Last week, we reviewed three fundamental features of the Business of Wellness. If you missed the post, you can find it here.
This week, we’re turning our attention to three additional features. As you compare the various wellness solutions available today, carefully examine the “business services” they provide and make sure they include these features.
Multi-dimensional pricing analysis
In the veterinary industry, “there’s a myth that you have to discount your services heavily to sell wellness plans,” observes Bob Richardson, president of VCP, a leading veterinary solution revolutionizing how wellness plan programs drive compliance, increase practice revenue, and build client relationships.
In reality, pricing needs to follow a measured approach, or as Richardson describes it, “discounting with a purpose.”
“There’s a process you go through — you don’t just jump to a number you ‘feel’ is a good number,” he explains.
The process begins with analyzing the prices of your nearest competitors and understanding the nature of how you compete with them. For example, community-brand practices can consistently charge more than big box competitors and do very well due to the nature of their relationship with clients.
To start, your pricing should be the retail value of your services divided by 12 (for an annual plan) – giving your client a discount with monthly payments. Then look at your program costs: payment processing costs, wellness program vendor costs, and bad debt allowance. With that in mind, compare your cost to your competitor’s cost and see where you land. You can either discount as a strategy to compete better, or you can add additional value to your plans to stand apart from the competition — and move beyond the issue of discounts.
You’ll compete more effectively if you pick a solution that allows you to easily add optional services to your plans — services that are added up front or during the term of the program — to tailor the plans to the specific pet. Common options are microchips, spay/neuters, dental, heartworm/flea/tick, and much more.
Apart from basic preventive care services, consider adding grooming, daycare, and boarding visits to your wellness plan program to add value, suggests Ron Nelson, vice president of operations with VCP.
“Think about how you can use those services, either as a promotion or a percentage off for a trial period, to not only grow that business, but to add value to your program that differentiates you from your competition,” he says.
Pricing warrants a deeper discussion, so look for more on the topic in an upcoming post.
Real-time data, visibility, and advanced dashboards
Once your wellness plan program is up and running, you’ll want to analyze its performance. Are you on track? Lagging behind your target? Have you even set a target?
With real-time visibility and dashboards, you can not only understand what’s going on with your wellness program, but also track and manage your progress against your goals.
“For example, if you’re trying to get from 3% practice penetration to 8%, you need a tool to help you monitor whether you’re on track or not,” Richardson explains.
Seek out solutions that allow you to set goals and establish incremental measurements to chart your progress against your goals. Ideally, the solution should provide an advanced analytics dashboard that works in tandem with the goal-tracking tools, allowing you to assess the performance of your wellness program across key metrics, such as:
- Is the discount I’m offering worth it?
- What’s the total spend per pet — wellness versus non-wellness pets?
- What months are my best months?
- What’s my renewal rate? (And how does it compare to the industry average)
- Is my new strategy working to increase renewals or not?
- What am I selling? (Am I doing more puppy plans than adult plans, etc.)
- How is my wellness program affecting the overall performance of my practice?
Your practice will likely have other indicators that you’ll want to keep tabs on as well.
Support for industry accounting standards to compare to similar practices
In a perfect world, you’d have insider information at your fingertips to see how veterinary practices like yours are doing so you can set reasonable goals for your practice and compare results with similar practices. In reality, VCP is the only wellness solution that gives you visibility into the performance of similar practices to help you establish valid benchmarks and goals.
This feature also allows you to validate your program goals with your staff. For example, VCP has found that employees are more inclined to buy into practice goals when you demonstrate that similar practices are achieving the goals you’ve established.
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this post — and in the previous one on the first three features of the Business of Wellness. Next week, we’ll turn our attention to the initial steps to take once you’ve decided to launch a wellness plan program.