Written By: Shanon Midford- Community Veterinary Partners: Marketing Manager
In today’s world, if you aren’t actively on social media you could be missing out on a large potential audience. One of the greatest things that social media has done is break down walls between companies and their clients. In September of this year, Facebook reported an average of 864 million daily active users and Twitter reported 284 million monthly active users. Your clients are on social media and you should be too! Here are some tips for implementing an effective social media presence online.
Creating or Re-Launching Your Page:
If you don’t have a social media page for your hospital you definitely should. Or, if you do but it hasn’t been posted to very often, it’s time to re-launch! Before creating or re-launching your page make sure to assign someone in your hospital to oversee it as well as a backup. A social media page is great way to communicate with clients but you can create a bad experience by having an outdated page or worse, unanswered client questions. I’ve seen many veterinary hospital pages that haven’t been posted to in 6 months to a year. If no one is going to manage the page, the clients won’t want to follow it. Make sure notifications from the page go to both of the page managers and that it is checked twice a day.
Posting To Your Page:
A good idea is to come up with a weekly schedule for posts. Posting should be relevant and of interest to your clients. You don’t want to post too often which can annoy the client causing them to unfollow your page.
A good balance is to post about three times a week and have a variety of post types.
Promotions or Events: Post about any specials, promotions or events that are currently going on at the hospital.
Holidays and Days of Observance: Highlight a holiday or pet specific day. You can find a list of these here:
Client photos: Take photos when your clients come in and if they give permission post them to the page. Clients love seeing their pets or pets they know online.
Pets up for adoption: Highlight a pet at a local shelter that is up for adoption to help spread the word and support your local shelters.
New improvements at the hospital: If you are improving things at the hospital let you clients know about it! If you have a new ultrasound machine, take a photo of the staff using it on an animal.
Local community events: If there is a community event that a local shelter is having let your clients know about it. Doing this will encourage the shelters to highlight events that your hospital is having.
Let Your Clients Know About Your Pages:
Once your page is up and running it’s time to let your clients know! Email your clients and invite them to like and follow your pages. Most email programs will even allow you to even include a button to your pages so the clients can click through. Also, add a link to your website and even include a sign in your hospital.
Responding to Comments, Client Messages and Reviews:
As your hospital’s social media presence grows, you will see existing clients as well as potential clients commenting with questions about services and events. You will also receive comments thanking you and your staff for great service. With efficient monitoring of your pages, you can reply to these clients within a few hours (That is why it’s important to check twice a day). Even a simple ‘Like’ on a client’s comment or commenting back with something like “It was great seeing Fluffy today!” makes them feel valued and cared about.
While positive comments are very common, you will sometimes get negative comments or reviews on your page. Read our blog about how to respond to these HERE.
We are thrilled to announce that we’ve grown our family to include the great state of Virginia. Two new hospitals joined Community Veterinary Partners earlier this year.
Crossroads Animal Care Center was founded by Dr. Olson in 1998 and is staffed with three veterinarians with over 30 years of combined experience. Treatment of pets is done with compassion and takes into consideration the individual needs of the pet and family. Dr. Olson is, “so excited to be the first hospital in Virginia to join CVP. It brought back the same emotions as when I started Crossroads so many years ago.” Before founding CACC, Dr. Olson earned his DVM from Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech (VMRCVM). He has a special interest in ultrasound and has completed more than 10 advanced training courses, accumulating over 200 hours of continuing education in ultrasound.
“Crossroads is aptly named – it was our first hospital in Virginia, helping us continue the expansion of Community Veterinary Partners,” said Michael Raphael, chairman of CVP Hospitals. “Dr. Kent Olson and his colleagues have a superior reputation and a great family community. We’re excited to learn more about the Old Dominion State from the Crossroads’ team.
Great Falls Animal Hospital was started in 1963 and in 1982 was purchased by Drs. Richard Henshaw and William Goldsmith. “Great Falls has been one of the leading veterinary hospitals in Northern Virginia for a long time. CVP is thrilled to have them join us and we are particularly delighted to be working with Dr. Rick Henshaw and Dr. Bill Goldsmith,” Said CVP Chairman Daniel Eisenstadt.
