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How Can I Use Testimonials In My Veterinary Practice?

If you own or manage a Veterinary Practice then one question you should be asking is:

How Can I Use Testimonials In My Veterinary Practice?

So why are testimonials so important?

Well think about this…

When you make a statement about the quality of service within your practice it is no more than a claim but when one of your clients, who has benefited from that service, makes the same statement it’s a fact!

There’s no getting away from it, we are living in a world of skeptics and with so many marketing messages being shoved in the faces of your clients they want proof! There is no better proof than another one of your clients confirming that claims you make about your practice are true.

For example, probably every veterinary practice in your area, including yours, claims to be the most caring and friendly, but only one can be telling the truth, so why should your prospective clients believe you?

What makes a good testimonial?

The best way to convey your message is by using what we call a Before & After Testimonial. The ‘Before’ is the problem or dissatisfaction the client was experiencing before they became your client and the ‘After’ is the solution and satisfaction they have received since becoming your client.  For example “We didn’t think we’d ever get Fluffy’s scratching problem sorted until we brought her to your XYZ Veterinary Practice and now she is back to here old self!”

Another strategy is to use a testimonial to either back up a claim you are making about a benefit of being a client of your practice or to allay a doubt or fear that a potential client may have about coming to your practice.  For example, “As a single mom with three kids I can afford to hang around in veterinary waiting rooms which is why I love XYZ Veterinary Practice as they’ve never been late yet!”

When to ask for testimonials?

There are two ideal opportunities to ask for testimonials:

1.       At the end of a new clients first appointment

If you’ve given your  new client a WOW experience and great first impression then at the end of your clients first experience of your practice the client should  be smiling. Ask them how they found there first experience with your practice, what they liked the most and ask them for a testimonial!

2.       At the end of the final appointment of a treatment.

At the final appointment in series of appointments where you have been treating a pet if the pet is now well again the client should be smiling. Again,  ask for a testimonial.

Notice the key phrase in both occasions – “the client should be smiling”.  As a general rule of thumb, any time your clients are smiling is a good time to ask for a testimonial!

Where to use testimonials?

There are typically four types of testimonial you can use:

1.       Live Testimonials

There is nothing more powerful than having one of your clients telling your prospects face-to-face how good your practice is and why they should join. The way to accomplish this is to hold a live event such as a fun day or open evening to which you invite local pet owners. The other way to do this is to hold a client appreciation event and ask your clients to bring their pet owning friends. Then get 4 or 5 of your best clients (you know who they are) to give a live testimonial in front of the attendees. Make sure you video record the testimonials.

2.       Video Testimonials

With the advances in technology and accessibility to really affordable video cameras such the Flip and the Kodak zi8 there is no excuse not the use video when asking for testimonials. Providing you’ve got plenty of happy clients (and they’re not too camera shy!) then you should be able to collect several video testimonials per week.  Another way to collect them is at a client appreciation event. You can then get lots of happy clients on camera in one afternoon or evening! You can use these video testimonials on your website, on the TV in your waiting area and on DVDs you send out to prospective clients.

3.       Photo Testimonials

Everyone has heard the phrase ‘a picture says a thousand words’ and there is no better picture than a photograph of you or your staff together with happy clients and their pet. You can use these ‘happy snaps’ in a number of places such as in a testimonial book with client stories, on a photo wall behind your reception counter, on your website if you were unable to get video and to enhance written testimonials.

4.       Written Testimonials

Written testimonials basically means using either the written testimony of your client or transcribing the verbal testimony they gave in person or on video. The best places to use written testimonials are in your direct mail pieces, in newspaper/magazine ads for your practice, in your practice brochure, in your newsletter and on your website in the absence of videos.

You should now be armed with enough information to use testimonials to grow your practice. Should try them all but if you want to focus on any, use video!

Get advice from the Veterinary Marketing experts.