Having Satisfied Customers Is No Longer Good Enough... What You Can Do To Go Beyond Satisfaction
World Small Animal Veterinary Association World Congress Proceedings, 2008
Alison Lambert, BVSc, MRCVS
The Old Vicarage
Horbling, Sleaford, UK

Consumer Drivers

A few years ago, our aim was to satisfy all our customers as this was the route to business success. The use of tools and techniques to deliver 'satisfaction' was one of the boom industries. What is the situation today?

In this session, we will be looking at the consumer drivers for choosing to repeat a purchase or experience whether the business is a vet practice or any other establishment. The key parameters that were once very important will be revisited and reviewed.

It is key to understand why having a high satisfaction level is now no longer good enough for any business.

There are several key messages and the role of recommendation by any of your customers, not clients, is now more critical than ever.

With growing choice for veterinary care, both from within the vet practice community and from the growing base of pet care professionals, now, more than ever, the owner has multiple sources of advice, care and--of growing concern to some--veterinary branded products.

To maintain a thriving business, or to reach that stage if you are a new business owner with the new practice in town, you will have to take the customer experience as seriously as you have taken any of the clinical aspects of your business.

Achieving Client Recommendations

High satisfaction levels do not equal recommendation. To understand the recommendation rate for your practice requires you to measure key numbers. There are several simple ways to do this.

Accessing local market knowledge by street interviews of local pet owners through to customer experience mapping of your own practice and those you consider to be your competitive set.

The use of questionnaires to gain feedback is important, and most of you will utilise feedback forms from your pool of pet owners--the key to a better understanding of what the pet owners in your area think is to access the feedback from folks who don't use you:

 Why don't people use you?

 Who do they recommend?

 What do they say about you?

 What do they believe you offer?

It is only when you get a full set of data that you can make decisions about how better to gain the recommendation of all the local owners who could use you.

You want to create an environment of exceptional customer care so they will be surprised and then tell a friend or 20!

So, key action are:

 Measure the recommendation rates;

 Measure the pet owners' customer experience;

 Invest time, energy and money to gain insights as to why your clients use you or why others in town choose not to use you;

 When was the last time you asked non-clients who live within 5 miles of you why they don't use you?

All of the above are easily done and provide great insights that allow you to make evidence based practice management decisions.

So, at the end of this session, you will have five things to do in the first five days back at work.

What to measure, how to do it and what you tell the staff back home about what you have learnt.

List here your five things to do:
1. _________________________
2. _________________________
3. _________________________
4. _________________________
5. _________________________

Speaker Information
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Alison Lambert, BVSc, MRCVS
The Old Vicarage
Horbling, Sleaford, UK

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