Veterinary hospitals worldwide have been tested in unimaginable ways since the beginning of 2020, and these problems will only persist into the future. While you’re dealing with a stressful situation inside the hospital, are you prepared to communicate with your clients? It’s time to start planning for the worst so that your action plan is second nature.
What is a crisis for a veterinary hospital?
Since January 2020, our customers have dealt with the wildfires in Australia, winter freezes across the United States and Canada, and yes, a global pandemic. Of course, these events are not the only types of crises that can strike a veterinary hospital. A doctor falling ill, a power outage, or even an internet outage can cause work stoppages, and it’s essential to be prepared for anything. Why is this so important? Even something as simple as not properly communicating with clients that you’re open or closed during a power outage can cause a rift in your relationship if they drive their pet to see you, only to be turned away at the door. When a crisis happens, it’s vital to make sure every single person on your team knows what to do. According to a 2020 report, 54.2% of organizations cite communicating with staff as a critical challenge during an emergency, but only 61.7% of organizations seek to ensure that employees’ contact information is kept up to date.
How to prepare:
1. Know your contacts. The moment a crisis happens, you’ll want to know the who, why, what, where, and when of all facets of your business. First things first, who needs to be communicated with immediately? This would be your staff and any clients that will be affected by this situation. Where do you go to get their information? How will you communicate with them? What will you do if you’re unable to contact them? Focus on the internal hospital operations and get a plan going.
2. Get the word out on digital platforms. This is where WhiskerCloud comes into play. Our team is ready to get emergency banners and pop-ups on your website, but it doesn’t stop there. We’ll also update your online listing and social media pages so that your clients know what’s happening, and anyone visiting your website is immediately notified of the situation. For those using apps like PetDesk, we recommend sending out a mass message or text message to make sure all clients know about the problem, who to contact in case of an emergency, and where to check for updates. You are not in this alone, and we’re prepared to help. Did you know that 36.4% of businesses reported they had no budget allocated for emergency communications tools or software in 2019?
3. Prepare a recovery plan. Now that you’ve contacted the correct people and alerted your clients of the situation, what happens when the problem is remedied? Well, let’s work in reverse. Make sure your staff and affected clients are aware that recovery of normal business operations is in progress. Next, reach out to affected clients and let them know your plans to accommodate their pet now that you can perform normal business operations again. Finally, your web provider and marketing team should remove all emergency banners from the website and send out an update over email and social media.
4. Take a breath. You did it, and you probably learned a lot about your processes. Is your staff’s contact information up to date? Did you have the correct contacts for vendors assisting you during the crisis? Is your website equipped for these moments? Were you able to get messages out on social media? A bad storm may crush business operations for a few days, but it also gives you a chance to run through your processes and find areas to optimize.
Being prepared to communicate with clients during these situations is crucial, but we can help you be prepared before it happens. Creating an emergency page on your veterinary website allows you to have a resource ready to share with clients when a problem arises.
If you ever find yourself in a situation where you need help during a crisis, please email our support team directly at [email protected], and we’ll be here to help. We’ve got your back!