How Do I Know if My Wellness Program is On the Right Track?

Okay, so you’ve got your wellness program up and running, so now how do you ensure that it is “all that it can be?” That answer may be slightly different for each practice, but ultimately your program should be creating significant growth for your practice on a variety of levels, from something as simple as revenue to more complex and time dependent metrics like client retention and loyalty.

In fact, with a wellness program, your metrics will increase, and some of your initial goals may change a bit, as your program matures. But you’ve got to start somewhere, so let’s take a look at what you should be tracking as you launch your program and then look at what metrics to add over time.

The First 6 Months
The first 6 months need to be focused on plan adoption, which ultimately means that your time is best spent perfecting the message, incorporating the offering into the practice flow and making sure that the plans become part of the practice culture. Initial goals should be based on the number of plans sold per month, keeping it reasonable but challenging and increasing that number every month.

While there is no standardized metric for how many plans a practice should sell, after the first couple of months it is reasonable to expect 15-20 plans per month per full time DVM, and this should continue to increase on a monthly basis (ultimately, at least 20%-30% of active clients should have their pets on a plan). Implementing a team incentive program around a specific goal is a great way to create initial excitement and should continue for as long as it makes a difference. Make sure a portion of every team meeting is dedicated to reviewing success and goals, as well as discussing improvements for making the program run more smoothly. Continuing to spend time on role playing is also super important, especially as your message becomes more refined.

After the first month or two, it is time to start tracking the types of plans that are being purchased and to look for any trends or patterns. Puppy and kitten plans are “no brainers,” but sometimes you can find a trend that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. For example, if the majority of plans being sold are basic adult plans, it is worth taking the time to determine whether all of these pets really do fall into the adult age range and whether the medical record indicates that they do not need dentistry. If in fact some of these are senior pets, and there is no indication that dentistry is not recommended, there could be something else going on and you need to figure it out sooner rather than later. Is your team selling plans based on price rather than what is best for the pet? Are they uncomfortable discussing the different plans and what is included and why the pet needs that level of care? Do they understand that they are doing the pet a disservice by not recommending the highest level of care? The sooner this can be addressed, the better off for everyone (in fact, senior plans should be the biggest seller in most practices!).

Cats are another biggie. Track how many eligible cats are seen in a time period versus eligible dogs and compare the percentage of plans sold. If 40% of your patients are cats, then ideally 40% of your plans should also be for cats, and wellness plans should be instrumental in making your practice more cat friendly.

Finally, in the first 6 months it is also a good idea to track who in the practice is selling the plans and if there are any patterns that show up. For example, if, on the days that Dr. Bob and his technician James are working, plans are flying off the shelf, while on the other days there is ‘no interest,’ a lightbulb should go off in your head. Rather than chastise the other doctors and team members, however, ask Dr. Bob and James to present their methods at a meeting and have them help train the rest of the team. There can’t just be a handful of people that are good at offering plans – it is not only an unsustainable model, but very unhealthy for the practice in the long run.

In our next blog we will look at wellness program metrics for Months 6-12, and then the long term metrics once your program reaches its first anniversary date and beyond.