Dr. Henshaw has been at Great Falls since he volunteered as a teenager. Before joining as a veterinarian, he received his DVM degree from the University of Georgia. Dr. Goldsmith was a competitive swimmer in both high school and college and graduated from Ohio State University with his DVM. “We are very pleased with the professional relationship that has developed between Great Falls Animal Hospital and CVP. It was time for us to secure the value we had accumulated in 35 years of practice ownership. We felt that CVP would maintain our high levels of care and take good care of our treasured clients and patients. In addition, their management assistance has taken the burden of day to day operations off our shoulders. We could not be happier with our choice.” Said Dr. Henshaw and Dr. Goldsmith.
Community Veterinary Partners is pleased to announce the addition of Greenfields Veterinary Associates to our family.
Greenfields Veterinary Associates has a proud 53-year history of serving southern New Jersey and has been voted Best of Gloucester County. Its compassionate and experienced team of doctors includes Dr. Nina Beyer, Dr. Caroline Lafferty, Dr. Yasmin Mahmood, and Dr. Christopher Salerno.
Dr. Beyer knew from age 12 that she wanted to be a veterinarian, and in 1999 she became a partner at Greenfields. In 2006 she became the sole owner and is eager to be starting the next chapter for her hospital.
“I am thrilled to be able to join the CVP family; this is the next step in our development as a leading practice in the area,” shares Dr. Beyer. After graduating from Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Beyer went to the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine to attain her VMD degree. Since then she has become involved in greyhound rescues and has spayed and neutered and cleaned teeth for hundreds of greyhounds on their way to new homes.
“I’m so excited that Greenfields is now part of CVP,” said Michael Raphael, chairman of the hospital group at CVP. “Dr. Nina Beyer is a special veterinarian and person. She has shown strong leadership skills in developing her technical and support staff. The bond in their family is very tight and it extends to their clients as well.”
Greenfields Veterinary Associates is equipped with the latest in equipment and technology and provides wellness care, surgery, dentistry, and emergency care as well as alternative care such as acupuncture and laser therapy.
Written By: Brad Reiss, Practice Manager, Manhattan Cat Specialists
Many veterinary hospitals do not offer house-calls or in-home veterinary services and wonder whether or not it is the right choice for their practice. Manhattan Cat Specialists, a CVP Partner Hospital, offers house calls. Owner, Arnold Plotnick, MS, DVM, ACVIM, a veterinarian & feline expert for over 30 years, believes there a number of reasons for offering house calls:
Some cats get so nervous on the trip to the vet that they urinate, defecate, or vomit (or all three!) in their carrier on the way to (or from) the office.
Some cats who are normally very well-behaved at home become very agitated and aggressive once they enter the veterinary office.
Some cats, with their sixth sense, know that a veterinary visit is imminent, and they hide under the bed or the couch, making their capture and transport to the office an ordeal for the client.
Many of clients have multiple cats, and bringing two, or three, or five (or seven…) cats to the office becomes a logistical nightmare.
As our feline population ages, clients are aging right along with them, and some elderly clients find it increasingly difficult to bring their cat to the office.
Many owners would like their terminally ill cats to be euthanized in their own home when the time comes.
For these reasons, Manhattan Cat Specialists decided to provide house calls and in-home veterinary services in order to meet the needs of their clients.
When a client makes an appointment for a house call, Dr. Plotnick and a veterinary technician visit the home with the necessary equipment and medical supplies in order to duplicate the type of visit the cat would receive at the hospital. This includes a complete physical examination, blood and urine collection for lab analysis if necessary, vaccinations, microchipping, feline leukemia and FIV testing, blood typing, subcutaneous fluid administration, ear cleaning, claw trimming, blood pressure measurement, application of Soft Paws, and many other procedures.
