Here’s how to nurture client relationships, even if you're understaffed and overwhelmed

Here’s how to nurture client relationships, even if you're understaffed and overwhelmed

Claire Pritchard Marketing Manager | Content writer | Event organiser

Here’s how to nurture client relationships, even if you're understaffed and overwhelmed So, you think you’re in the animal business - after all, as vets we came into this profession to help our fluffy, feathered, hooved or scaled companions. But each of these patients comes with a human who is their primary healthcare provider on a day-to-day basis. So, we’re as much in the business of human care as we are animal care.

Nurturing relationships - whether with colleagues, customers or friends - can be time-consuming, but they are nevertheless essential in all aspects of life. And most importantly, building loyalty and trust with clients is the key to driving business.

So, what’s the secret? With consistent human connection we will foster thriving client relationships. We’ll also feel the benefits of improved engagement, as well as patient health compliance and practice revenue.

What can a vet practice do to provide consistent human connection?

As vets, we are the trusted source of care and emergency cover for our clients' beloved pets. And with so much misinformation out there on the world-wide-web, it’s essential that we consistently communicate our unique knowledge and expertise. By doing so, we can help clients optimise the health of their pets.

But in today’s digital age, we are all bombarded with information, wherever we might be. Getting emails and texts opened and read can be tricky, as notifications become overwhelming. So, how do we get the right messages into the hands of our clients and stand out from the crowd?

To help improve those read and open rates, every message must be properly personalised. Ultimately, the key to providing that human connection is ensuring your clients receive bespoke information, not junk-worthy rubbish.

What do we mean by properly personalised?

Properly personalised

Keep branding consistent

Keep consistency and build familiarity and trust in your communications by making it clear the communication is coming from you, and not a third party. Use the same sending email address and, if you're sending an SMS, ensure the sender name is your practice name, instead of an unknown number.

Providing a familiar and recognisable design with every communication will build trust in your messaging too. Your messaging should be an extension of your digital sites, such as your website and social media. Keep things consistent, with similar style and branding throughout each communication. Ensure you include key brand details, such as your practice logo, brand colour and, most importantly, your practice or site contact information.

Make it personal

These days everyone expects to be greeted by their name. After all, it’s the very first step in making a connection and the most basic form of personalisation, so it should be included in every message. Connect with your client by addressing them by name, referencing animal names and having easy-to-follow buttons, so it's clear what they should do next.

To do this, it’s therefore vital that your client data is accurate. Ask staff to verify the spelling of names and contact details when talking to clients, and provide clients with an easy access tool, so they can amend their account information. That way, they can keep their own details up to date.

It’s also important to keep notes separate to client data - during our work with practices it’s not unusual to see that Mrs Smith has accidentally been alerted that she’s noted down as a bad debtor. Making sure your software helps to clean the data is something that could really save you time, blushes and business.

Keep messages clear and combined

Do more with less. After all, no one has ever said they 'like to be spammed'. If your clients have multiple pets, combine messages such as parasiticide and appointment reminders, or even health advice. Combining to-dos will put the client in control and avoid messages getting deleted or ignored. Importantly, include clearly labelled action buttons too, so it’s clear what their next steps should be.

Stick to what’s relevant

Now that you've directed the message to the right person and made it obvious it's coming from you - the trusted source - you need to ensure you're building that trust by providing the most useful content. Quality advice and education will keep your clients interested, engaged and more likely to respond to your call-to-actions.

It’s important to keep things targeted too. What do we mean by this? Instead of sending all your clients (cat, dog, hamster and horse owners) a message about Cushing's disease, ensure that you tailor your messages to the right audience. It’s also important to consider excluded audiences. For example, when sending healthcare awareness about heart disease symptoms, exclude those patients already on heart medication.

Get smart with smart content

SMART makes things even more engaging and profitable. Marketing folk tend to use a lot of buzzwords, and 'smart content' might be something you've come across before. "Smart" or "dynamic" content is the term used for content in any digital form (website, email, SMS etc) that can adapt depending on who is viewing it.

With smart content, pet owners will always receive communications with content appropriate for their pet. Cleverly, that includes everything, from images to message wording.

For example, if a female cat owner is reading about neutering, it'll be more relevant to talk about spaying rather than castration. And if you're messaging all your clients to wish them a Merry Christmas, you could use smart content in the imagery. That way you’d ensure that cat owners receive a festive cat picture, while dog owners receive a Christmassy canine.

To sum it up!

These days clients expect the real personal touch. Delighting your clients and keeping them engaged creates a loyal and long-lasting customer base, which in-turn boosts profits. This means targeted, tailored and relevant communications at just the right time - but using smart technology to do the heavy lifting for you.

Studies show that tailoring each message to the client and patient will pay serious dividends. With tried-and-tested communications, from reminders to education and survey feedback requests, to ongoing medication support, a smart tech solution like iRecall commonly offers 8x return on investment.