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CLIENT COMMUNICATION · July 13th, 2020

10 Creative Ways to Communicate Curbside Care to Clients

by Julie Ruttenberg

SR. MARKETING BUSINESS PARTNER, EAST & SOUTH GROUPS

Across the country, stay-at-home restrictions have begun to ease, but Covid-19 continues to challenge many communities. To keep staff and clients safe, curbside care has become the norm at many hospitals and pet resorts — at least for the foreseeable future.

While most teams have mastered their curbside process, many clients still arrive unprepared. They enter closed lobbies, exit their cars, block traffic, or leave their mobile phone at home, making it hard to connect on-site. And as more clients return to us, managing the pent-up demand has made drop-offs and pick-ups more complicated.

That’s why client communication is more important than ever. When clients understand what to expect and how to prepare, you can provide more efficient, safe, and effective curbside care.

To help inspire and enhance your curbside communications, here are ten creative ways NVA hospitals and pet resorts promote their policies to clients:

1. Use content at GPConnect.NVAcom.

Visit GPConnect.NVA.com
Many hospitals in our community are utilizing Curbside Service communications on NVA’s new GP resources website.  You can download these images along with a toolkit that includes templated language for emails, social media, and flyers here.

2. Prepare clients with engaging, informative graphics.

Animal Specialty Center — Yonkers, New York
ASC’s “Quick Guide to Curbside” offers a step-by-step overview of what to expect on arrival. Shared via social media (and easily repurposed as an email blast, web content, or signage), the minimal text and clean design help make the process less of a surprise and more memorable. “We’re asking all pet parents to wait outside or in their cars,” said the team’s post. “Here’s a guide to what your visit will look like at ASC!”

3. Preview visits with photos of your curbside set up.

My Second Home Pet Resort — Franklin, Tennessee
Sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words. My Second Home’s photos of their drop-off/ pick-up station help clients visualize the experience and process. Seeing how it works beforehand may also minimize confusion or extra calls with questions. “With so many of our favorite faces returning to daycare, we’d like to reiterate our current drop-off and pick-up procedures!” noted the team.

4. Create clear and conspicuous signage.

New England Animal Medical Center — West Bridgewater, Massachusetts
In late May, the team acknowledged curbside care would be around for a bit. To simplify the process, they created attractive, color-coded signs. The signs split traffic into two groups: medication and food pick-up on one side, and ER appointments and drop off on the other. Both signs direct clients where to go and what number to call.

5. Keep connected through video.

Alaska Veterinary Clinic — Anchorage, Alaska
Since the pandemic began, Dr. Kellie Lindquist and Hospital Manager Annamaria DiCola have broadcasted critical updates to clients using Facebook video. Casual and fun, the short videos put a familiar, friendly face to more complicated policy changes. The team’s walkthrough of how curbside service works earned 1,300+ views. Watch all their videos here.

6. Take a humorous approach.

Pioneer Equine Hospital — Oakdale, California
Pioneer Equine’s image of their patient in a mask makes clients smile while drawing their attention to more detailed and complicated check-in instructions that include unloading their horse and returning to their vehicles. “A friendly reminder of our current COVID-19 policies from Remo!” begins the announcement on Facebook.

7. Show a snapshot of your safety measures.

Doggie District Pet Resort — Tempe, Arizona
Doggie District (like all pet resorts) takes extra precautions to ensure pets are staying and playing in a safe, healthy environment. Promoting these measures provides clients peace of mind before they book. “The well-being of our guests, pet parents, and our team is, and always has been, our top priority, which is why we have implemented additional safety measures,” announced the team, while reminding clients of contactless drop-off, pick-up, and payment procedures.

8. Comfort anxious pet parents with behind-the-scenes photos.

Veterinary Emergency & Specialty Hospital of Wichita — Wichita, Kansas
Across our community, pet parents wait outside while pets brave their visits without them. The separation can be hard, but VESH Wichita aims to put clients at ease by reminding them their pets are never alone. “Please know that we treat your fur babies like our own,” they noted alongside an image of a team member comforting a patient. “When they feel sick, we go the extra mile to make every pet feel safe and loved. Because sometimes it takes more than great medicine, it takes heart.”

9. Share the smiles behind the masks.

Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital — Warren, Michigan
Smiles, handshakes, and even hugs have always helped us build connections with clients. Covid-19 and curbside care have limited our interactions and can make an already challenging event for pets and pet parents feel less personable. The team at Warren Woods Veterinary Hospital recognizes this and reminds clients that safety measures are an extension of their care, and they’re still smiling behind the mask. “Through social distancing, curbside services, and even telemedicine protocols, we are still providing the same level of care for your precious pet,” they noted.

10. Thank clients for their patience and compliance.

Pampered Paws Animal Hospital — Oxford, Mississippi)
Sharing gratitude helps the Pampered Paws team reinforce client bonds and trust. It’s also an opportunity to remind others about their policies. “Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, we have taken several precautions to lower exposure among staff and clients!” said the team on social media, noting curbside care in particular. “THANK YOU to our amazing clients for being so understanding and supportive throughout all of this!”

 

While it’s still difficult to predict when things will return to normal, most clients are willing to comply with new safety measures. But frequent communication is critical. Using clear, concise messaging, and taking advantage of all available platforms — social media, websites, email, exterior signage — helps build understanding and ensures a more efficient and seamless curbside experience for everyone.

For more information about curbside service, including best practices and marketing toolkits, visit GPConnect.NVA.com. The site includes email banners, social media graphics, and flyers with templated language that you can customize.

For questions about curbside care communication email marketing@nva.com.

Julie Ruttenberg

SR. MARKETING BUSINESS PARTNER, EAST & SOUTH GROUPS

Support Center | Agoura Hills

Julie Ruttenberg is a member of NVA’s Marketing team and serves our community by supporting hospitals in the East Group with their marketing strategy and activities. She shares her home with her husband, two sons, and her two four-legged children Toby and Bobby.

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