Five Ways Technology Can Help Meet Changing Expectations

The COVID-19 pandemic changed more than how we conduct business meetings and educate children. It fundamentally changed viewpoints and perspectives of consumers. Even older adults have fully embraced digital tools in the name of safety. As a result, the 2021 pet owner now has new expectations of convenience and efficiency.

In “5 Ways COVID-19 Has Reshaped Consumer Behavior,” author Nicole Silberstein alludes to the fact that the lines between physical and virtual have blurred for the 2021 consumer. “Digital tools saved the day last year, making it possible for much of life to continue despite the physical restrictions imposed by the pandemic. As a result, even older consumers have become acclimated to digital interactions, and consumers now expect integrated experiences.”

Understanding the conveniences to which pet owners have become accustomed can help practices proactively meet, and exceed, these expectations using technology. Technology is a boon for all involved. It simplifies processes and tasks, increasing efficiency for veterinary practices and convenience for pet owners – a win-win.

Here are five client expectations that, when met with the right technology tools, will not only differentiate your practice in the eyes of the consumer, but also save you time (and money).

Client Expectation #1: I want a convenient telemedicine option.

During the pandemic, a viable solution was needed for veterinarians, since most people were not comfortable going into public spaces. Telemedicine soon emerged as that solution. Simple and fast virtual consultations saved hours while opening up potential new revenue streams.

Just as quickly as telemedicine emerged as a solution, various platforms emerged on which to conduct telemedicine appointments, so virtual care became popular and accessible. One example is the new Vet Hero all-in-one client communication solution from Patterson, which includes telemedicine appointments and integrates with NaVetor cloud software. Veterinary practices that bundle NaVetor with Vet Hero have telemedicine access that syncs directly with their software, increasing convenience, decreasing phone time, and keeping schedules full.

Client Expectation #2: I look at online reviews before making decisions.

Online reviews are a key to success for any business. Whether consumers are seeking restaurants, hotels, doctors or veterinarians, online reviews provide a wealth of information. Seeing a long list of four- and five-star reviews provides pet owners with confidence when selecting a veterinarian or a veterinary procedure. On the other hand, too few reviews communicate a buyer-beware warning to the pet owner, and negative reviews create a steer-clear mentality.

For veterinary practices, obtaining online reviews goes hand-in-hand with obtaining new clients. The automated review feature in Vet Hero can make this process easy, and even seamless. Review requests are sent out automatically after appointments, with handy links where pet owners can provide feedback and post reviews to online sites like Google or Facebook.

Client Expectation #3: I want to schedule appointments online and receive email or text reminders.

Far less effort is involved in pet owners booking an appointment online compared to picking up the phone and calling. If an online appointment can be automatically added to the practice’s appointment calendar, without staff being involved, that’s even better.

The NaVetor/Vet Hero combination offers both. Pet owners can book an appointment on the veterinary practice’s website, and that appointment will automatically appear in the appointment calendar. Further, it will automatically schedule reminders via email, text, mail, or automated phone call, helping decrease missed and cancelled appointments. That is truly “hands-off” for the front desk staff. 

Client Expectation #4: I want to complete forms online and sign digitally.

Long gone are the days when pet owners will accept, “We need you to come in and fill out paperwork.” That was nearly obsolete even before the pandemic. In 2021, clients expect that online forms and online signatures can speed up patient visits and even prevent trips to the practice.

Vet Hero is one solution offering online forms and digital signatures. And with the convenient NaVetor integration, these forms can be automatically uploaded into NaVetor and attached directly to the client file.

Client Expectation #5: I want contactless payments.

Overall, people are still cautious about what they touch in public places, including point-of-sale machines. Less touch simply means less germs. Contactless payments have become a significant part of businesses meeting these expectations. Additionally, allowing clients to pay bills electronically, from anywhere, is more convenient for them and your staff.

NaVetor veterinary cloud software already allows practices to accept payments at curbside or in the exam room using the NaVetor mobile app and a phone or tablet. Vet Hero adds the online bill pay component, where it can send clients a text with a link to the online bill and they can pay it from anywhere, at any time.

Technology made it possible for us to live and work through COVID-19 quarantines and shut-downs. It’s no surprise that, a year later, people’s expectations have shifted. Fortunately, technology has kept pace. If you think your client communication and engagement strategies could use some updating to meet the expectations of the post-pandemic pet owner, consider the NaVetor / Vet Hero bundle from Patterson, which covers practice-management software plus hands-off online appointments, automated reminders, online forms with digital signatures, online bill pay, telemedicine, two-way texting, and online reviews.

Take a look and see if NaVetor and Vet Hero can help your practice. If you sign up before Oct. 31, you’ll get the first 30 days free. And you’ll be the most efficient … and convenient … veterinary practice around.