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How to Create a Veterinary Guest Survey that Helps Your Practice Improve

Is your client survey helping or hurting your practice? Try these six tips for creating veterinary practice surveys that give you the information your practice needs to improve.

If you have a thriving veterinary practice, chances are that most of your client base is happy with your services. After all, they keep bringing their pets back, so they must be satisfied, right?

But what about the clients who disappeared after one or two visits or after years of receiving veterinary care at your practice. Might they still be part of your client base today if you’d addressed their concerns before they found a new veterinarian that better meets their expectations?

Creating a guest survey that offers clients a chance to provide information that can improve your veterinary practice, your reputation and your bottom line is essential to a successful practice.

“Given the desire of veterinary professionals to provide the best possible standards of care, customer satisfaction should always be a top priority for a veterinary practice,” according to veterinary practice management software provider Covetrus.

“No-one wants clients walking away with a negative impression, particularly in a competitive marketplace where any mistake can be amplified online. The risks are great and there is a real danger of putting off potential new clients too if a bad experience becomes public,” says Covetrus.

“If the client experience is the key to differentiate your business, then feedback is the key input required to provide a delightful client experience,” according to veterinary software platform VETport. “Feedback informs you about the level of client satisfaction and determines your loyal client base.”

Client feedback is also crucial to maintaining your practice’s reputation and keeping and attracting new customers. “A single dissatisfied client can ruin the potential customer base of eight to ten people,” says VETport.

With that in mind, creating a survey that can help improve the guest experience at your veterinary practice is essential to getting the kind of feedback your practice needs to make sure your clients are happy with the services you provide.

“Surveys can be excellent tools, but only if they‘re crafted, administered and evaluated well,” according to DVM 360. “A successful survey is part of a plan to understand and improve. This means that you don’t just have to understand what you want to measure-you have to know what you want to do with the results.”

Here are six tips for creating a client survey that will gather the information you need to keep clients and improve your services where necessary.

1. Keep surveys short

Surveys with only one to three questions have a completion rate of 80 percent, according to research from survey automation company Survicate. That completion rate drops to 65 percent on surveys with four to eight questions and 56 percent when there are nine to15 questions.

Today, consumers are bombarded with surveys for just about every possible service they receive. The last thing they need is a lengthy survey taking up too mich time in their busy day, so carefully craft a few questions that respondents are more likely to answer.

2. Post how long the survey will take

Customer service software company Zendesk recommends posting the estimated time it will take guests to complete the survey. “You can include this information in your survey invite or at the start of your survey. It also helps to provide a progress bar, so respondents can see how many questions they have left to answer,” says Zendesk.

3. Send surveys soon after the visit

“Consumers are more likely to respond to a survey after they’ve just concluded an interaction with a brand, when the interaction is fresh in their minds,” according to customer engagement platform Khoros.

4. Make questions specific

Asking respondents to rate their overall experience won’t let you know the exact reasons behind their rating. They may have been pleased with the veterinary care but a surly receptionist caused them to rate their overall experience lower.

Ask questions that are specific to certain aspects such as guest satisfaction with communication about treatments, medications and appointments.

5. Post the survey on your website

DVM 360 recommends installing the survey online to poll your clients through your website. “You’ll reach a broad group of clients who can then check out more of your online resources, which will, in turn, boost your search engine optimization,” says DVM 360.

6. Provide space for feedback

Sometimes, a mere rating or yes or no answer isn’t sufficient for providing the feedback your practice needs to make improvements. Make sure there is room on the survey for a more detailed response.

Then make sure you or someone else on staff calls the client to find out more, address the concerns and/or make adjustments so the client is satisfied.