In our previous blog, we looked closely at the metrics for the first 6 months of your program. Those metrics will increase and change as your program matures. While you will always continue to measure plan sales and monitor the messaging and recommendations made by your team members, in the second half of the first year of your program it is time to start looking at other areas to make sure your program is maximizing benefits for the practice and your patients.
Congratulations, you have been offering plans for 6 months, a habit has been instilled and your wellness program is part of the practice culture! By now you have been able to celebrate some successful outcomes due to early diagnosis and are starting to feel the benefits of additional spay/neuter and dentistry procedures. Clients are taking advantage of the additional examinations offered in your plan, are following through on resulting treatment recommendations.
While you will still need to focus on tracking the basics, it is time to start measuring how plans are increasing key service usage. For example, by now some of your initial enrollees should have begun redeeming spay/neuter surgeries, dentistry and diagnostics like blood work, radiographs, etc. What you need to determine is how many of these services are being performed monthly, how many of these are services are part of a plan versus purchased a la carte. From there, you can determine whether you are performing more of these services than previously, and whether that growth is attributable to the plans.
It’s also time to start tracking how many additional exams have been used (if you are offering these), and then take some time to review the medical records for these exams. What are they coming in for, are they accepting treatment recommended by the doctor, what is the average spend for these visits? If they have been clients at your practice prior to purchasing a plan, you can glance at their history and get a feel for whether they may or may not have come in as quickly without the additional exams offered in the plan.
Plan cancellations, and the reasons for those cancellations, are important to track. It is one thing if someone cancels a plan because they are moving or no longer have the pet, and something else altogether if people are wanting to cancel their plans because they are unhappy with the care they are receiving or feel they are not receiving value for the money they are spending.
New client numbers…has offering wellness plans increased your new clients? Are you using your plans to market to new clients? When new clients come in, are they purchasing plans? All of these are important areas to measure and understand so you can do more of what is working and make swift improvements where they are not.
Lastly, a word to the wise…as soon as you are 6 months into your plans, keep a close eye on whether pets are returning for their 2nd preventive care exam. If not, it is critical to work on pre-scheduling and reminder protocols immediately. The last thing you want is to have a bunch of pets with plans that are about to expire that haven’t redeemed their services; that ultimately leads to unhappy clients and a low renewal rate. Like it or not, ensuring that pets on plans make it in at least 2 times per year is the practice’s responsibility.
Long-Term – One Year and Beyond
Once you celebrate the 1-year anniversary of your wellness program, it is time to add the final set of metrics.
Watch your renewals very closely. Each month, measure the number of plans that are set to renew compared to how many that renew. Are there patterns you can see? Try to always get a reason for non-renewal so that you can figure out if you need to work on your messaging. For example, it is easy to sell a puppy plan, but much harder to convince someone to move to an adult plan the following year if you haven’t done a good job of emphasizing the importance of preventive care at all life stages. An 80-85% renewal rate is achievable, it just takes diligence (for more on this topic see our previous two blogs on renewal strategy and ‘churn’).
Drill down on service usage and determine the percentage increase in the number of key services performed as a result of wellness plans. For example, as a result of your plans how many more spays and neuters did you perform than during the prior year, and based on the plan price how much additional revenue did that bring in?
It’s also a good idea to see whether your active client number is increasing as a result of plans – it definitely should be! Regardless of whether you use 12, 14, or 16 months as your time span for what you consider to be an active client, you should definitely start to see this number increase. And what about drilling down to see the average number of visits per year for pets with a plan versus non-plan pets?
Then there is the information from your P&L that needs to be studied. Has revenue increased, and if so at a higher rate than before? How much of this can be contributed to plans? What about profitability? Have you been able to see more patients more often and perform more services without expenses increasing at the same rate? The answer should be a resounding “yes!”
Overwhelmed? Don’t Be!
While there are many areas to be measured, these grow over time, and once you get systems in place it will be easy to pull the data that you need. However, it is important to start at the very beginning and not wait until you are 6 months or a year into your program and have no clue whether or not you are achieving the goals you have set (or worse, you haven’t set any goals!). As the saying goes, “you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” and with an important program like this you want to make sure that it is achieving everything you had hoped for and more.