We’re currently running a health plan growth challenge for all our independent practices and recently asked the support group what the biggest challenge to plan promotion is.
The answer was unanimous…
“Too little face-to-face time with clients – chat has gone out the window since restrictions, and a new, more isolated way of working became the new normal”
We’re solution-orientated people, and with so many Easy Direct Debit clients needing so little day-to-day support, we don’t often get to chat either. But we still communicate with our clients ALL the time. And in as many ways as we can.
So, we set to work listing ideas that work for us (in fact, we went on to design a package for those who just want to hand it over and let us find the time they no longer have. You can find out about it here if you want to skip to an easy solution).
The Covid situation has changed the landscape when it comes to service provision. Whilst restrictions and risks will hopefully soon lessen, a significant number of your clients will actually prefer using instant online services, including booking appointments, joining your plan online, having parasiticides home-delivered, and video appointments for when they want to quickly check on something – wound healing, what they should be doing if their pet really needs to come in etc.
We must recognise this and make conversations that aren’t face-to-face a new normal. The future is – quite suddenly – now.
The key to keeping conversations active whilst working remotely needs an initial delve into all the touchpoints available.
One way of doing this is by following the customer journey from thinking about booking an appointment to going home afterwards.
How will your client contact you?
The initial information search might be through Google. What comes up when you search for your practice? Do you have reviews that talk about your plan? If not, can you ask happy clients to leave one? You can do this at discharge/payment or in a follow-up email.
When they reach your site, how prominent is your health plan on the home page? How many of your blogs mention the benefits? Can they sign-up online? What do you say about it that will appeal to them?
What happens when they call because they can’t book an appointment online but have your phone number? Does your holding message mention the HCP? If not, why not? When they ask to make an appointment, are they asked if they’re a plan member and, if not, send a link to more information if it’s useful?
When they come in on the day, what do they do?
In most practices, life has yet to go back to normal. Clients can’t always go in for the consult and often can’t sit in the waiting room.
This hugely cuts down on conversation opportunities with vets, nurses and receptionists. Nothing is overheard either “there’s nothing to pay today as it’s all included in your health plan” etc.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t communicate with them. Clients are still at the practice for the same amount of time.
In advance of their appointment, make it part of the procedure to determine if they are already health plan members. If not, let them know that you’ve noticed they aren’t a member, and tell them they’re missing out on savings and a couple of ‘included’ health checks every year, and you think it would be helpful to them.
Give them a leaflet to read whilst they wait – preferably one with a QR code that links them straight to your health plan webpage where they can join immediately online.
Never underestimate the power of waiting time! Many people get a lot of admin or research done whilst they’re waiting around and have the time to do so. You can make this work for you!
Adding a QR code to your pet health plan leaflet can help your clients quickly view the information you want them to see.
(This example shows a QR code on the Vista Vets welcome leaflet. This was designed alongside a vet practice branding, website and practice launch project)
At the end of the appointment, what happens?
What potential touchpoints are there as you hand the pet over and take payment? Tie a luggage tag (ask us about these – we even have plantable seeded ones) to the pet carrier saying “Make life easier – Become a VIP!” or similar and put a QR code on leading them to your health plan webpage.
Put something on their receipt.
Send them a follow-up email asking how it went and include an email signature that mentions the plan.
If they’re plan members and came in for something included, ask if you could post a picture on social media and if you can tag them if they’re online. They’re likely to be delighted that their pet gets a focus piece and re-post it for all their pet-owning friends to see.
This leads us on to….
Content creation doesn’t have to be onerous. The great thing about Instagram and Facebook is their immediacy. If you have a client-facing team member in the practice who likes to share good news stories, get them snapping and posting. E.g. If a puppy joined the plan and just been in for their second vaccination… Share the news. Celebrate victories. Show you are humans who CARE.
- Don’t underestimate the power of downtime
Client’s lives are busy, so waiting in their car or in your waiting room provides the perfect time to engage them. Use your leaflet to send customers (via a QR code) to your health plan page to learn more about your plan and then join online.
- Make your website work for you
- Make it SO clear and straightforward to join your plan that they no longer NEED to speak to a human
- Add a Facebook pixel to your page:
Start showing customers targeted adverts for up to six months after they visit your website!
- USE your social media to engage your clients daily
Customers love seeing their pets singled out to have a post created about them – they will like and share and spread trust without you doing any more – Using the viral aspect of social media is the easiest way to promote your practice, your plan and other services.
- Send regular and consistent emails to your clients
Once a month is fantastic, but even once every few months is valuable. These only need to be short. Just a few lines about a service you offer that ideally links to a longer blog, a good-news story, something linked to health plan membership benefits:
Here’s Rosie picking up her food last week…
Don’t forget that as an HCP member, you get a 10% discount on every purchase! Not a member yet? Click here to find out why it’s the best way to make essential preventative healthcare easy – and save money at the same time!“
It’s not always the right time for a client to join your plan, and people often need to see 6 or 7 reassuring touchpoints before they take action.
Increasing your touchpoints and visibility means that when the time IS right (paying for a health check, booking booster vaccinations or dental appointments), the customer is already informed of all the benefits, making it very easy for you to clarify the details with them. The hard work is done.
This isn’t selling – this is helping people.
As long as you have a good plan that’s genuinely going to benefit the client and the pet and you’re all proud of it, the rest will follow. Be proud and shout it loud.
Not got the time?
Our Remote Ready Marketing Plan will help you to transition into a new way of working with your clients. Our super helpful team will help you design content, help with copywriting, do all the data work and even send them for you.