Do your clients know what is classed as an emergency?
It can be really hard to persuade a client that “a spot of bother weeing” is an emergency for a neutered tomcat, or equally that “five drops of blood!” from a Great Dane isn’t. While it is often sensible to “play it safe” and get every “emergency” in to be seen, there may be situations where it isn’t appropriate – or even possible. For example, if you’ve got sole charge on a weekend, you’re going to have to triage the cases or your staff will be overloaded – full stop.
The majority of your clients don’t want to visit your practice unnecessarily – especially if OOH fees apply – but equally, you can’t afford to turn any one away with a real emergency, or lose the important (and potentially lucrative) “need seeing but not an emergency” cases. That’s why client education, and simple client resources, are invaluable. If your clients (or at least, many of them) can access triage tools and client-level educational resources, you cut down inappropriate “emergency” calls, reassure your clients that they are getting the best possible service, maintain your client base and still make sure that any “not sures” or real emergencies get seen promptly and efficiently.
Traditionally, this was done by having a nurse or other staff member “holding” the phones OOH, and well trained receptionists during open hours. However, with an increasingly web-savvy client base, the idea of phoning someone up for information seems increasingly dated (and expensive to you!).
You’re probably familiar with the clients who consult Dr Google before consults, and the common pitfalls (clients are generally very good at using the internet for two things – persuading themselves that a minor self-limiting condition is something rare and potentially fatal, and convincing themselves that a potentially fatal problem will go away if they utilise a suitable quack remedy). When it comes to informing your clients, you need a resource that is reliable, reputable and – vitally – under your control.
That’s where we can help.
We can offer a range of online educational resources, including an automated triage tool. Not only can these reduce inappropriate and potentially time-wasting calls, we’d also expect them to increase the knowledgeability of your client base, boosting concordance and compliance across the board.
So, what have we got to offer?
Firstly, our Factsheets. These are a series of information sheets, written by our vets, and proofed by you before they go live. These get embedded on your website, and are available for your clients to look up details of common health conditions – what they are, what the symptoms are, diagnostic, treatment and prevention advice. We will even customise them to your specific requirements, if necessary. You can rely on the information, and so can your clients!
The second string are our vet blogs. These are written by vets and vet nurses (depending on the content), and are intended to look a little deeper into a particular issue – a disease, condition, treatment or intervention. Recent titles have included “Tick Bites – more dangerous than we realise”, “Blue-Green Algae – what does it mean for your dog?” and “Seven Suggestions for Summer – Keeping Cool and More”. Each blog you request will be written, uniquely, for your practice from a title you select, and can be updated and edited to reflect your client base and your practice’s clinical approach, resources and expertise. For a small additional fee, we’ll even email out newsletters built around the blogs to your clients, segmented by pet, age, or any other factor your choose.
Finally, there’s our Interactive Pet Symptom Checker, an online triage tool (you can try it out here). This is intended to direct clients to the most appropriate resolution for their pet health concern – home care, make an appointment in the next 12 hours, or call your vet urgently. It’s also designed to be “fail-safe” – if in doubt, it advises clients to call you immediately.
So, do you want better educated, more compliant clients, and fewer unnecessary calls? If so, give us a ring to talk about our packages!