In order for your veterinary practice to be succesful you need to grow, and maintain, your patient base. While both new patients and new clients increased by more than 5% in 2013, veterinary practices saw a drop in both active patients and active clients.
The difference in active, and new, clients and patients from 2012 to 2013 according to Veterinary Economics' Benchmarks 2013:
If new patients are coming in at an increasing rate and the number of active patients are still decreasing, one of two things is happening:
A. Clients are being driven away by an unpleasant experience
B. Clients and/or patients are moving/passing away faster than new patients can replace them
Whichever scenario applies to your practice, you’re left with the same problem: ever-falling numbers. However, there are still several ways to stop the metaphorical bleeding and maintain the patient base that you need to be successful.
1. Improve the Experience
Your clients want to know they’re more than just a number to you and your practice. Make sure you know that too! Giving your clients an all-star client experience and going the extra mile to get to know them and their pets can go a long way toward making your practice the only one your clients will consider visiting. Need more help than just a few simple changes? Consider bringing in a practice management group to help you improve.
2. Market, Market, Market
Facebook, twitter, instagram, groupon, TV commercials, radio spots, print ads, team sponsorships, referral programs. The list of marketing options is deep and wide and covers the whole spectrum of expense and time consumption. If you’re not marketing at all, it’s time to start. Feel free to start small, and free, and work your way up but it’s time to get your name out there. However, if you’re spending more than 10-15% of your gross on marketing, it’s time to reevaluate your strategies and figure out what’s really working.
3. Join Forces
Another sure fire way to grow your patient base is to play the numbers game and combine two or more practices into one. By merging your veterinary practice with the purchased practice, you give your practice the valuable shot of patients it needs and gives you an opportunity to get acquainted with tons of new patients. However, buying can be complicated and finding the right fit will often go smoother when a professional is involved.
If you have any questions about merging your veterinary practice, please don’t hesitate to contact us at 214-593-7158.
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