Why Aren’t More Veterinary Practices Benefiting From Call Handling Services?
Ask any one with a cat, dog, or a particularly charismatic gerbil, and they will tell you their pet is part of the family. Imagine then if a human member of your family fell seriously ill and upon ringing 999 you were met with an answering machine. As ridiculous as this sounds, this is unfortunately the reality many people are faced with when they come home from work to find their pet in need of medical attention.
As many vets work standard office hours (save for one or two nights a week late surgery) for the majority of the time people are at home with their pet and likely to notice a problem, their vet isn’t there to respond. Not only can this be stressful and upsetting for owners, in this age of 24 hour email and social media it is an old fashioned way to do business.
Improve Word of Mouth Referral
As this research shows, the majority of veterinary practices in the UK rely on word of mouth referrals to create new customers. As word of mouth referral depends on a customer’s satisfaction and willingness to promote a business, improved customer service through extended call handling hours could give a practice the edge in their local area.
Now that most people have access to a car, they are no longer restricted to a vet within walking distance. This means pet owners will visit the best vet rather than the nearest one. The captive audience veterinary practices once had is almost none existent, and every practice in a given town is now competing for the same business. By offering the best customer service in the local area through 24 hour call handling, a practice could quickly become the most highly recommended group around.
How to Extend Call Answering Hours
Given the small number of receptionists and admin staff available to most veterinary practices, offering a round the clock call answering service isn’t always logistically possible in house. Only by outsourcing call handling would most veterinary practices be able to offer extended phone answering hours.
Taking into account the affordability and high quality of service provided by UK call centres, it is surprising more vets aren’t using a call handling service. A call handling service can take calls from pet owners around the clock and provide email alerts to practices to make call backs when the practice is open, or respond immediately in the most urgent cases.
This is beneficial to the customer as it provides valuable peace of mind that help is not far away for their well-loved pet, and it is great for practices too as it helps to prioritise the most urgent cases and provide a better overall level of customer service.
In an industry like the veterinary industry where word of mouth is everything, customer service is paramount. Any practice that can meet modern customer expectations of extended and convenient call answering times could quickly become the most highly recommended practice in their area.
Sue has 20 years’ industry experience and is the driving force behind a successful customer service team in charge of over 20,000 customer accounts.