Veterinary Wellness Plans or “Preventative Care Plans” are becoming more and more popular in our profession. If yours is a practice scrambling to figure out how to get a Veterinary Wellness Plan in place – or if you even should – consider this question:
Do your clients actually want or need a Veterinary Wellness Plan?
According to the data, clients aren’t visiting their veterinarians as often as they have in the past. But that data alone is not a good enough reason to create a plan. You need to understand what’s behind it. When did you last ask your clients about their veterinary care experience?Data says clients aren’t visiting their vets as much as they used to. Does this mean you need a Veterinary Wellness Plan? It depends on why they’re not visiting. Click To Tweet 
While you might already be surveying them on a regular basis to ask about their recent visit, consider taking your enquiry further by reaching out to 200 clients, including current clients and those who have not been in for a visit in a year or more.
Free online tools such as SurveyMonkey  can make it quick and easy for you to figure out what’s behind declining visits. Be sure to keep the survey short – 5 to 10 questions or so – and thank them for their feedback.
Sample survey questions to ask your clients:
- What services are most valuable to you and your pet?
- What could we do differently to improve your last experience at our practice?
- What additional services would you like to see us provide?
- What worries or concerns do you have about your pet?
- Are there any services or treatments you consider beneficial but do not pursue? And if so, why not?
- Do you have pet insurance?
- On a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 representing not at all and 10 representing very, how concerned are you about being able to afford quality veterinary care for your pet?
- On that same scale, how interested would you be in a Preventative Care Plan (or Veterinary Wellness Plan), offered by our practice, that allowed you to pay a small premium each month and receive discounts on pet care services such as physical exams, vaccines and dentistry services?
You’ll learn a lot from their responses, especially ones with sentiments like these:
I live on a fixed income, and I’d like to have a better idea of how much my dog’s annual visits are going to be so I can budget for it.
I think your veterinarians want to provide the best medical care for a pet, but we have limited means, and sometimes we feel badly that we can’t always afford what is recommended.
Considering the economy, I wish that veterinary care was more in line with my pocketbook. I need to be able to save money, but still feel like I’m doing what’s best for my pet.
I find myself stuck between caring appropriately for my pets on one side, and justifying to my spouse all the vet expenses on the other.
Responses like these suggest that your clients, and subsequently, your practice, could definitely benefit from introducing a Veterinary Wellness Plan. In an upcoming post, we’ll explore 5 keys to creating a successful plan. Until then, let the survey begin.
Brenda Tassava is veterinary consultant and veterinary conference speaker. She consults privately with veterinary practices around the U.S. Brenda can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .
This blog has been updated and was originally published on February 4, 2016.