Increasing bookings and creating loyal customers

Kingsway Veterinary Centre is a veterinary clinic located in the northern suburbs of Perth, Western Australia. Part of the local community for many years, the three vet practice has treated thousands of cats, dogs, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds, and is known for providing sound advice and affordable services.

As an established business operating in a very competitive market, Kingsway’s biggest challenge is acquiring new customers and building loyalty across their existing customer base.

“Like most veterinary clinics, we deal with a mix of scheduled appointments and emergency visits. Our biggest challenge is convincing customers of the value of proactive preventative care – such as annual health checks, regular dental cleans and vaccinations,” says Danielle Simpson, Head Nurse at Kingsway.

Until recently, the practice sent out reminder letters in the mail to let customers know that their pet was due for a check-up or vaccination, followed by a phone call a month later. Finding this approach very time and labour intensive and not particularly effective, Kingsway was looking for a better way to encourage return visits and build customer loyalty.

After researching potential solutions, Kingsway migrated to VisionVPM practice management software solutions in late 2014.

“It was clear that VisionVPM could add significant value to our practice,” says Danielle. “It offered an efficient, effective and proven way to manage customer contact, build loyalty and grow our business. Importantly, it was very easy to use.”

Leveraging global research into customer loyalty, VisionVPM has been designed to drive customer loyalty by communicating with customers regularly using their preferred channel.

The most common communication a veterinary practice will have with its customers relates to reminders – VisionVPM allows clinics to manage this process via SMS and email reminders as well as more traditional methods such as mail.

With return visits acting as a key revenue driver for many veterinary clinics globally – loyal customers may comprise up to 80% of all consultations – increasing the frequency of these visits and reducing the incidence of ‘no shows’ is vital to practice financial performance and growth. An SMS reminder sent within 24 hours of the visit is a useful prompt for the customer and minimises appointment wastage for the clinic.

The average person checks their mobile phone 221 times each day (or once every 6.5 minutes) and 91% of smartphone users have their device within reach 24/7 – so it makes sense to use SMS and email as primary communication channels.

“It’s important to us that our customer experience is as personalised as possible, and that includes giving our customers control over how we contact them and the way that they respond to us,” says Danielle. “With SMS and email rapidly becoming preferred communication channels, particularly for younger customers, the benefits of VisionVPM were obvious.”

The team at Kingsway is now able to send reminder messages in minutes, saving hours of time and the costs of printing and postage.

“The marketing component in VisionVPM is great,” says Danielle. “It’s easy to use and sending out SMS reminders is hugely effective – often after sending an SMS I get a call back immediately. We’re certainly finding it a lot more successful than our old approach”.