And of course, when the time is appropriate, euthanasia can be performed in a gentle, compassionate manner at home. Manhattan Cats will also take care of the cremation arrangements.
It’s important to let clients know which home procedures cannot be performed in the home, for example, x-rays and surgery. After the examination, if it is determined that a cat needs these or other advanced diagnostic procedures, or needs to be admitted to the hospital, transportation for the cat to the hospital will be arranged. Life threatening emergencies cannot wait, and should not be scheduled for house calls. Cats who are having difficulty breathing, are having seizures, are unconscious, or are bleeding uncontrollably should be brought to the practice immediately, or to an emergency hospital if it is after hours.
To know whether offering house calls is right for your veterinary hospital, it’s a good idea to survey clients. Those with multiple or difficult pets may be the top clients to take advantage of this service. Especially if no other animal hospitals are doing house calls in the area, you may increase your client base as well as current pet visits.
To learn more about Manhattan Cat Specialists visit their website HERE.
Written By: Brian Miller, Receptionist and Social Media Specialist, Liverpool Animal Health Center
Working as a receptionist at Liverpool Animal Health Center provides me with a unique opportunity to gain perspective that may not be as apparent within other departments of the hospital. Aside from witnessing the comings and goings of virtually every pet and owner that walks through our doors, I am also constantly answering phone calls. At least once a day, and usually more, I will receive a call from someone who believes that they are reaching one of the other local hospitals. This, in large part, is due to the fact that there are two other hospitals located on the same stretch of road that we are, and these offices each begin with the word “Liverpool.”
The mere fact that there are other offices within such close proximity to ours means that it is imperative to not only provide the best care possible, but also to make each experience rewarding and educational. It also means that we need to find a way to separate ourselves from our competition by providing services that allow us to rise above the rest. In these areas, LAHC excels, serving as one of the few offices in the Central New York region that treats wildlife patients and non-traditional (exotic) pets.
When Jean and Lenny Soprano founded Kindred Kingdoms Wildlife Rehabilitation Center in 1989, they were initially met with resistance when they set out to find a local veterinary practice that would treat wildlife animals that needed a doctor’s care. According to Ms. Soprano, “Even though practices used wildlife rehabilitators when their clients called about an injured or orphaned wildlife species, they would not treat the animal or allow their clients to bring them into their offices.” Fortunately for the injured patients and for the Soprano’s, Liverpool Animal Health Center was eager to help. Practice owner Dr. David Clegg, as well as the doctors that were here at the hospital when Kindred Kingdoms was founded, were really interested in helping out these wildlife patients. “It all started because there was a need, and we were able to fit that need,” according to Dr. Clegg.
In their early days, Kindred Kingdoms helped rehabilitate a seemingly endless variety of species. Now, they focus primarily on birds of prey (although they still care for baby bears in an enclosure that is completely devoid of human interaction.) This works well for our doctors and patients, because it ensures that rabies vector species are not coming into the hospital for care. When asked what species she has needed veterinary care for, Ms. Soprano lists: coopers hawks, sharp shinned hawks, redtails, rough-leggeds, kestrels, merlins, screech owls, barred owls, great horned owls, saw-whet owls, snow owls, turkey vultures, osprey and Bald Eagles. “LAHC provides us with complete diagnostic care, which includes x-rays, blood work, and eye exams,” says Ms. Soprano. “The radiographs ascertain what fractures are present, and whether or not the animal has been shot, swallowed fish hooks, or has any other foreign body internally. Blood analysis determines heavy metal toxicity, red and white blood cell counts, PCV etc. This allows us to choose the proper medication for the animal. A thorough eye exam may reveal retinal detachment, blood in the eye, and corneal or lens damage.” “The relationship is mutually beneficial,” says Dr. Clegg, “we help provide them with care for their rehab patients, and when they are out doing their demonstrations, when asked, they let people know that the animals are cared for by Liverpool Animal Health Center. This is some of the best marketing we can ever have. They are great people to work with.”
