Most developers are familiar with the growing human healthcare trend toward telehealth, but the reality is that veterinary practices are moving to virtual and contactless options as well. Even ISVs offering veterinary practice management software that boasts the most impressive configuration are finding that clinics are demanding more from the systems they choose. These days most vets are having pet owners wait in their car; this means no more paying at the checkout counter in person - which is probably all these practice managers have ever known. Oftentimes practice managers are now having to call out to the owner in the parking lot and ask them to give their credit card number over the phone. Think of how much more of a seamless process you could create within your software solution if your customers were able to send a text in real time for a customer to click to pay to enhance the pet owner’s overall experience.
Developers Must Think Like Practice Owners
Veterinary clinics - just like any other business - have short-, medium-, and long-term goals they want to reach. These are the goals they have in mind when evaluating practice management systems. Developers and ISVs must step into the shoes of practice owners in order to develop practice management software that meets these unique needs.
A practice owner may have plans to expand to multiple locations and need a system to centrally control data, billing, and payment information across locations. This will be a key consideration as she chooses a practice management software that will grow with her and the practice.
It’s also important to acknowledge that things like invoicing, billing, and data management are old hat for practice managers. Yes, they are essential, but owners are looking for cutting-edge tools that are going to help them grow, enable seamless eCommerce, mobile appointment booking, and help with client acquisition and engagement.
Data, in particular, is going to be an important factor. By enabling practice managers and other staff to access real-time information about their clients, they can make the customer experience more seamless and positive. What’s more, the ability to benchmark data about their own practice and use that to assess performance across locations or time frames is critical.
The ability to provide these capabilities requires APIs that can easily integrate with other providers to enhance and augment the suite of services. The more comprehensive the suite of tools is, the more it will ultimately attract veterinary practice clientele. Developers should also remember that if they’re not providing these features - or integrating with other vendors that can - their competitors are.
Key Purchase Points for Vet Clinics
Flexibility, automation, and simplicity are the watchwords when it comes to catering to the evolving needs of vet clinics. On a basic level, the following are must-haves for any practice management system:
- Security - Security is a top priority for all businesses today, given the frequency of breaches businesses are experiencing on a daily basis. Software providers must have a track record in securing networks, safeguarding data, and protecting software.
- Integration - Streamlining processes and automating record-keeping means enabling the flow of data across software and services that the practice may already be using. This means your software should easily integrate with other popular products and services.
- Support and Reputation - Software should be constantly improving, growing in capabilities, and undergoing regular performance enhancements. Additionally, clients will expect that ISVs (and their vendors) can offer excellent training and dependable support should any issues arise.
It’s also going to be about enhancing the clinic’s ability to best serve clients, which means offering additional functionality like:
- Payment Processing - Enabling clinics to offer multiple payment methods to their clients means helping them provide the best customer experience possible. Clients have expectations about how they can pay; when those expectations are met, it’s easier to collect payments on-time. Partnering with a vendor that facilitates secure payments via in-person (chip and swipe), online, phone, text-to-pay and mobile wallet options not only saves time and reduces human error but makes it easy to reconcile payments. The more robust the payment processing functionality, the easier it is for practices to set up and accept recurring payments automatically, interact with customers via electronic statements, and to automate reconciliation.
- Analysis & Insights - Clinics rely on analytics and insights to track progress and growth over time, to identify areas that need improvement, and to see where new opportunities may exist. The key is delivering critical and actionable information. This is a feature that accommodates both near- and long-term plans that a practice owner may have.
- Cross-Chain Performance - For practices or clinics that have multiple locations, providing insights into how multiple locations are performing comparatively in their respective markets can be the differentiator in a practice management system.
- Real-Time Consumer Information - One of the most important features a practice management system can provide is real-time information on clients that practices can use to improve the customer experience and better serve clients. Software should include the most cutting-edge technology that automatically puts client information into the hands of staff that need it, when they need it. This means providing key information about a client when they call, including balance owed, personal information, appointment times and history, and Smart-Caller ID.
By considering the needs of practice owners and enhancing software offerings with the newest technology - whether proprietary or through a vendor - developers and ISVs can ensure that their practice management systems will empower veterinary clinics to keep tails wagging. Contact us today to learn more.