By now, you understand the value of generating excitement about wellness plan programs among existing and prospective clients. In our last post, we outlined how to create a groundswell of interest in wellness by incorporating the fundamentals of branding and marketing in your practice. If you missed the post, read it here.
In this post, we shift our focus to human capital. We mean educating your staff to make your wellness plan program part of your practice culture. Team members are unique, some are very outgoing, while others are often reserved. Your approach to marketing and how to position wellness plans should cover both of these personality types. No matter the personality type, each staff member has a role in promoting the benefits of wellness plans to pet owners.
Make sure your staff is a part of the process from the get-go, advises Jessica Lee, VCP’s director of veterinary solutions. Help your team understand that wellness plans — with written protocols, services tailored to pets by age and health condition, and monthly payment options — lead to higher compliance rates, and healthier pets.
Here we outline specific strategies to motivate your team and increase wellness plan signups.
In traditional marketing, they talk about push/pull strategies. Push refers to marketing tactics to build awareness and communicate a message. Pull strategies are tactics that get your clients to actively ask your team about wellness plans. Lee stresses the importance of making sure your clients are hearing about your wellness plan programs via multiple touchpoints. The first time they hear about your wellness plan program shouldn’t be in the exam room with the veterinarian, she adds.
Think of all the different messages you are hit with every day, “It takes multiple times to build awareness and to register,” she notes. “The starting point could be an email, a post on Facebook, or an on-hold message on the phone. When a client walks in, the receptionist talks about it at the front desk, and gives the client a brochure. Or maybe the client sees an “ask me about wellness” button your receptionist is wearing, and asks about the program. In reality, by the time they are in the room with the tech, they should already know what the program is.”
Touchpoints can include:
- Social media
- Banner ads
- On-hold messages
- Appointment reminder text messages
- Educational materials at the reception desk
- “Ask” Me buttons
- Email campaigns to the client base with a link to the website showcasing wellness information
- Postcards to your local community
- Countersigns at the front desk
After regularly working on the launch of new wellness plan programs, Lee has seen concerted marketing campaigns work effectively on multiple fronts. The campaigns not only prime clients to ask about wellness plans, but they also demonstrate to veterinary staff that pet owners are truly interested.
“Marketing campaigns can really drive a launch and ongoing success,” she says. “These campaigns educate pet owners and drive them to start the conversation regarding wellness plans when they call or come in for their visit. And, as an added benefit at launch, “this proves to the team that clients are interested in wellness plans,” she adds.
Then, by the time the vet meets with the pet owner in the exam room, “it’s a consultative conversation about picking the right plan and options for their pet,” says Lee.
Offer Team Incentives to Encourage Collective Effort
Backed by a sound strategy, incentives help to generate enthusiasm and keep your team motivated to share information with clients — and to educate them on the various offerings available with your wellness plan programs. To begin, set a reasonable monthly team goal, such as between seven and 12 wellness plans per FTE veterinarian per month.
Encourage your team to reach the goal with a simple incentive. The incentives you offer needn’t break the bank, but should help to shape the culture and build a habit. Lee worked recently with a practice put $5 in a pot for every plan they sold if they met their monthly goal. After six months, the practice had generated enough money to take the entire team and their families to a day at an amusement park. Lee says it was a win for the team — and the pets at that practice that reaped the health benefits of preventive care and other services.
Identify Wellness Champions
Find a person on your staff whose enthusiasm and desire to take on more responsibility makes them a natural fit for the role of a wellness champion. This individual can wear multiple hats. They can act as an in-house cheerleader for your wellness plan programs, and they can help manage your incentive program. It is important to invest in this person to make sure that they are properly trained with the skills to be the champion – marketing basics, staff motivation, tracking wellness program analytics and software workflow.
This champion also serves as a day-to-day model for other staff to emulate when discussing wellness plan programs with clients. Make sure that this staffer coordinates with the assigned resource for managing social media messages promoting your wellness plan program. If you can find multiple champions even better, especially if they have different responsibilities or focus on other services areas.
Create Employee Wellness Plans
Often, the most convincing people explaining the benefits of a product or service are the people who use the product or service themselves. Create specialized employee wellness plans that embody the services of what your practice provides to the employees (e.g. maybe 60% off of preventive care and 30% off other services). These programs help show the value of what you are providing to your employees, helps with tracking for tax purposes and gets employees very comfortable with the plans. While only a few of the wellness plan solutions offer this feature (segregated area for the plans, etc.), it is a very effective way of getting all employees to be ambassadors of your practice’s wellness plan program.
Share Healthcare Wins with the Team
Comprehensive wellness plan solutions offer the benefit of reports and more specifically, data analytics, allowing you to compare compliance among wellness pets to non-wellness pets. Industry figures show that well run wellness plan programs increase compliance while enhancing loyalty and growing revenue. If your practice is enjoying similar results, share that great news with your team.
When staffers see more pets are getting the recommended care — dental, preventive, chronic disease management, and more — they’re naturally more motivated to discuss your wellness plan program with clients. Their genuine excitement also makes them especially convincing ambassadors to share the benefits of your wellness plan programs with pet owners, especially if they are also on employee wellness plans.
Next week, we shift gears, turning our attention to the features of the Business of Wellness. The upcoming post will build on the five goals of the Business of Wellness we described here.