Currently, Dr. Marla Lender and Dr. Nicholas Wolfer are the two veterinarians at LAHC who care for the wildlife patients. “The number of cases rehabilitators handle is huge, and many of the animals they accept have terrible injuries or illnesses,” says Dr. Wolfer. He goes on to say that “In situations of toxicities, fractures, neurologic damage and eye damage, it often requires the facilities (laboratory, radiographs, etc.) and expertise of a veterinarian working in conjunction with the rehabilitator to determine an animal’s prognosis, and to guide treatment.” Dr. Lender adds, “Illness and injury among wild animals is frequently the result of indirect contact with humans. We commonly see animals that are injured by gunshot, traps, fishing hooks or lines, toxins, motor vehicles, electrical wires, and our pets. While it would be best to prevent these sorts of injuries, I do believe we have an obligation to take care of the world we live in and the creatures we share it with. Providing veterinary care to injured wild animals is one way in which veterinarians can do that.”
Dr. Wolfer and Dr. Lender not only see wildlife patients in conjunction with their regular case load, but also exotic pets as well. They are not the only doctors who have seen exotic patients within the practice, however. According to Dr. Clegg, Liverpool Animal Health Center has been attending to the needs of these patients from the time the hospital opened its doors, although “The volume, incidents, and frequency of visits is much greater now than it used to be.” When asked for the reason for this, Dr. Clegg says, “I think it is because we now have doctors who are very interested in and have further knowledge of the exotic world, which allows us to give proper care. Although our doctors are not specialists, we try to provide the best possible care we can.” He goes on to say, “All veterinarians are in the business to help animals, but treatment of exotic pets has gotten more specific and refined over the years. Long ago, most doctors would see exotic patients whereas now, it is done primarily by doctors who have an interest and passion in treating them. These doctors are now more educated, have better knowledge, and possess the ability to better care for these non-traditional companions.” This is illustrated by the fact that Dr. Wolfer and Dr. Lender both took elective courses and clinical rotations focused on exotics and wildlife at Cornell University. They also learned about treatment of exotics through other veterinarians in practice, clinical experience, written resources, and continuing education.
Both Dr. Wolfer and Dr. Lender feel that it is vital for our hospital to provide care for exotic pets. “They are an underserved group of patients, and in many ways, their owners are underserved as well,” states Dr. Wolfer. “They are often purchased on impulse, and the owners are given little or incorrect information on proper care. Consequently, the majority of the disorders we see are due primarily to poor husbandry conditions that could be easily avoided or corrected.” Much like the Soprano’s found difficulty in finding a practice that would assist with wildlife, owners of exotic pets often have difficulty finding a doctor that is willing to see their pet. Because of this, it puts these pets at a disadvantage. This is one of the driving forces behind Dr. Lender’s decision to treat exotic pets. “When I learned of the challenge people have in finding veterinary care for exotic pets and of the rampant misinformation people receive from pet stores, breeders, and the internet, I felt a responsibility to do my part to educate and assist them, with the goal of improving the quality of life of the animals.”
Stayed tuned for my next blog around how we work with government agency dogs in the area!
In collaboration with the Delaware Valley Academy of Veterinary Medicine, Community Veterinary Partners is pleased to host the 4th Annual Member Network Practice Owners & Managers Summit.
When: Sunday, November 8th 2015 10am to 4pm
Where: Seasons 52 Restaurant 160 North Gulph Road #101 King of Prussia, PA
Please mark your calendars and join us for a day of small business strategy as we tackle many of the common issues facing our practices. Open to owners, managers, and key associates, this day long workshop is dedicated to supporting the success of the independent practice titled: “Strategic Planning for Success in 2016”.
With all of the headaches associated with running a small business, it’s hard to think beyond the short term. But if we really want to remain competitive, exceed our clients’ expectations and stay ahead of the industry, it requires a business owner to dedicate time to planning the path to growth.
Key business decisions face every practice-
– Can I afford another associate?
– What new equipment should I invest in?
– How am I going to compete with a new low-cost competitor?
– How can I make sure I can afford to expand my building?
