In our last post, we covered the six goals of the Practice of Wellness. If you missed the article, you can find it here.
In this post, we’re turning our attention to the features essential to achieve the six goals we described. Reaching these goals isn’t a slapdash proposition, but instead calls for deliberation, forethought, and planning.
We’re here to arm you with the knowledge you need to size up the various wellness solutions available in the marketplace today. We suggest using the following features as a checklist to rate solutions.
1. Comprehensive Software
The cornerstone of any wellness solution is its ability to scale with your practice, while addressing the unique needs of pets and owners. A complete wellness plan solution should, at a minimum, empower your practice to offer and manage customized preventive care plans and overall wellness programs.
Your solution should give you the ability to add optional services at enrollment, or at any point during the plan year, and manage multiple plans types (treatment, preventive care, boarding, etc.) for the same pet. Optional services have been proven to not only increase compliance with overall care of the pet, but also grow wellness plan revenue by 15-20%. For example, common options for an adult canine plan would be microchips, spay/neuter, heartworm/flea/tick, dental, and more.
2. Automated Renewals
The last thing you and your busy staff need is a wellness plan you have to babysit. Although renewals may sound easy, the renewal process is fraught with complexity. The reality is most solutions are ill-equipped to handle renewal issues that practices routinely face, ranging from adding preventive services mid-year to making sure a puppy renews as an adult dog, and not renewing plans with payment issues.
3. Recurring Billing and Recurring Payments
Most solutions offer a feature for recurring payments — moving funds from your client’s bank account to your business account — but stop short of providing functionality for recurring billing. Without recurring billing, your staff is saddled with the thankless task of sending payment reminders, calling and tracking down missed payments, keeping tabs on wellness account balances, and managing all aspects of missed payments from clients.
To avoid this headache, choose a wellness solution that automatically generates payment notification reminders and statements, manages missed payments, incorporates a full accounts receivable system, and provides a practice-branded customer portal so your pet owners can manage their account without hand-holding by your staff.
4. Comprehensive Payment and Missed Payment Management
As we noted, it’s inefficient to expect your staff to handle the time-consuming work of calling clients about missed payments. With over 10 million wellness payments under our belt in over 50% of US zip codes, Data shows that your initial missed payment rate could be between 6-8%. So, if you have 300 plans, you can expect 18-24 missed payments per month. (more information on recurring billing)
With a comprehensive payment management solution — one that includes a payment management process — you can proactively eliminate missed payments.
The right solution should automatically remind clients of upcoming payments, alert them to expired credit cards, and reattempt payments to fix issues that are temporary (balance limits, authorization holds, fraud alerts, etc.).
Better yet: a solution that makes payment management calls on your behalf. For example, VCP’s wellness plan program solution deploys professionals to call your clients beginning 8 days after a missed payment.
5. Automated Customer Communication
A solution providing automated communications is not merely a tool to empower your clients to take an active role in the wellness of their pets. Automated communications also help to set your practice apart from the competition by encouraging a personal bond with your client. This bond begins with the first automated welcome message and continues as the client builds a relationship with you and your staff through a practice-branded pet owner portal.
6. Beyond Preventive Care — to Differentiate Your Practice and Grow Client Relationships
Wellness plans offer a not-to-be-missed opportunity to promote additional services in your practice, such as grooming, boarding, holistic medicine, and more. The same software that provides comprehensive preventive care flexibility and functionality can also further your treatment protocols and incorporate more of the services and products you provide.
For example, chronic illness plans to service chronic pet health issues can help make pet care more affordable for clients. Club concepts can help grow your pharma business, food, and supplies. By thinking outside of the box, you can create training or hospice plans to further meet the needs of your clients.
Your wellness solution should allow you to capitalize on all of these opportunities — to boost client loyalty and improve overall pet care.
We’ve covered a lot of ground today. The bottom line? The right wellness solution frees you to concentrate on your chief goal — ensuring the well-being and longevity of pets.