I’ve been asked to create a number of podcasts for a friend’s business, which is called Carefree Credit. It turns out they like my blog and think I’ve something to add to their offering. Well, I’m flattered and of course I will because it’ll help me too. I’m writing them now and have even bought a fancy lavalier mic to ensure the sound quality is great. And that’s where my thought process for this blog started.
What are you doing for your clients to add value to their experience?
Carefree Credit works with veterinary practices to offer zero percent interest finance for pet owners. It’s simple, straightforward and offers a critically important payment option for veterinary practices. It’s an every day fact of life that in the course of offering the best of animal care we incur costs for the owners. We all know that vets aren’t great at communicating this properly and I’ve written before about the pros and cons of pet insurance. Most practices offer credit to owners accidentally in the form of bad debts and this is devastating for the practice finances. Adding a 0% interest payment option from an appropriately set up credit broker means you have three options for payments; pay now, payment plan or payment via insurance.
Using consumer credit for your clients should instantly simplify your bad debit management and significantly increase the accessibility of your veterinary care for owners.
So why do they need my help? Well, it turns out they want to add value for their partner practices. They already add value for their clinics in terms of cash flow and bad debit management or client options and client satisfaction, but they want to go further an demonstrate even more value. Why? Because they not only want to be a service provider, they want to be differentiated and critically they want their customers to succeed. Only then, will they succeed themselves.
For example, they have a list of practices whose clients come directly to them for a payment solution because their own practice doesn’t offer a payment plan. Imagine the value they could add to those practices, if only the practice concerned would work with them. Adding value with free content is part of their overall marketing plan. They have to go above and beyond with their offering to engage with these clinics. That’s where my podcasts in.
Looking at it from my perspective, why am I happy to help them and give away some of my content? It adds huge value to my business in terms of business development, introductions and PR. Clinics get some great free content and can see what I do, which should generate business leads for me. Everyone’s a winner!
So where are you with your added value proposition? How much time, energy and resource have you allocated to that? In the first instance it should be part of your annual marketing plan with a budget and it should have a calendar of activities against it.
Turning up and just being a vet is not good enough anymore.
However, it doesn’t mean that you the vet necessarily have to do it. Be the best clinician you can be. But it does mean that someone in the practice needs to have it as part of their job description or you have to outsource it.
Typically, added value items are free to consumer. They are used at the top of the marketing funnel to drive awareness, consideration or conversion to charged services. Alternatively they can wrap around paid for services, enhancing or supporting the use of the product. If nothing else they’re designed to stimulate an authentic conversation with a potential or actual consumer.
Here are a few hints and tips to adding value to your offering.
- Have a marketing plan for the year and start with a return on investment mindset. Technically, added value services are a Return on Marketing Investment (ROMI), in that they are classically given away and don’t generate a direct cash ROI. This is because their influence is felt in another way such as recommendation, net promotor score or satisfaction surveys.
- Map out the different elements of the marketing plan
- Decide which core elements you want to promote and budget for them
- Work with your team to allocate roles, responsibilities and accountability for each activity and each element
- Create a workflow for each marketing activities, with a time line or Gantt chart, key performance indicators and ROMI assessment. It doesn’t need to be complex, but it is an essential part of marketing planning.
- Chart the progress of the activity using the KPIs and ensure a consumer feedback loop to improve the offering over time.
- Keep a look out for local collaborators who could help you add value. If there’s a mutually beneficial opportunity, then it needn’t cost money as you help each other out.
By the way, it is possible to have an added value fail. That microphone I bought? The company’s free app that should enable my iPhone to use the mic properly hasn’t been updated since mid-2106 and therefore doesn’t recognize the latest mic. You would have thought that one of the worlds biggest microphone makers would have sorted that out wouldn’t you? If the conversation isn’t fulfilling or authentic, then your consumer engagement will be fleeting. Put it this way, that app didn’t last 5 minutes on my phone.
So what veterinary examples are there? Numerous is the answer and I bet you’re doing a bunch of them already.
- Nurse Clinics
- Weight management clinics
- Vaccine reminders
- Consumer newsletters
- Practice and website information sheets
- Telephone advice
- Medicine compliance programmes
If you don’t measure the ROMI, why are you bothering? If nothing else this week, reflect on what you do and consider whether they’re really adding value or whether they’re lost revenue or just poorly leveraged or measured.