This one-day session is dedicated to the process of practical business planning. Facilitated by the leadership from the CVP operations and business support team, attendees will work through the process of identifying and prioritizing the most important threats, opportunities, and local market dynamics to ensure their businesses thrive in the coming years.
Who’s Invited? DVM/VMD and/or managers of practices in good standing of either the PVMA or DVAVM. Because of space limitations created by our small group setting, we request that practices limit registrants to 3 members.
How Do I Register? Registration is free for members of the Delaware Valley Academy but space is limited to 60 guests for each program. To register, please email your name and contact information to Dr. Travis Meredith email@example.com .
Will you be attending the Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference this week? If so, stop by and see us at booth #125 to chat with someone from Community Veterinary Partners. Also, you can enter to win a FREE iPad! We’ll see you there!
“I’d like to continue practicing, but it is going to take a miracle to keep my license,” he said in a letter to clients. “I don’t feel I can conform to their request… there is a lot in the settlement that I don’t feel right about.”
For Veterinary Students the Hardest Lessons of All is Saying Goodbye
Euthanasia is one of the most common procedures veterinarians perform, and some individual doctors put more than 100 of their patients to death each year. Experts say that can exact an indelible psychological toll. And now college programs training future veterinarians are paying special attention to the emotional aspects of death.
Ninety-five percent of dogs exposed to Lyme disease do not have symptoms, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). And according to a recent study, their immune systems may be tricked into not launching a full-blown response or developing lasting immunity to the disease.
Forum: Lyme disease a continual issue in dogs, and humans
Lyme disease is diagnosed more readily and responded to differently in animal health compared to human health. Two veterinarians and two experts on tick-borne disease in people spoke on Sept. 10 at an unusual forum in Syracuse, N.Y. It was unusual because it is rare for medical professionals on the animal and human side to share information on the same stage.
Veterinary documentary featured at film festivals
What began as a graduate student’s film project has blossomed into a critically acclaimed documentary about a larger-than-life veterinarian in pursuit of his passions: animal health and community outreach. New York Vet follows Long Island veterinarian Dr. John Charos throughout his daily life operating a chain of practices and volunteering to prevent animal abuse.
We’ve been seeing strong growth at our hospitals, but the data out of California is truly remarkable. A new survey shows almost 10 percent growth in August. Some of it is due to price increases, but even adjusting for that, the growth is impressive. In our family of 16 hospitals along the Mid Atlantic, all but one has grown revenue this year. It’s been a mix of initiatives contributing to the increases: new services, improved client communication, marketing initiatives.
What is driving revenue growth at your hospital? Comment at our website.
Earlier this month the AVMA cut short its America’s Favorite Veterinarian contest. The reason at the time was “cyber bullying.” But VIN has taken a closer look at the decision and finds more at work than just a few online activists.
“It was frustrating,” said Dr.Christy Layton, a contestant. “To be able to name yourself America’s Favorite Veterinarian is a great way validate the care and compassion we give to animals every single day. We had put in hours and hours of work, creating a Facebook page, promoting that page. We had 700 likes and a lot of followers. We bought a banner for the hospital… and the effort was void.”
The Top Story
Debate Brews about Reasons AVMA Cancels America’s Favorite Vet Contest
Two weeks after the American Veterinary Medical Foundation abruptly ended a national contest due to cyberbullying, contestants are speaking out about how they unwittingly got snagged in the hot-button issue of declawing.
Each fiscal quarter, CVP Member Network hospitals share their financial results with us. We ask them to do this so we can compile a benchmarking report. In the second quarter of 2015, our Member Network hospitals continued to show positive revenue growth over Q2 in 2014.
Dogster: The Veterinary Associations Don’t Want Vets to Vaccine Every Year
Profits are what vaccine critics believe is at the root of the profession’s resistance to update its protocols. Without the lure of vaccines, clients might be less inclined to make yearly veterinary visits. Vaccines add up to 14 percent of the average practice’s income, AAHA reports, and veterinarians stand to lose big.