Milliennials As Your Customers

millennial-buyers-words-home-sale-house-real-estate-sign-to-illustrate-advertise-generation-y-young-people-buying-54754193-90x90Millennials is the topic of our article in the January issue of Trends Magazine published by the American Animal Hospital Association.

We are sharing our thoughts on this topic with our blog readers in 8 easy-to-read chunks. In former blogs we described ten characteristics of Millennials that may help you in understanding these young people.

Also, in former blogs, we have discussed six dimensions that impact on how Millennials might play out as teammates in your practice.

In this blog we discuss three dimensions of Millennials that you may see played out in your clients.

You may ask, what kind of clients are these Millennials?

Data released by the research firm GfK during Global Pet Expo 2015 indicates that Millennials have embraced the “Pet Parent” trend and own pets at a rate higher than that of the Boomer generation. The research also suggests that among Millennials a significant number intend to own a pet in the future.

1. Millennial clients embrace technology.

Because Millennials embrace technology, practices have moved to reminding clients of appointments via text, sending a text when their prescription is ready, or sending updates and photos post-surgery. Clients also appreciate videos in the exam room to inform and education them on recommended procedures. These uses of technology benefit all clients, but it’s the Millennials who expect it.

Brad Brazell, director of global product management for Henry Schein Animal Health, has noted that communicating with Millennials effectively often involves an uncomfortable shift from the use of postcard reminders and booking appointments over the phone. Many practices are adopting tools, such as the Rapport client communications suite of tools in order to easily provide personalized communication via multiple channels depending on the preferences of the clients. Such tools address Millennials’ needs for efficient, speed, flexibility and convenience.

Even the reception area has gone high-tech. Remember the simple coffee pot that welcomed those who were waiting? Now it’s the “designer coffee machine” with 20 choices of tea, coffee or hot chocolate – all available at the push of a button.

Client engagement is made inviting and fun when the practice has a social media present, with health tips, animal photos, and special offers. Millennial staff will easily run it. Millennials are eager to log on to their veterinarians’ Facebook page to see cute animal photos and learn vital pet information in the process.

2. Some Millennial Clients are Short on Cash

In spite of their financial situation, Williams finds that it’s often the Millennials who are most apt to put their credit card down and say “yes” to a recommended procedure, while the Boomers typically want to go home and check their budget first. Why? Williams believes it is because the Millennials have so much information at their finger tips. They are quick to “google” the advice and understand the what and the why.

To address the real constraint on cash, practices are increasingly offering treatment options and third party financing to attract and serve Millennials. One vet tells of a young woman whom she describes as a “good pet owner” but who was strapped for cash while in graduate school. This vet made sure that she knew to ask about Care Credit as an option.

Bancroft Pet Hospitals (now owned by Mars) may have started it, but a growing number of veterinary practices are now also offering Wellness Plans in order to help Millennials – and others – manage their pet care costs. Hauser, with Debbie Boone, BS, CCS, CVPM, created The Veterinarian Guide to Healthy Pet Plans to help practices move in this direction. She points out that value-driven Millennials are known for finding a way to pay for what they think is important. They want good care for their pets and are prime candidates for a Wellness Plan. Putting their pet care into their monthly budget is like paying for their internet and cell phone each month.

3. Many Millennials Are Committed to Healthy Living.

Some clients are turning to the Internet to find products such as the natural flea and tick control products marketed by Wondercide, which produces products for those wanting to protect their pets without pesticides. Veterinary practices can inform clients through their social media platforms.

Tricia Montgomery created the K-9 Fitness Club in Chicago after she lost 130 lbs exercising with her dog. The Club inspires veterinary practices to encourage exercise to prevent heart disease and diabetes – which plague both clients and patients.

That’s it for today.

~ Carolyn and John


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