When official guidelines began mandating social distancing to stop the spread of Covid-19 and some businesses closed to foot traffic, vet clinics remained open and quickly adapted their protocols in an effort to keep customers and staff safe. But call volume at many vet clinics rose through the roof with these changes.
Understandably, pet owners don’t want to wait on hold for more than five minutes, and if preferences like those aren’t addressed, 77% of customers are unlikely to return to a business, according to a Zingle Consumer Survey on Customer Experience. Adding that pet ownership increased in 2020, as more people adopted furry friends during isolation, the business case for finding a better solution to manage increased communication with clients was made. The veterinary clinics that have continued to thrive through COVID-19 quickly adapted operations by taking a look at communication workflows that were needlessly tying up phone lines.
With 50% of U.S. homes no longer using landlines (U.S. Health Department) and 77% of the population owning smartphones (Pew Research), it’s easy to see why messaging can be the most effective way to connect with customers. In addition to the obvious convenience of a smart phone or watch, we’ve laid out three reasons messaging platforms are in a unique position to help vet clinics reduce call volume.
Automations deliver real-time care
With anxiety over social distancing and new safety protocols, pet owners today have more questions than ever before. What are your hours? How does curbside pickup work? Will social distancing be enforced? Answering these calls one at a time could take the whole day and leave frustrated customers on hold at peak hours. Creating automated messages and replies to frequently asked questions frees up your limited staff so they don’t have to answer the same questions over and over and even better, can provide immediate answers to your customers.
Automations also help manage the curbside check-in process, prescription requests, and appointment reminders. Instead of leaving pet owners left wondering what to do in the parking lot, automated messaging streamlines communication for veterinary clinics in a completely new way.
Personalize the pet owner’s experience
Automations empower vet clinics to deliver personalized communication with a lighter lift from staff. By segmenting pet owners according to personal identifiers like pet age or date since last appointment, clientele will feel nurtured if you automatically remind them of routine appointments, dental services and prescription refills along with relevant special offers.
Communicate with pet owners on their terms
Messaging platforms let you engage with pet owners by using their preferred communication method. Whether that’s SMS text, or social messaging apps like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, their message about a pet’s sudden change in coat will be funneled into a single inbox where your team can easily set up message routing to make sure the right message gets to the right team member.
It’s important to have a messaging platform with a multilingual translation feature, allowing pet owners to respond in their preferred language, automatically translating for office staff and vice versa. When communicating about important medical procedures, it’s of the utmost importance pet owners and vet clinics have better tools to understand conversations around symptoms, prescribed medication, and post-op recovery process.
Measuring the impact of messaging
For VetnCare, a Bay Area company that supports 13 veterinary clinics’ operational and administrative needs, the switch to a messaging platform was essential for reducing their spiking call volume. Medallia Zingle was the equivalent of having at least one extra full-time person at the front desk and approximately 30 phone calls were replaced by text messages, per clinic, daily.
Personalized communication through messaging improves the veterinarian-patient-relationship and builds trust in those critical moments involving furry family members. Concerned pet owners can be kept in the loop about their pet’s status during procedures while also answering questions about billing and insurance, all by simply texting.
Download the case study on how VetnCare reduced their call volume surge, caused by COVID-19, by 50%.