After pet parents choose which veterinary clinic or grooming salon is best for their pet companions, the answer to one question is sure to decide if they keep coming back: “Does it feel good interacting with this pet care business?”

Why Clients Come Back… Or Not

According to Mark Bergdahl of Loyalty Consulting UK, there are two critical points that often determine if a client feels good after a visit to a pet care provider:

1) The quality of care the pet received

2) The perceived empathy the pet care staff demonstrated toward the client

This second point relates to the personal touch. Personal touch, in this case, refers to a practice’s ability to understand and meet the needs of its clients on an individual basis. Personal touch offers an opportunity for pet care providers to differentiate themselves from similar businesses and increase customer loyalty.

Consider personal touch from the pet parents’ perspective. If your veterinary clinic practiced impeccable medicine, but didn’t show they value you as a customer, would that be enough to keep you from taking your pet elsewhere? Probably not…

So let’s switch perspectives again and unpack how your pet care business can bring more personal touch to its clients.

The Evolution of Personal Touch

Personal touch used to mean:

  • Talk to me in person
  • Call me on the landline, and
  • Send me physical mail to communicate

However, the definition of personal touch has changed with technology, even for Baby Boomers, Gen X and the Silent Generation. As of 2016, 80% of U.S. adults aged 65+ own a cell phone. If we look at the whole U.S. adult population, 95% of them own a cell phone and are using their mobile devices for over three hours daily. That’s no surprise since text messaging is now 25 years old!

Clients fall on a continuum of technological use. Regardless of the extent to which Americans are using technology, one thing is clear: the vast majority of people come to their pet appointments with a mobile phone in their pocket, bag, or hand – and they are using it all the time.

How to Connect Personally in our Digital Era

So, what does this mean for pet care businesses that want to connect personally and engage digitally with their clients in 2018?

1) Communicate with clients in the way they want to be reached, which might include one or a combination of the following digital methods:

2) Share time-sensitive notifications with pet parents directly to their devices, such as:

  • Appointment reminders
  • Pick up confirmations
  • Medication refills

3) Stay present in pet parents’ busy minds after they leave your practice with digital tools such as a:

So, amidst the hectic buzzing of a veterinary clinic, ask yourself: when clients are away from my business, how is my practice meeting the emotional needs of clients and providing them the personal touch that they need?