Here’s a common scenario: It’s time for Fido’s annual dental cleaning, but the poor pup is under the weather. Your doctor informs the client to hold off a few weeks to do the dental cleaning for Fido, a wellness plan pet. By then, the wellness plan has expired — without the client using the dental cleaning.

Feeling short-changed, your pet owner gets upset, telling the doctor they intended to get the cleaning performed for their pet on schedule, but couldn’t because of his illness.

This scenario is a make-or-break situation in the relationship with that client, and one where your wellness solution can help or harm a client relationship.

Ideally, your wellness solution allows the practice to reach back into the previous plan year — to permit the client to use the dental cleaning they paid for, but didn’t use. This way, the client is happy, the pet is healthy, and practice is now seen as a trusted advisor — increasing loyalty and cementing the relationship with that client.

However, the unfortunate reality is many wellness solutions cannot handle complex renewal circumstances like the one in our example, along with other situations that practices routinely face. This means that the practice is doing things outside of the system to try to keep the customer happy, which leads to confusion down the road.

As a result, client relationships may suffer.

“This is an area where a solution with sophisticated renewal capabilities helps your practice stand out, allowing you to set the renewal wishes of the pet owner – e.g. new plan, additional services, not renewing single use services, etc. notes Bob Richardson, president of VCP, a leading veterinary solution revolutionizing how wellness plan programs drive compliance, increase practice revenue, and build client relationships.

The dental cleaning example is just one of many that practices may encounter with renewals of wellness plan pets. Most wellness solutions aren’t built to handle these everyday situations.

Here are a few more examples where basic automated renewal functionality falls flat:

  • Spay/neuter or microchip: It is important to be able to easily provide these options for pets at different ages, but these one-time items shouldn’t be auto-renewed the following year when the plan renews. But, something like heartworm/flea/tick medicine should be automatically renewed.
  • Services added mid-year: If preventives are added mid-year, the pet may only need 5 doses that year, but next year’s renewal should include 12 doses. The software needs to be smart enough to pro-rate the monthly payment for the mid-year plan change, but ALSO, recalculate the monthly rate in the following year when 12 doses are added in.
  • ‘Wellness plan price changes. You want them to go into effect on a specific date, but can you do that ahead of time? How do you make sure that existing pets on plans finish out the old year and renew to the new year’s plan? Your software should have renewal logic smart enough to deal with this condition.
  • Age-based renewals: Puppies and kittens, for example, should automatically renew to an adult plan

Other examples include situations where a pet is just a few weeks from the renewal date, and the client asks to renew early to forward-consume services. Advising the client to come back in a few weeks, after the start of next year’s wellness plan, because your solution can’t accommodate their request is not a recipe for a lasting client relationship. Conversely, accommodating their request, sets your practice apart, fostering loyalty.

Another common issue with renewals is deciding which staff members, or employee “roles,” are permitted to work with renewal exception cases. Most wellness solutions cannot assign renewal functions to specific team members or to track and log renewal activity to ensure staffers are following company policy.

Although renewals can create a surprising degree of complexity, the right solution simplifies the process for your team — by automating routine functions, such as age-based renewals and non-renewals, and handling sophisticated renewal instructions to accommodate pet owners’ requests.

Next week, we’ll continue our deep-dive series on wellness solutions by exploring more aspects of the Business of Wellness. If you missed our earlier post on the six goals of the Business of Wellness, look for it here.