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Moving your practice services online and what to expect

By June 22, 2021June 9th, 2022No Comments

Industries across the world are changing tact as they reel from the coronavirus pandemic that has made it impossible to continue operating normally as they used to. The lock downs across the country have also exacerbated the problems that the brick-and-mortar business models that these industries rely on, as more businesses continue to close down due to state and federal government’s directives of lock down to curb the spread of the virus.

The veterinary practice, which has traditionally been a brick-and-mortar industry, has also faced challenges in adapting to lock downs and government restrictions meant to curb the spread of the virus. Across the country, “temporarily closed until further notice” notices have become all too common, further highlighting the need for a change of tact on how veterinary practice should run.

To many practices, the adoption of technology has become a solution to the lock downs and government restrictions. Practices are now taking their services online to continue their operations. This has enabled them to continue keeping contact with their clients, offering services, and reaching out to new clients as they continue to seek expansion.

Taking veterinary services online

The logistics of pivoting a traditionally in-person practice online may seem impossible and hard at first. Practice owners are no different and face challenges in coming up with a strategy to effectively migrate their practice online.

A good strategy for moving your practice online should consider different facets of online presence. This should include social media accounts, email and mailing lists, websites and an online practice management system.

Social media platforms

Social media platforms should act as your online business directory where your clients can be able to access you and contact you.

Social media platforms have now become a contact point for many businesses to connect with clients and potential clients. With more than 2.7 billion Facebook users, over a billion Instagram users and 330 million active Twitter users, social media accounts are able to tap into the vast user base to reach out to both clients and potential clients.

Veterinary practices are now able to offer services through social media platforms that have expanded their services to accommodate businesses. Facebook marketplace, for instance, offers practice owners the ability to market their services through the Facebook platform.

Email and mailing lists

Another great way of moving your practice online is through mailing services. This involves collecting emails from your potential clients and doing business through email.

Having a mailing list also ensures that you can keep in contact with your clients. It also offers your clients an easy way to reach out to a veterinary practice and inquire about services, products and pricing.

For the safety of your practice it’s important to use a business class email service and not a traditional free-mail account. With Free-mail accounts (like a free gmail or yahoo account) there is no way to back up any of the data within that account, customer contact lists, email history etc. You are also unable to put in cyber security protections that help prevent hackers from accessing your account. Thus make sure you implement a business class email service like Microsoft O365 or Google Gsuite.

Online Practice management system

Practice management systems are software that makes it easy to access veterinary practice services in one place. This software can take all activities repetitive tasks in a practice and create programs that simplify these tasks, making them easily available to clients, practice owners and veterinary practitioners.

Practice management systems can be deployed in three ways, online deployment, desktop deployment, or through an internal network system that is only accessible locally where the practice is located.

Online practice management systems have become popular in the industry as practice owners continue to look for ways to streamline their services. Some of the reasons why practice owners are moving their practice management systems online are:-

  1. Easy access

Clients and potential clients of veterinary practices are now becoming heavily reliant on internet services. With every industry migrating online, clients have now become accustomed to online business services and are demanding the same from practice owners, where they can access veterinary products and services.

Taking practice management systems online ensures that, not only are the services available for your clients, but also for veterinary practitioners you work with. This easier access to services from clients is providing avenues for practices to expand and gain more customer base.

Looking to leverage work from home environment to reduce the number of staff in your hospital? With the proper VOIP (voice over IP phone system) and a cloud based practice management system you can have CSRs and Doctors taking calls from home. Reducing the number of staff within the hospital.

2. Easy communication

Online practice management systems offer an easy way to contact clients for practice owners. Clients also have easy access to contact practice owners and practitioners in case they have a problem they want addressed. Online practice management systems have created an easy channel for communications, streamlining veterinary practice services.

We see this through integrated text messaging services, reminders, built in tele-health consulting tools and online scheduling tools. Already have this infrastructure built into your local server based practice management system like Idexx Cornerstone or Covetrus AVImark? Its easy to fork lift these practice management systems to the cloud. So that you get all the benifits of the cloud without having to change your entire business workflow, retrain staff and pay enormous consulting fees to migrate all your data.

3. Selling services

Practice owners are also able to use online management systems to sell their products to their clients. Most of these systems can highlight services that are offered by practice owners, making it easy for clients to choose and pay for services through the platforms.

Websites

Another way that practice owners are moving their practices online is through websites. Clients are able to access information about a practice through a website, which also gives them the ability to contact them or give feedback for services received. Websites are also acting as a marketing tool in modern veterinary practice, where company websites act as fronts for their public relations.

Practice owners looking to create a website for their website need to follow the following steps.

Buy a domain name that is similar to your offline practice name. This makes it easy for clients to find you through organic methods such as Google.

Buy hosting services or cloud services. This is the physical space that your website will be uploaded to.

A website. This is your actual site that is uploaded to a cloud or hosting service. Practice owners may opt to hire a web developer to create a website for their practice if they don’t have an internal IT department capable of creating one. It is important to consult professionals for all your web designs and functionality in order to ensure that the website meets the needs of both the practice owners and clients.

Leverage a Tele-health Service

As your clients become more accustomed to curbside services they are used to not being in the exam room during treatment or care. Thus receiving advice from a far. We are now seeing more and more hospitals leveraging the service of tele-health companies like VetTriage.

A lot of practice owners are afraid of tele-health services taking away business from their practice. However, all the practices that leverage some form of tele-health service that Lucca works with has seen massive benefit. If you don’t want to do a DIY tele-health service, leveraging a reputable service like VetTriage helps to keep your clients within your ecosystem.

There’s generally no cost to you, as the client pays a fee to the tele-health service. The tele-health doc then reviews the case to determine appropriate action and then shares that information back to you. All while you sleep.

Conclusion

Both small and medium-sized veterinary practices are still reeling from the impact of the lock downs from the coronavirus pandemic. Getting practice services online may sound like a daunting task for practice owners. However, it is now more important than ever to have an online presence, where you can reach out to your clients and offer services online.

Other industries have realized the benefits of having an online presence and are now enjoying its benefits. As practice owners, migrating to online services may result in exponential growth and expansion of the customer base. It also offers new ways of reaching potential clients.

Need help navigating the cloud within your practice? Lucca is here to help. Shoot us an email at support@lucca.vet or go to o

Peace, Love & Plants-

Clint Latham

www.Lucca.vet