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CATEGORY MANAGEMENT · October 18th, 2020

5 Tips for Converting Clients to Your Online Pharmacy

by Victoria Hu

MANAGER CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

When it comes to filling prescriptions for their pets, clients have increasingly been ordering from online retailers like Chewy.com or WalmartPetRx.com – especially since the pandemic. So that means veterinary practices are finding themselves inundated with fax requests.

Through home delivery vendors like Covetrus and VetSource, your practice can meet (and even anticipate) your clients’ needs. Clients can either place orders online themselves, or you can order for them; prescriptions will ship directly to their homes — with benefits for both your clients and your practice.

  • Online ordering – especially automatic refills – makes medication compliance a breeze for your clients.
  • Automatic prescription refills ensure that pets with chronic health conditions get their prescriptions regularly, resulting in healthier, happier pets (as well as taking the burden off clients to remember to fill those prescriptions).
  • Prescription fulfillment through your preferred online pharmacy helps you recover the revenue that your practice would otherwise lose to outside pharmacies.

For the team at Animal Crackers Veterinary Hospital in West Jordan, Utah, actively engaging in home delivery saved them time — and improved their bottom line.

“Every day, we received a high number of fax requests from outside pharmacies,” says Adam Handy, DVM, Managing Veterinarian at Animal Crackers (or ACVH). “Monitoring and approving these requests took up a lot of valuable time. We tackled this challenge with a system that helped reduce faxes from competitors and converted clients to our pharmacy.”

Here are some tips for how to get the most out of your online pharmacy:

1. Make an Interception (From Other Pharmacies)

Some practices contact clients each time they get a prescription request from an outside pharmacy.

“Once we receive an external pharmacy request, we contact the client and introduce the online pharmacy,” says Meghan O’Neill, Hospital Manager at Naperville Animal Hospital in Naperville, Ill. Many will utilize it and stop the shipment of products from external pharmacies.”

Michelle LaMore, Hospital Manager at West Salem Veterinary Clinic in West Salem, Wis., says the hospital team intercepts all faxes and handwritten prescriptions.

“When staff takes out handwritten scripts, they also take out the online pamphlet for the client and show them the promo on the back and highlight the website at the bottom,” she explains.

The team at Sheridan Road Veterinary Clinic in Tulsa goes one step further and automatically fills prescriptions using its online pharmacy.

“For external pharmacies, we automatically fill the script (if appropriate) in our online pharmacy and have an email sent to the client stating that their product is ready and waiting for them to check out,“ says Susan Russell, Sheridan Road’s Hospital Manager. “We also call the client and explain that we cannot fill an external pharmacy’s script because we cannot verify the safety of the product received.”

2. Gain Ground by Promoting Your Online Pharmacy

Naperville Animal Hospital uses a two-pronged approach to converting clients.

“We send our clients a link to the pharmacy via email when they purchase medication in the clinic,” Meghan explains. “Our doctors and staff also promote the online pharmacy to clients when they are in the clinic for any service.”

Sheridan Road’s doctors and staff members also mention their online pharmacy as part of other conversations. Susan says the team gets the word out in other ways, too.

“We promote on Facebook, we have done multiple mass mails (usually when I have a good promotion), and I made flyers when we switched pharmacies to pass out with every invoice.”

3. Make It a Snap for Clients to Say Yes

Clients generally react very positively to switching to Naperville’s online pharmacy.

“There is an extra step in ordering through external pharmacies, and we have eliminated that for them,” Meghan says. “We have a number of elderly clients, and showing them how to navigate through our website (either in person or on the phone) and place an order is beneficial to both the clinic and the client.”

Michelle provides extra assistance to clients who need help ordering.

“I will actually set it up over the phone for the clients who are elderly or have no computers,” she says. “I have also ordered things from the online store to the clinic, and they either pick it up here, or we can deliver to them. Several clients are snowbirds, and we get them set up for shipments down south while they are away.”

4. Make It a Team Effort

Practices that involve everyone in proactive scripting are able to convert more clients. For example, all of the doctors and staff members at Animal Crackers have undergone training in proactive scripting.

Michelle says West Salem team members compete to see who is taking the most clients from Chewy by intercepting faxes.

“I get super excited and go around the clinic saying, ‘I intercepted another one!’” she says.

 Michelle speaks with each DVM and shows them the benefits of the online store, as well as checking daily to make sure orders are shipping, and prescription approvals are not sitting for a long period of time. She also highlights the revenue from online pharmacy orders in each month’s staff meeting.

5. Score a Touchdown by Converting Clients in Creative Ways

Michelle says she sometimes convinces clients to switch to West Salem’s online pharmacy with offers such as price matching.

“I will also give them promo codes that have extra discounts for them,” she explains. “If they need things ASAP, I will have them order. Then I call Covetrus to get the order expedited for free.”

West Salem also allows clients to get full credit for any returns. They can even donate any meds they return.

“They are amazed that they get a credit back for things that don’t work out for their pets,” Michelle adds.

If you’d like to find out more about how one practice made its online pharmacy work, read How to Succeed With Home Delivery. To get started, check out 3 Benefits of Home Delivery or use this handy checklist of 10 Easy Steps to Tackle Outside Pharmacy Requests.

Victoria Hu

MANAGER CATEGORY MANAGEMENT

Suport Center | Agoura Hills, CA

Victoria is a member of NVA’s Category Management team, where she supports our hospital’s product sales by being your advocate in front of vendors and helping hospitals navigate the world of home delivery. She is a Virginia native, who has now traded her East Coast roots for sunny Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband.

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