This two-part series presents ideas for upgrading your strategic plan to help your practice achieve success today and into the future. Part one of this series addressed access to care. In part two, the focus will be on ways to improve the experience of your clients when they deal with your practice, as well as the experience of your team members as they perform their duties. Both should be a priority in your practice’s strategic plan.

Whether you do a formal SWOT analysis or jot down plans for the upcoming year, every business wants to map out a plan for success. For most Veterinary practices, goals such as seeing more patients, improving revenue, reducing expenses, achieving a specific EBIDTA, expanding medical services, or hiring more team members will help in the effort to have a successful Veterinary business. However, the business landscape is changing with e-commerce, remote work, and new technologies. In addition, consumer preferences and behaviors create new demands on the business. All of these should factor into your strategic plan for future business success.

It is hard enough to formulate a strategic plan based on years of standard operating procedures; it is even harder to “read the tea leaves” and know what actions will bring success over the next few years. Instead of conducting a massive overhaul of the business or sticking to the same plan of years past, target two specific issues in your next strategic plan critical for success in today’s business landscape – access and the experience of your clients and team.

The Client Experience

How hard is it to do business with you? How many hoops do your clients jump through to get an appointment, a medication refill, or speak with their pet’s veterinarian? A common problem with any business is bureaucratic creep. In other words, “our policy is . . .” Often, a policy becomes bogged down with steps that are no longer necessary or could be handled more efficiently. Although it hurts to admit it, clients today judge the Veterinary experience by comparing it to that of other businesses, such as Amazon or their physicians. In addition to the online appointment booking, your strategic plan to improve the client experience should include the following:

  • Mobile Apps and Digital Health Records – User-friendly websites and apps allow clients to access their pets’ medical information, vaccination history, and appointment schedules from their smartphones whenever they want (and without tying up clinic phone lines). Strive for a consistent and seamless experience across all touchpoints (website, social media, mobile app, etc.) to make the client’s experience worthy of a five-star review.
  • Transparency – Nothing kills a client relationship faster than sticker shock. Tear a page from the strategic playbook of your competitors who post fees online for clients to see. Include educational information to enhance the client’s understanding of the medical services (and guide them to ask your team instead of Dr. Google).
  • Community and Online Support Groups – Connect with your clients via social media groups. Create pet communities focusing on pet health and Veterinary care to provide clients with a space to discuss concerns, seek advice, and share experiences. For example, your practice creates a Facebook group of clients with diabetic pets. Clients are encouraged to share experiences and discuss information. Assign a few key members of your team to serve as administrators to step into the conversation as needed.
  • Personalization – Shift the focus from the disease to shared decision-making between your team and the client. Develop treatment plans tailored to the unique needs of the pet and the client.
  • E-Commerce – Enhance the client experience by offering convenience, accessibility, and personalized services. It is okay to refer a client to Chewy. You will benefit by focusing on your professional services.
  • Communication Channels – Improve communications through integrated chat or messaging features that enable clients to communicate directly with your team. They do not have to be live. Asynchronous communications can help your team manage its time. This is just like texting a friend; you do not expect to necessarily hear back immediately.

Enhancing the client experience must be an ongoing effort to understand the needs of your clients and a commitment to delivering value at every touchpoint. The payoff is differentiating your brand and fostering client loyalty – both are huge benefits in today’s competitive landscape. But don’t stop there; look at your team’s experience and formulate a strategic plan to improve efficiency and job satisfaction.

The Team’s Experience

Improving the work experience for your team is essential for enhancing morale, productivity, and overall business success. Consider what it takes to create a positive and engaging work environment (e.g., clear communication, empowerment, autonomy, and work/life balance) and take advantage of technology to improve those factors.

  • Generative AI, APPS, and Platforms – AI provides many opportunities to improve the efficiency and overall work environment. Online appointment booking and a Virtual Vet Nurse-Technician ( can engage and assist clients 24/7 and reduce incoming calls, allowing the team to focus on providing care to pets. Other uses for AI technology that can help the team include radiographic interpretations, laboratory diagnostics, customized treatment plans, client communications, and automated administrative tasks such as reminder notifications and billing. Adding a feature to your PIMS that “listens” to the exam room conversation and writes medical notes into your PIMS lessens the need to stay after hours to complete medical records (see
  • Flexibility – Job descriptions for the future should include remote and hybrid options. You do not have to lose a valuable team member due to relocation. Having someone work from home and communicate with clients, conduct virtual visits, or document remote patient monitoring data is well within reason and may help your practice attract and retain critical talent.

By prioritizing the team’s work experience, your business can create a positive and engaging workplace that attracts and retains talented individuals. Tailor your strategies to your practice’s unique culture and the needs of your team members.

For ideas, look at de Novo and alternate care models that are breaking from the traditional Veterinary business model to provide access to care and a great Veterinary experience in innovative ways (e.g., PetFolk, Modern Animal, Sploot Veterinary Care, BondVet, and BoosterPet). A strategic plan that involves a non-traditional business model gives clients a different experience in accessing care and partnering with the Veterinary team. Whereas the traditional Veterinary model relied on phone calls, limited office hours, and in-person visits, today’s innovative business model includes greater access to care, virtual care, remote teams, membership plans, apps, technology, and other methods of delivering Veterinary care.

Creating an innovative strategic plan for access to care and a great experience may be challenging. Don’t go it alone; seek professional advice and talk to a Veterinary consultant to help you sort through your goals and plan a course of action. You can find a consultant at

In case you are sitting on the fence and wondering if your business model needs to prioritize access and experience, consider these words of wisdom from Stephen Covey, “Almost every significant breakthrough is the result of a courageous break with traditional ways of thinking.” What if your strategic plan to improve access to care and enhance the Veterinary experience resulted in a better work/life balance or happier team members? What if it increased client attraction and retention? Why risk losing out on business success because it doesn’t fit the traditional business model? Take action and formulate your strategic plan using innovative ideas.

In closing, please seek professional advice and talk to a Veterinary consultant to help you sort through your goals, key practice numbers, and client demographics to plan a course of action. You can find a consultant at