How Veterinarians Can Change Things for the Better

A lot of veterinarians think that they can simply open up an office and patients will come. While this may be true at the start, like all long-standing businesses, a veterinarian needs to be able to provide a certain level of quality, or they risk losing clients.

successful veterinarian holding cat and dog

In fact, current statistics estimate that the average animal clinic loses as much as 15% of its client base in the first year alone. And even worse, approximately 38% of patients never return after their initial visit.

Why are veterinarians losing so many clients? In most cases, client loss is due to one or more the following eight reasons.

#1: Lack of Information Provided to the Pet Owner

Today’s pet owners want to play active roles in the health and wellness of their beloved pets. But far too many veterinarians tend to keep important information close to the vest. When a pet owner doesn’t feel as though the veterinarian is being forthcoming with valuable information that can help them care for their pet at home, they will take their pet elsewhere.

#2: The Veterinarian Doesn’t Spend Enough Time With the Patient

For pet owners, there is nothing worse than being rushed through a veterinary appointment. They want to feel valued and they want to know that the health of their pet is important to the veterinarian. Unfortunately, only 25% of pet owners report that their veterinarians spend more than 10 minutes evaluating their pets.

#3: Unhelpful Staff

A good veterinarian can be completely undermined by a terrible support staff. Pet owners expect to be treated with respect by everyone in the office, and when they need assistance, they want someone to be able to help them. Unfortunately, poorly trained and unhelpful staff account for a large portion of unhappy clients.

#4: Long Wait Times

Another reason why patients leave their veterinarians is overly long wait times. When a pet owner has a sick pet, they want their pet to be seen as quickly as possible. Making them wait in a room filled with other patients will have them seeking another vet the next time they need help.

#5: Uncomfortable or Unwelcoming Environment

A pet owner is going to be in a state of stress when they are in a veterinarian’s office. After all, their family pet is sick and they’re worried about them. Because of this, the office environment needs to be comfortable and welcoming.

This will help soothe the pet owner and their pet. On the other hand, if the office is noisy, uncomfortable, and unwelcoming, it will only heighten their stress levels, and this won’t make them want to return.

#6: Poor Communication

Good communication goes back to pet owners wanting to feel valued by their veterinarians. Sadly, too few veterinary offices provide such services like follow-up calls after appointments, appointment reminders, thank you notes, email updates, and more.

#7: Excessive Pricing

Veterinarians are in the business to help sick pets, but they also expect to be paid for their services. The problem is, a lot of veterinary offices charge excessive fees, often for treatments that aren’t even necessary at the time, and this can make a pet owner less likely to return.

#8: Inability to Treat Hard-to-Treat Pets

Not every pet is a willing patient. Some are just simply difficult to handle and/or treat, and as such, the vet may refuse to provide treatment. But a caring and experienced veterinarian won’t let that stop them from providing the highest level of care possible.

How Veterinarians Can Improve Patient Retention

In today’s competitive market, retaining patients is already a challenge. That’s why veterinarians need to provide a high level of personal attention and care to both the patient and the pet owner.

But as important as it is for a veterinarian to provide her clients with the level of care that meets or exceeds their expectations, it is equally important for her to run her business smartly. This includes keeping her prices manageable, practicing excellent communication, hiring experienced staff who are both courteous and professional, and providing a comfortable and welcoming environment for everyone who walks through their door.

Every veterinary practice loses clients, but how many yours loses is entirely up to you.