Many pet parents visit the same veterinary practice year after year, even for multiple pets, out of loyalty. Depending on the type of loyalty your clinic is encouraging, your client may consider going elsewhere for pet care instead of referring you to their friends.
As your clinic continues to grow larger, you may encounter some difficulty establishing a new client base with the right type of loyalty. So how do you bring new clients through your door?
One of the most common ways to grow your client base is through word of mouth from the positive experience that your clients have at your clinic. By creating this positive experience for the pet parent, you are shifting their loyalty from behavioral loyalty to attitudinal loyalty.
Behavioral vs. Attitudinal Loyalty
Behavioral Loyalty is a loyalty towards a product or service based on habit or repetition. A good example of this would be how humans interact with a chain coffee shop. While you may not have any specific ties or opinions about the product itself, you regularly visit this shop probably because of the location and consistency of the product.
The same thing can happen to pet parents and a vet clinic. While they may not have any specific ties to the clinic itself, they may visit the clinic out of sheer habit, location or because that just so happens to be the first clinic they decided to bring their pet to.
While it isn’t a huge problem for your clinic to have people who have more of a behavioral loyalty to your practice, it is possible that these individuals are more open to changing practices. They may be only just content with your services and may be open to a change and less likely to promote your clinic to friends or family.
Attitudinal Loyalty is a loyalty based off of the client’s individual experience with a product or service. Going back to the coffee analogy, think about the last time that you had a really great experience at an independent coffee shop. Did the coffee taste good? Was the staff friendly and knowledgeable? Did the ambiance invite you to stay?
Similar to the coffee shop experience, your clinic has strong control over your client’s attitudinal loyalty. This can manifest itself in different ways, one of which is the differentiating factors of your clinic. What does your clinic do to set itself apart from other veterinary clinics in the area?
Clients who have a strong attitudinal loyalty are less likely to leave their current clinic to go and find another practice. These pet parents are 43% more likely to pay more per visits, review you positively online and refer others to your practice.
How To Increase Attitudinal Loyalty
Your clinic has complete control over a client’s attitudinal loyalty. What does your clinic do to stand out from the crowd?
Some ideas on how a few PetDesk clinics create attitudinal loyalty for their clients:
Offer Personalized Service
Based on a study done by Evergage, 88% of US marketers reported seeing measurable improvements due to personalization – with more than half reporting a lift greater than 10%.
If your front staff greets you, or your fur baby by name before looking at your chart, that’s personalization. If you receive a text message reminder because that’s the easiest way to reach you, that’s personalization. Allowing your clients to choose how they would like to be contacted for appointment reminders and confirmations ensures that they will be contacted in a format that they prefer.
People love to meet other humans who are enthusiastic about what they’re doing. Seeing a passionate doctor care for one of your closest family members will make your client feel as if they made the right choice in a veterinary practice.
For instance, my veterinarian sits on the floor to interact with my Doberman when I take them to get a check-up. Watching the doctor get down on the floor to play with my big, goofy dog makes me think that this person truly loves everything they’re doing, and I’m confident that they will provide the best care for my dog.
Reward Clients for Their Loyalty
It doesn’t make sense to have a punch card system in the pet healthcare space, seeing as your pet may not need to visit the doctor every day.
However, when they do come in, you want to thank their pet parents for their visit. A loyalty plan can help incentivize your clients to buy medications and other goods from your practice, instead of third-party online or big-box retailers.
Provide Simple Communication
Contacting your clients should be simple and straight to the point. No matter your clients’ communication preference, you should be able to reach out to them and easily get a response back – with no hassle on your end.
With 77% of the population wandering around with smartphones in their pockets, it shouldn’t be difficult to get a response back from your clients. Making it easy for them to schedule appointments means healthier pets in the long run.
Fostering attitudinal loyalty is no easy feat and may take some trial and error. It is essential to keep your clinic client-focused and shift the spotlight to your clients’ experience, so your clinic will shine in their eyes and they will come back for years to come.