Managing Your Own Wellness Plan Program?
Your Program Management Is Costing More Than You Think
The concept of wellness plans, where a consumer can make monthly payments over the course of a year, has been around for quite some time at a particular large hospital chain, but has been more of a recent phenomenon for independent practices. On the surface, wellness plans sound simple. Create some plans by age group and species, maybe use the practice management system’s wellness module, if available, and debiting customer accounts each month for the monthly fee. No problem!
However, as the program grows, there are various other aspects of running a wellness program that arise and create more work than originally anticipated. The day-to-day tasks can really add up for your team members, taking them away from other equally important responsibilities such as client education and communication. These include:
Missed Payment Management
- Managing the process of outbound calls, month-to-month account balance accruals, partial payments and more
- Realizing that if you use a practice management software wellness solution, it does not help in any way with missed payments or tracking AR, and you have to build your own process and system to track and manage all the associated tasks
- Recognizing that the industry averages a 6-8% missed payment rate each month is a reality that must be dealt with. And, with 2.6 calls needed per missed payment on average, for a 300-plan program, you are looking at roughly 55 calls per month to track people down and get issues resolved.
- Puppy and kitten plans automatically renewing to adult plans
- Coordinating plan launches with annual price increases, and making sure the previous version of the plan renews to the new version of the plan
- Managing pet owner custom requests – adding or subtracting optional services such as dentistry on an annual basis
- Tracking non-renewal rates, and understanding the “why” around these non-renewals, can be quite a headache, and often very difficult for the practice to track and manage manually
- Many self-run programs do not offer optional services to tailor plans to the individual pet, as it becomes too hard to track
- Even if optional services are offered, most do not have the ability to easily add optional services per plan or do so mid-plan term
- Automation of options to either renew or not to renew as the plan renews
And then, there is the Business of Wellness™. Once you get your arms around running the day-to-day Practice of Wellness basics, you will want to make sure the program is as positively impactful as it can. You will want to easily access data such as:
- Are your wellness pets really worth it – i.e. does your practice earn more revenue from wellness pets than pets that are not on wellness?
- Exactly how much do clients with pets on wellness spend?
- How does your program stack up with similar practices – are you doing better or worse?
- How do you build a membership club concept that engenders loyalty and referrals?
- What can be learned from other practices and applied to our program to improve?
Fact, a well-run program can see annual per pet spend in the $1,250-$1,600 range, so if you have 300 plans, that is a $480,000 piece of your business each year, which definitely deserves your focus and attention to ensure it continues to thrive. Areas that well-run wellness programs focus on include:
Brand Strategy and Marketing
- Are you building your brand?
- Are you creating a club concept to help drive new sign ups and higher renewal rates?
- New and creative marketing programs, focused on your demographics around your practice, to get new clients into the practice
- Generation of marketing materials to support your marketing program
Analytics to track metrics for current year and year-over-year improvement – e.g. new plan sign ups, non-renewals, cancellations, optional services adoption, and more.
How Do You and Your Team Benefit From Partnering With VCP?
- We have worked with industry experts in the design of our wellness solution and incorporate expertise from sister companies offering similar solutions in other industries such as human dental. The key concept – integrated technology that delivers unsurpassed automation for all the items mentioned. As the only recurring billing solution, we also deliver detailed accounting capabilities, in fact, our wellness accounts are part of the AAHA/VMG chart of accounts standard. VCP is the only solution focused on the Practice of Wellness as well as the Business of Wellness so that every aspect of your wellness plan is covered. Having an individual dedicated to managing a well-run program takes a lot of time. The time spent on managing a wellness program is drastically reduced through the VCP Platform.
- We are the only solution with recurring billing and accounting at the center of the solution, with complete automation around the whole payment management process. Our software is extremely effective in reducing the number of missed payments that occur and the VCP call center provides outbound calling to pet owners to get them current – saving your team precious time. This saves your team the frustration and dreaded calls, as well as a day of staff time. That alone can be worth a lot.
- We have found that optional services add tremendous value to the pet owner, as well as revenue to the practice. Our research has shown that clients with pets on wellness plans spend on average another 20-30% on options. Optional services also allow you to differentiate your plans from big corporate practice chains as well as local independents with wellness plans. Common options are non-core vaccinations, heartworm/flea/tick medicines, dental cleaning, microchips, spays/neuters, and more.
- We’re pet lovers, veterinary professionals, developers, strategists and payment option experts and have created a solution we believe keeps the veterinarian as the trusted advisor for all things pet related. Our wellness solution quickly answers your plan needs, but offers so much more for long-term growth and evolution. VCP can support club concepts, linking plans to other practice services such as grooming, daycare, boarding and more. The same software can deliver flexible solutions for treatment plans, examples are pain management, holistic packages, diabetes plans and so much more.
- VCP works with you to marketing and promote your wellness programs, building your brand and relationships. With full
graphics capabilities, we can provide design, artwork and fulfillment on all types of marketing materials such as:
- Plan one sheets and comparison sheets for exam rooms and the front desk
- Program brochures
- Ask me buttons
- Social media and website creative
- Direct mail postcards
- Email programs
- Lobby signs and more
Think Bigger, Better and Easier
As the veterinary industry continues to quickly evolve, today’s practices need to be more agile and adaptable to not only survive but to thrive. Especially as consumer buying habits change, online resources become more evolved and other low-cost models enter the market. Today’s practices need to be thinking two steps ahead in order to come up with new offerings, become branding experts to differentiate their practices, and learn to use new marketing techniques to increase customer loyalty.
If you’re managing your own program, or thinking about it, a good idea is to map out all of the work required to manage the program yourself and compare against the actual cost to the practice of a comprehensive vendor that meets your needs. Give VCP a call.
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