While the economy may be on its’ way out of a recession, many clients are still hesitant to spend their discretionary income. These financial challenges, coupled with the availability of information on the internet is hurting veterinary clinics, both emergency and general practice. Clients will Google many diseases/problems prior to bringing their pet in. Often they will explain, “well I googled it and I got so worried I came in right away.” Unfortunately however, more often they will explain, “Well on Google it said to wait a few days…” For better or for worse, many people choose Dr. Google first and their veterinarian second.
So how do we as doctors and as a profession combat the ease and affordability of the internet? Communication, as usual is the key. Here are some resources to consider:
1. Partners for Healthy Pets- the face of the Partnership for Preventive Pet Healthcare™, a committee of the non-profit American Veterinary Medical Foundation that was created to ensure that pets receive the preventive healthcare they deserve through regular visits to a veterinarian. This alliance of more than 20 leading veterinary associations and animal health companies is committed to a vision of improved overall health for pets.
Our Goals: We are dedicated to helping veterinary professionals provide the best preventive healthcare by:
- Addressing the increasing prevalence of serious diseases and the declining health of our nation’s pets
- Enhancing pet owners’ perceived value of preventive veterinary care
- Ensuring regular veterinary visits become the norm
- Increasing the understanding of the veterinarians’s central role in the health and happiness of pets
- Making increasing preventive healthcare of cats a priority
2. Direct clients to some good websites/resources, before they start searching.
At their first visit hand them a resource list for reputable websites. Some of the ones I like include:
- http://www.veterinarypartner.com/- run by VIN with approved content this a great, free resource for clients
- Let clients know they can call with questions anytime for free. You may even consider setting up an email account that either a technician or trained client service representative runs and answers in 48 hours.
- http://www.njveterinaryblog.com/- is run by Ocean County Veterinary Hospital in New Jersey and has great articles on pet health care.
- Direct clients to your state VMA (veterinary medical association). Many of them have great client resources.