Can you recall a positive memorable experience you’ve had when taking your pet to the vet? Or maybe positive experiences you’ve had at other establishments.
My friend, Pat, had been frequenting Larry’s Diner for years to meet her friends for coffee where she found a setting that was clean and comfortable with good coffee. But Starbucks opened across the street. There Pat found that Starbucks has discovered how to take a commodity like coffee and make her visit to the coffee shop an experience which drew her to return. With delicious food and beverage choices, WIFI, comfortable couches and the feeling of community, she found that she wanted to join her friends there and could stay for long periods.
After Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore published The Experience Economy, all sorts of businesses began to understand and the difference between selling a commodity or a service and selling an experience. Commodities are fungible, goods tangible and services intangible, but experiences are memorable.
That is the topic that we describe in our article, “The Experience That Makes the Difference,” appearing in the November, 2015 issue of Trends magazine, published by the American Animal Hospital Association. It addresses veterinary practices. If you are a client you may have observed your practice working to make your visit a positive experience.
What Brings Clients Back?
Whether it’s a coffee shop, Disneyland, or a human hospital or veterinary clinic, each business thrives on repeat business. The challenge is to create an experience that motivates clients to return.
Fred Lee was a hospital executive who became a Disney cast member in order to understand the Disney experience and how it might apply to hospital care. His insights, which are relevant to veterinary medicine, are recorded in his book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 ½ Things You Would Do Differently.
He speaks of competition, which is always a major concern for every business. He cautions practices, however, not to consider the hospital nearby as the competition. Rather, the competition is anyone the client compares to the practice. It might be the service received at the local hair salon; it might be the courtesy enjoyed at the local retailer. Or it might be the experience at the car dealership. Other vendors shape clients’ expectations.
So, veterinary practices (or any business ) must start by understanding what clients need and want and then build experiences – memorable experiences – that will cause them to return.
To read more about experiences that some veterinary hospitals have provided, watch for future blogs or read the entire article in Trends magazine.
That’s it for now.
Carolyn and John
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