May 1, 2017 by Edward L. Blach, DVM, MS, MBA
Where does the best opportunity lie in attracting and retaining great clients? Should you buy a new piece of equipment so that you can promote a new service? Or should you focus on providing better all-around service to every client that touches your practice?
As veterinarians, we focus a lot on procedures and techniques, because therein lies how we provide help to our patients. We look for new drugs, new equipment and new procedures to promote to our clients. In some cases, clients read about new things on the internet and they seek them out, not knowing if they are superior to existing services or not.
This question provides opportunity to every practice. If there are procedures and equipment that provide new service opportunities, by all means, evaluate their feasibility for your practice. Perform a financial analysis to examine cash inflows versus cash outflows and their impact. You should know with relative certainty that a new purchase will return sufficient profit to your practice before you spend the capital to acquire it. Look at your historic data as your main reference. Your history is the best predictor of your future.
The other opportunity that has the ability to impact every client, not just those looking for one procedure, is to raise the level of service you provide to every client. Better service is the most impactful practice builder you can deliver. It touches every client, and every client talks to other potential clients. Learn about better customer service. Provide access to veterinarians via remote digital care using services such as Ask.Vet. Train your team in the most advanced customer service representative methodology, explore hospitality management courses as a resource to build your team, and provide follow up services such as post-appointment surveys to develop a customer-focused culture in your practice.
Invest in both. New equipment, properly evaluated can provide great opportunities. And improved customer service will touch every client in a positive way.