The Good, the bad and the ugly of Pet Health Plans
Top 5 pet health plan problems & solutions
At Premier Vet Alliance, we are passionate about Pet Health Plans. In fact, it is the cornerstone of our business, and we’ve supplied them to more than 2,300 practices and 1.8 million pets per year.
No Pet Health Plan is the same and we take the time to put together bespoke options, tailored to meet the needs and demands of any client.
Along the way we’ve encountered all sorts of different scenarios and queries and have an intimate knowledge of the good, the bad and the ugly of Pet Health Plans. We want to share with you the most common problems / questions we’ve experienced over the years and how we have resolved them.
The most common perceived problems with a pet health plan
- Churn – Why do people cancel?
- Staff Turnover & Motivation
- Compliance & Growing Client Loyalty
- Plan Re-Pricing
- Extra Admin
Problem #1: The Dreaded Churn
You’ve signed up ten new clients to a Pet Health Plan but five cancel within the first month or they cancel at the end of the first year because they do not see the value in the plan. Are they collecting product? Do they remember why they joined in the first place, or did they join because of an offer which has since lapsed?
You could choose to put this down to bad luck or attribute it to one of the many reasons out of your control such as pet death, rehoming or simply put, the owner can no longer afford preventative healthcare. BUT you do not have to adopt this thinking and roll over. You should ask yourself ‘how you can change this outcome?’
Consumers are known to check or question direct debits either monthly (as the fee comes out of their bank) or quarterly (in this case, when goods are collected/received) but they often only take the most drastic measure (cancelling) because said payment does not instantly demonstrate clear value for a set of goods or services.
In many cases, a large percentage of churn can be avoided by completing a few simple steps, AND if this fails, a clear win back strategy offers a final chance to keep your numbers healthy.
Solution #1: Communicate Value & Win Back Strategy
We conducted a survey of 1,300 pet owners, who had previously cancelled a Pet Health Plan, and found that as many as 54% could have been SAVED by either designing the plan differently or proving the plan’s value.
- Take the time to explain the benefits of a Pet Health Plan, beyond the simplicity of spreading the yearly cost of preventative healthcare, and conduct regular plan checks to ensure the existing set up still works for all parties.
- Demonstrate value by communicating exactly what the plan offers and how it is beneficial to them and their pet such as; nurse checks, nail clips, home delivery, discount on dental care or veterinary services.
- Email your clients regularly with reminders or use a two-way chat function on an app to increase your client engagement. You might think this is a drain on resource, but the time associated with winning new business, chasing debts or the effects of churn are a far greater loss for your practice than taking the time upfront to consolidate your clients.
- Don’t forget, you can always call upon a Premier Vet Alliance business coach for further advice on this topic and devise a win back strategy to not only stop the loss but improve growth and set your practice up for success.
Problem #2: Staff Turnover & Motivation
Your team is ever-changing, and you are worried that details of the Pet Health Plan will get lost in training or you don’t have time to teach new staff everything during onboarding.
On top of this, what’s the motivation for your staff to talk about health plans when urgent clinical work takes precedent along with the busy day-to-day practice management?
Ironically, your increased staff churn could contribute to an increase in plan churn (Problem #1).
Do not let this happen.
Solution #2: Training / Reporting
The short answer comes back to understanding the broader importance and value of a Pet Health Plan to your practice and ensuring it is properly featured in all onboarding – even if you feel you don’t have enough time.
Health Plan clients have been proven to spend two times more than a non-plan member in practice *, not to mention the potential lifetime value of just one client to your practice. Compliance is also drastically increased, meaning healthier pets and happier clients.
Use training tools such as the PVA Academy to teach your staff during onboarding, will help to alleviate time burdens, while coaching new team members on the broader benefits using measurement reports of previous success can help with motivation.
Problem #3: Compliance & Customer Bond
Pet Health Plans have shown to increase compliance from 30% to 67%. If you are reading this thinking ‘that’s not a problem, that’s a positive’. You are correct, to an extent.
However, you could also look at it from another point of view and highlight that 33% of your clients are not using the goods/services, which they are paying for.
This poses a problem to you, because it is only a matter of time before any one of those clients could cancel their direct debit owing to the fact, they are not receiving value for money i.e., they are not even collecting their product.
Solution #3: Increased Engagement
Similarly, to the importance of communicating value to keep clients on plan, increasing engagement with your clients enables you to increase compliance and build more loyalty, as they better understand the value proposition from them.
- Don’t think of engagements simply as face-to-face interactions either, conversations over an email, app or telephone keep you in mind but one of the best ways to increase compliance and therefore loyalty, is by adding home delivery to your plan.
- Research suggests that as many as 70% of pet owners DO NOT want to visit a practice unless they need to see a vet and by using home delivery your clients will receive four deliveries a year from you, increasing compliance from 67% to 100%.
- Combine this with in-person six-monthly checkups, clinic newsletter and additional marketing, you will be talking to them even more than before and drastically increasing your client lifetime.
Problem #4: Pet health plan Re-pricing
This is a problem for any business in challenging economic climates, walking an endless tightrope of risking churn through overpricing or losing critical revenue through under-pricing.
There is no one size fits all solution to this problem, but there is a handy checklist of questions to help you make a more informed decision.
Solution #4 – Annual Health Check
Circumstances change as well as plan usage and wholesaler price changes. To a degree, a customer buying any goods of services is understanding of increase, providing there is still a perceived value being driven from the proposition. Whether that be convenience, economic, emotional or performance.
By performing an annual health check, you can confirm whether value is being offered for both parties and whether a price increase is a viable and satisfactory option.
- The financials – Are you making money overall, where are you making money, what aspects should be tweaked?
- Performance trends – Looking at the past four quarters, where are the weak areas within that? Based on these trends, what is the prediction for the next four?
- Plan usage – How are people using the plan, is anything being under used, where is the plan driving the client behaviour?
- Plan content– Is the content still valid, is it missing something or has too much? What aspects appeal to the client and keep them engaged? Do you have feedback?
Problem #5 – Extra Admin
From signing up new customers to managing the plans/payments, and even chasing debt when plans are cancelled. This can feel like a burden but there is a quicker way, and we can assure you, the consistency of a health plan is worth it for everyone.
Solution #5 – Digital SignUp
No more lengthy forms using pen and paper.
Take as much of the admin load away from your team by allowing your client to take control via digital sign up. This can be accessed directly through your practice team, on social media or however a client chooses to receive the sign-up link.
Once registered, the detail is automatically uploaded into the portal where you can manage the plan. The portal has been designed with practices in mind, so you can manage payments, identify key information, and communicate with your clients with a couple of clicks.
Our business coaches offer regular training on the platform too!
It is no coincidence that we have legitimate solutions to the top 5 problems associated with a pet health plan. We constantly scrutinise how we can offer a better service to practices and deliver first-class preventative healthcare.
You want your health plan to run seamlessly in the background and we are here to help. If you’d like to speak to one of our business coaches about how a health plan could work for your practice or even to discuss an existing problem, please contact us HERE.
In case you missed it. Check out our other blogs HERE.