Prevent Clients from Resorting to Dr. Google for Veterinary Care

woman on couch with dog and computer searching Google
May 26, 2021 at 6:35 pm

The internet is an extremely helpful tool in today’s society. It seems to have the ability to solve all our problems. But, with countless opinions spread over countless web pages, we can get into trouble if we trust the wrong source to help us solve our problem.

Google has updated its algorithms so they can almost predict what we are going to type when we have a question. Pretty amazing, right? They make it so easy to rely on them. But Google should not be the first source of veterinary information for your clients—you should be. Here’s what you can do to ensure your clients ask you and your team all their pet-related questions, rather than Google.

Share why you care

Let your clients know when they call with a concern or come in for a visit that you appreciate them bringing their pet to you for professional treatment. You have spent many years learning the ins and outs of animal health. You understand the importance of knowing the history and background of your patients before diagnosing or treating them. You know that it requires time to build a trusting relationship with your patients and clients. Google doesn’t know what you know, and Google doesn’t have that relationship.

Communicate how to ask questions

Share with your clients the best way to contact you and your team when they have a question about their pet’s health. Providing your clients with a “contact us” magnet, a business card, or a flyer with your contact information will show that you actually want them to contact you with their questions or concerns. When they know that you’ll be there when they need you, clients will be more likely to rely on you and your team, not Google, when something is going on with their pet.

Incorporate telemedicine

Consider offering telemedicine services for client convenience. Often, when clients have questions about their pet’s health, their concerns don’t warrant a trip to the veterinary hospital. Allowing pet owners to contact your team when they need to strengthens your bond with them and helps to keep them loyal to you. While Google’s answer might make them run to the nearest emergency veterinary hospital for a potential after-hours emergency, your team’s answer gives them peace of mind and possibly saves them from making that unnecessary trip to the ER. This will change the way your clients look for medical advice.

man with cat looking at computer searching Google

Share a story

People are relational and often can comprehend their circumstances better when they hear situations that have happened to others. Without naming names, share an instance when a different client sought veterinary advice via a friend or the internet and how that had a negative impact on their pet’s health. Be sure to incorporate a happy ending to that story so you don’t scare the client. Your goal is to encourage them to go to you as the veterinary professional when they have questions about their pet’s health.

Post the problem

Display a flyer in your waiting room informing clients to avoid Google for pet care questions, and include specifics about why they should consult your team instead. Clients often will read while spending time in the waiting room with their pets, so take advantage of this.

Give them easy access

People are eager for information about their pets, and technology gives you the ability to provide that at their fingertips. Use an app or other technology platform that allows clients to have constant access to their pet’s medical information, your recommendations, and an easy way to contact your practice with questions. This will increase client satisfaction tremendously.

In the end, Google is great for many things. But providing individual care for your patients is not one of them.

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Sydney See is the proud operations manager at VetMeasure, Inc., where, since 2019, she has strived to help veterinary professionals radically improve their patient monitoring to ensure all patients are monitored as effectively and efficiently as possible during hospitalization. A member of VetPartners, Sydney enjoys providing new ways veterinary professionals can improve patient outcomes.

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