As pet care professionals, it is important to observe the trends and patterns happening in the world around us. We are consumers living in a world of membership clubs and subscription services. Things are evolving fast; new services, changing demographics and online abilities are changing the way consumers behave and purchase services. These changing behaviors carry over to how pet owners utilize and pay for care, treatment, pet services and other necessities for their pets. These new trends are altering the pet owner/veterinarian relationship and creating new challenges for the veterinary practice.
As the pet health expert, the veterinarian should be at the heart of pet care, but to keep this relationship, the industry must reinvent and change how it views and utilizes wellness plans. A more creative use of wellness plans, (think membership club, see next month’s post for more info) helps realign the veterinarian/pet owner relationship, driving much deserved revenue back to the practice. No longer just a bundle of preventive care services, wellness programs have come a long way, and contribute to compliance, the client relationship and growth strategies needed for a healthy practice. Today, practices considering this evolution of wellness, need a holistic approach that incorporates the Practice and Business of Wellness.
The Practice of Wellness
The Practice of Wellness is about developing a program that allows you to define and sell plans and subsequently, manage the day-to-day operations of running a wellness program. The right partner should allow you to utilize your preventive protocols to create your plans and allow you to have options that can be selected to customize the plan on a per pet basis. Your partner should have plan pricing discussions with you, examining local competitors, big and small, and helping you establish market-based pricing. Wellness plans should not be just about discounting services, rather, the plans should help build compliance and drive loyalty and revenue to the practice. To help automate the whole process it is critical to pick the right partner – one that not only meets your needs today, but also meets your future needs. Today’s plan management software should provide complete recurring billing functionality, not just recurring payments (Article on Recurring Billing and Recurring Payments). Also, make sure things like managing missed payments (including a vendor provided call center) is available to you.
The Business of Wellness™
The Business of Wellness is something that has not really been a focus of many of the articles you might have read regarding wellness plans. The Business of Wellness covers things like brand strategy, creating a club concept for stickiness and renewal optimization, marketing strategies, comparative analytics for measuring success, as well as building broader membership concepts to grow other areas of your practice, and much more. The first part of the Business of Wellness is learning how to use your wellness program to dramatically impact compliance and revenue for your practice. The second part of the Business of Wellness involves the tools needed to provide real-time data analytics, so you can make educated business decisions about how to maximize your wellness program. Real-time analytics allow you to evaluate and act quickly if needed in the areas of enrollments, payment issues and cancellations. Real-time analytics also give you the power to maximize your renewal rate, understand the spending characteristics of your non-wellness pets compared to your wellness pets, and much more. A solution providing a strong Business of Wellness component differentiates a practice and allows them to not only compete but thrive in a changing industry.
If you’re thinking about wellness plans, think of all the possibilities and look for a solution that delivers on both the Practice and Business of Wellness.