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16th August 2023

Top 5 Ways to Increase Pet Health Plan Retention

female vet talking to cat owner in office

Meet James Tudor, our Head of Customer Excellence. He has been putting together health plans for more than a decade at Premier Vet Alliance and, well, he’s our resident expert.

James has helped construct, develop, and deliver consistent plans in Europe and North America, as well as oversee our popular Premier Vet Alliance Academy.

Let’s dive right in!

What’s your pet health plan elevator pitch?

A preventative pet health plan is a simple, affordable, and user-friendly monthly subscription service for premium preventative health care. They are bespoke, flexible and easy to set up, enabling you to deliver quality monthly healthcare to increase compliance and make pets healthier. A successful health plan set up is a win for the practice, pet and owner, and everyone knows it.  

Is there one top tip to running a successful pet health plan?

Many practices often focus on strategies that enable more pet owners to sign-up to their health plan. What most fail to realise is, the largest barrier to growing health plans is understanding why clients are cancelling. What I like to do is help practices employ three simple strategies that will keep pets on plan longer and boost your health plan penetration.

These are:

  1. Identify – Conduct regular health plan checks and analyse performance.
  2. Retain – Show them value.
  3. Win back – What’s your strategy to win them back, should they cancel?

What’s the main reason client’s cancel?

Most businesses fall into the trap that the majority of pet owners cancel because of pet death, rehoming or they can’t afford it, but this is simply not true.

We interviewed as many as 1,300 pet owners over the course of a few months to find out why they cancelled (other than when death was registered) and more than half could have been saved by better managing the client’s perception of the plan and the value of it to them.

What is a health plan check?

Just like any of the animals under your care, regular routine check-ups are important, your plan is no different. Left unchecked, your plan could be going badly, without you even knowing. 

I like to use the health check as an opportunity for you analyse, reflect and ensure your plan best meets the needs of your customers by assessing and creating a reactive action plan. I like the conduct this on a three-month basis and set a realistic goal based on 1-3 actions within your control such as ‘I want to save 10% of cancelations in the next 90 days.’

What areas are best to focus on?

I think it is important to focus on areas that you can influence directly and the factors behind them such as plan growth, specifically net growth and assessing sign-ups vs. cancelations and how they stack up. You also need to look at how you reinstate clients, what’s your win-back strategy?

What is one piece of advice you’d give to a practice experiencing retention issues?  

Every single client on plan joined for a reason. Don’t lose sight of this. The reason may differ but there is always one. Find out what it is and reinforce the value to them at every opportunity.

You’ve mentioned a win-back strategy, what should this include?

The fundamentals of the strategy should include the following framework:

  1. Talk – Reach out to your client using a 2-way communication tool such as our app or WhatsApp. The reason I say this rather than email or letter is you are more likely to get a response.
  2. Check – Ensure they know what they are cancelling, be sure to explain the benefits.
  3. Options – Give your client options to get back on the plan or make it easy for them to pay to exit.
  4. Easy payment – Linking to the last point, make this as natural as possible, online, apps or over the phone.
  5. Keep records – Some plan management systems allow for notes and others don’t, whatever you do, everyone who could deal with that client needs to understand what’s happening. 

What does a clinic risk by not having a health plan?

Research shows that from lost compliance you risk losing a guaranteed annualised income of £150,000 by not having a health plan in place, based on 600 pets on plan. It can also lead to difficulties securing client loyalty as they are not tied to your clinic. When you take the time to think of the lifetime value of a pet to your clinic outside of the health plan, the advantages are clear to see.  

“You risk losing a guaranteed annualised income of £150,000 by not having a health plan in place.”

James Tudor

Some vets set up their own health plan, what support does Premier Vet Alliance provide a practice?

I like to think of Premier Vet Alliance as an expert partner to help you maximise your plan. Not only do we provide the technology and systems to deliver your plan such as our app, our home delivery service or our digital sign-up tool, our advice and customer service can save you time and ultimately cost. Not to mention the training and support which gives you a blended learning experience with a business coach. We’re there to bounce ideas off you and support your practice to become a financial success and provide first class healthcare to increase compliance.

Lastly, if all else fails what’s your last question to a client looking to leave a plan?

I always use the ‘AWE question’ – AND WHAT ELSE. This is a very simple technique, but it helps you to get to the root cause of why they are leaving. Take the time to ask the questions, listen to the answers and then ask more until they’ve provided you with a reason you can either help them with to reinstate their plan or learn from it and make amends to save another client, sometime in the future!