Dr. J, a young Veterinarian, and her husband set out to build their own clinic early last year. While building a practice from the ground up – as opposed to buying one outright from another practitioner – can lead to a numerous rewards and a great deal of independence, it often comes with countless challenges. Like many entrepreneurial vets, dentists, and other practitioners before them, this young couple found their greatest challenge in building and maintaining a stable client base.
Traditional marketing offered mixed results, and most promotional deals and coupons lead to single visits, but did little to increase loyalty. Furthermore, the many potential patients in their community found the cost of caring for their pets increasingly difficult to manage. According to the Bayer 2011 Veterinary Care Usage Study, pet owners overwhelmingly want quality veterinary care for their pets, but fiscal concerns often put price before loyalty. Many pet owners find themselves bouncing between lowest bidders for each procedure, instead of creating a lasting relationship with a particular doctor.
In a community with mixed incomes, Dr. J needed a financial option that created customer loyalty, while ensuring pets got the care they needed. By employing a Wellness Plan module, they were able to meet these needs and create a comfortable financial base for their budding business.
Already quite popular in the Veterinary space, Wellness Plans allow patients to select a monthly payment option and care plan directly through the provider. The young Vet was able to create a variety of care plans that fit the needs of her community: puppy plans, feline plans, senior plans, etc., each uniquely suited for the needs of different pets. By paying a moderate monthly fee –averaging $40 a month in the case of the above practice – directly to the practitioner, pet owners have access to everything from regular check-ups to larger procedures, including many visits not covered by traditional insurance. This provides better care for the pets, a more relaxed financial commitment for pet owners, and greater customer loyalty for the practice.
Within eight months, this new practice had 180 pets on Wellness Plans, creating the necessary financial stability to keep the clinic afloat, and strong relationships with the pet owners in the community. In the coming weeks, we’ll examine how these plans are becoming the preferred choice in many Veterinary practices, and making their way into other medical fields as well. Furthermore, we’ll show how automated payment-management software is making it easier than ever for clinics to manage a variety of payment plans, thus allowing doctors to focus on taking care of their patients, while comfortably generating financial stability for their practice.