when they visit our practice?
  • How can we do a better job accurately educating clients on preventive care? (otherwise pet owners may just be content to get information at their local pet store or on the Internet).
  • What do our clients want that we can provide? (e.g. less wait times, exam room check-out, extended hours, online scheduling, texting reminders, wellness plans, amenities in reception room, etc)
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About the Author: Amanda Donnelly
Dr. Amanda Donnelly is a sought-after speaker, author, business consultant, and second-generation veterinarian who combines her practice experience and business expertise to help veterinarians communicate better with their teams and clients. Well known as a dynamic speaker, Dr. Donnelly was the 2023 Practice Management Educator of the Year for WVC and has twice been named Practice Management Speaker of the Year for the VMX Conference. Dr. Donnelly is the author of the book Leading and Managing Veterinary Teams: The Definitive Guide to Veterinary Practice Management and a contributing author for Blackwell’s Five Minute Veterinary Practice Management Consult and Pet-Specific Care for Veterinary Teams. She also writes the Talk the Talk communication column for Today’s Veterinary Business journal.