Reverse the risk for your clients - Veterinary Practice
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Reverse the risk for your clients

Paul Green explains how offering potential new clients a guarantee of high quality service in your practice can help them decide to come to you.

It’s not
the clinical work so much as other
things that have made him unhappy.
It’s more that his expectations haven’t
been met. Maybe a vet said he would
call him at a specific time and didn’t.

What would you or your practice
manager do to fix this situation? It’s a
customer service issue. So you’d speak
to the client, let
them vent for
a bit, apologise
and make it
right, yes? This
is what most
practices would
do. And yet
very few of
them actually
advertise this

It’s a hallmark of being an
independent practice. Most
independents are so proud of what
they do, and so good at it, that it
wouldn’t occur to them not to fix a
customer service issue such as this.

This is what’s known as an invisible
guarantee. It’s something that the
business does automatically, yet never
shouts about it.

Guarantees are very, very powerful
things. They remove the perceived risk
of using a business for the first time.
That perceived risk is very real in most
buyers’ minds. It directly affects their

The risk is not so much one of
losing money, but rather the risk of
making a mistake. When people say
“but what if…” they’re telling you they
see a risk and it’s stopping them from
making a buying decision.

The big opportunity for your
practice is to reverse the risk – for you
to take on board the risk and make it
your problem, not the client’s problem.

Tesla, the electric car company led
by Elon Musk, understood this when it
launched its Model S just under three
years ago. People were comfortable
buying an expensive electric car, but
they had some perceived risks – the
biggest one being “what if there is no
market for second-hand Teslas in the

So Tesla introduced its Resale Value
Guarantee programme. It guaranteed
the resale value of the car for three
years from point of purchase. In fact,
in later versions of the programme, it guaranteed that the Tesla would
be worth more than competing
premium car brands, such as BMW and Mercedes.

It’s recently closed this
programme because it did what it was
supposed to: ensure there was a healthy
resale market for second-hand Teslas.
Now there is, the programme is not

When Whitbread created the Premier
Inn hotel chain through a merger and
rebrand of two chains, it wanted to
dramatically raise the perceived quality of budget

It invested
millions into
the room
quality; the
beds; and
ensuring there
was always
food available
on-site. But it realised that the greatest fear that
travellers had – the biggest risk that
made them hesitate when booking a
budget hotel – was “but what if I have
a bad night’s sleep?”

So they introduced the Good Night
Guarantee: “We’re so confident that
you’ll have a great night’s sleep that, if
you don’t, we’ll give you your money
back. Just speak to one of our friendly

Money back when we screw up
might work for a hotel. In fact it
has helped Premier Inn become the
leading budget hotel in the UK. In
your practice, I wouldn’t go anywhere
near money back. Yet you need to do
something. Few vets do this, so it will
give you a competitive advantage.

When someone is looking for a new
practice, there is the perceived risk of
it going wrong. If you can remove the
perceived risk of buying from you, you
will attract more new clients.

Guarantees work because when two
parties do business, there are always
uncertainties. That means one side
takes on most of the risk.

A guarantee says to your prospect:
“Hey, the risk’s on me. We believe in
what we do, and we stand behind the
claims we have made.”

In fact the first step for you in
addressing “but what if…” is to look
at your invisible guarantees. Think
about what your practice does already
to make sure clients are satisfied and
delighted, and then see if you can
formalise it. Write it down and make it
as easy to communicate as the Good
Night Guarantee.

Your guarantee should do four

  1. Assure your client that you believe in the quality of what you do.
  2. Spell out your terms and conditions
  3. Specify a generous time period for
  4. State what you will do if the client is

Here’s an example:

“We have the
friendliest and best customer service of any
vets in YourTown. If you’re not utterly
satisfied for any reason, just tell us within 24
hours of your visit and we’ll do everything in
our power to fix the problem.”

That’s your invisible guarantee,
turned into a formal guarantee;
something that puts into words just
how high the quality is inside your

Once you’ve formed a guarantee
like that, you should then put it
everywhere. It goes on your home
page; in your leaflets; printed on an
A6 poster that goes up in the waiting

A good guarantee does not just
reverse the risk for clients and
prospects. It also differentiates you
from all the other vets they could
choose from.

In a world of uneducated buyers,
making it less risky for them to pick
you means you will get more new

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