Pardon the pun but 75% of your clients are using mobile phones for the majority of their time spent in digital. This has massively changed the way they behave. Take a step back and think about what happened in the last 10 years. Computers and the internet went from something on your desk or lap to something in your pocket and within reach 24/7. The shift has had profound effects in everything we do but what you need to pay attention to is how it is affecting your veterinary business.
1. Mobile made technology personal.
In the old days of desktop computers, you used software to do things and went to websites to research things. A software program was just something that let you write a document. A website was just the digital space owned by a company you purchased products and services from.
All that changed when software (apps) started appearing on your phone. Your phone is your connection to friends and loved ones. It is your private space. The first thing you look at in the morning and the last thing you check before bed. So these apps are viewed through that same filter. They are your personal apps with your information that help make your life better.
Think about what this means from your client’s perspective. Customers will go to your website to learn more about you. But they won’t download an app to do the same thing. They want an app that is theirs. An app with all of their pets and everything they need for them. You absolutely have to be in that app and engage with them but it can’t be your app – it has to be their personal app.
2. Mobile made memory obsolete.
At the risk of sounding like an old timer – technology doesn’t always make us better. In the case of smartphones, they have enabled us to do so much more and be much more efficient. However, we no longer need to remember phone numbers, give out directions, do the math, remember appointments, or know anything. There is always an app for that.
Personally speaking, I don’t know a single phone number in my contact book. I google search for almost any piece of knowledge I need. And if my phone calendar doesn’t have an appointment for us to meet – we’re probably not meeting. We could argue the positives and negatives here but what’s important is that this is the reality and your clients aren’t much different than me.
Some of this is already hurting your business. Clients don’t remember your number (or sometimes even name) so they just google search for. In fact, 80% of people Google search for you before calling – whether they are a new client or existing client. When that happens they see your competitors’ ads or another search listing with a similar name.
Clients are also very busy – busier than they have ever been. The only way to manage this is through phone calendars, reminders, and most likely a lot of your staff making phone calls every night. But even the call the night before is becoming less effective as we live our lives an hour at a time.
Fortunately, the culprits (mobile phones) are also the solution. By having a solid mobile strategy and putting your business in an app on their phones you can get around all of this. No more Google searching – they go straight to the app. No more no-shows – we put the appointment in their personal phone’s calendar.
3. Mobile gave us the power to do.
We’ve seen the internet and websites change from company billboards to social gatherings and finally to e-commerce shops where you can literally buy anything. But the one thing that the web has still not figured out is allowing us to do things in our everyday lives.
That’s where mobile stepped in. By putting very powerful software apps in your pocket – the internet finally figured out how to use technology to make your life easier. Now you can deposit a check, order a prescription, and pay for a taxi by simply using your phone.
Your clients have come to expect this from all the companies they deal with. They want to do things like request appointments, prescriptions, and directions all within an app (and at any time). So when you are thinking about your mobile strategy make sure you are giving them something valuable. Not only will it ensure that they don’t delete the app but that value will be the best loyalty offer you’ve got.
The mobile revolution is over.
This article was written in the past tense because all of this is old news. This isn’t how your clients are going to behave in the next 5 years – it’s how they’ve been acting for the past 5 years. It’s always harder as a local veterinarian to keep up with technology trends but they are more important than ever and changing the way we behave more profoundly than ever. You’re not allowed to claim any longer that “these aren’t my clients.” It’s time to get a mobile strategy right now.