Consumer behaviors change. Monthly payments and subscription billing have become the norm with the broad acceptance of services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, gym memberships and more. The easy access to information online can also come between, and diminish, relationships with your clients. Evolving technologies and customer preferences are leading the way for the need for change in the veterinary industry.

Wellness plans provide the perfect opportunity to embrace this change. They don’t have to be just a bundle of services offered at a discount. Today’s wellness plan programs are a strategic business tool that can be used to grow compliance, customer loyalty and to build stronger relationships with your customers and help differentiate your practice and grow revenue. The preventive care aspect of wellness plans is just the beginning. Wellness programs can also include various services beyond preventive care, including treatment plans, grooming and boarding, promotion of daycare and other special services. They are the ‘foot-in-the-door’ that allows you to grow your dental business and other offerings such as acupuncture, holistic medicine, preventatives and so much more.

Pet Owners DO Want Plans
Based on the Bayer Study in 2011, 47% of pet owners wanted affordable monthly payments and 35% of pet owners wanted the peace-of-mind associated with knowing they are doing what needs to be done to keep their pet healthy. Fast forward 5 years to a survey of 3,000 pet owners that had their pets on a wellness program for at least 12 months. Interestingly enough, when asked what they valued most about their plan, 46% of pet owners stated it was the ability to make affordable monthly payments and 37% said it was the peace-of-mind knowing that they are providing their pet with the very best care. Now couple that with the broad economic trend of monthly payments for many things in life, and you and your staff should be very comfortable that a significant portion of your clients DO want these plans and would appreciate the ability to make monthly payments. And if you still aren’t convinced – survey them!!

Compliance In and Out of Plans Exceeds 90%.
Wellness plans help practice’s reach their primary goal of helping more pets and increasing compliance. The rise in compliance is not limited to just those preventive care services in the plan. As a result of being on a plan, pet owners are more likely to accept other recommendations. Practices experience over 90% compliance on recommendations for services outside of the plans. For example, if the preventive care profile in the plan shows high kidney values, 90+% of clients say “yes” to recommended follow up diagnostics and care. And practices often see an increase in dental services, with 65% of pet owners selecting to add dental to their pet’s wellness plan.

Clients Come In More Often and Per Pet Spend Increases

Increased Doctor Production Pay
The increased spend for pets on wellness also means healthier paychecks for veterinarians that are paid on production. True, they are getting production on plan items at the discounted price, if a discount is part of the plan, BUT in almost all cases they are providing more services to the pet owner than they were providing prior to being on a wellness plan. And with 90% compliance on recommendations outside of the plan, more frequent visits and a $1,500 average annual spend…you get the picture.

A Holistic Approach to Wellness Plan Programs
A successful program addresses two key aspects of wellness, The Practice and Business of Wellness. The Practice of Wellness provides for the design, set-up and day-to-day management of your wellness program. Ultimately, the key to success is the understanding of The Business of Wellness. Your program should be a strategic business asset and provide the process features, tools, and program insight and analytics to provide you true business insight and the information to grow a successful program. No longer look at wellness plans as just a bundle of services, look at is as a compliance enabler, a client loyalty builder and a promotion strategy to attract new clients, retain existing clients and grow all areas of the practice.

VCP is the only wellness plan platform in the veterinary industry to provide a complete set of services covering the Business of Wellness. And while we can’t tell you that there is no work involved in setting up a wellness plan program, we can tell you that the right partner makes all the difference and can significantly reduce the amount of work it takes to manage plans at volume. In the next few months we are going to publish a complete series of post that deal with key questions and considerations that practices face from initial consideration, to design and launch to marketing and managing a long-term successful wellness plan program.