While some time off during the holidays is amazing, it comes with the downside of being sure to update phones, emails, apps and social channels so that clients aren’t surprised to find a locked door and empty building, especially if their pet is having an emergency.
Let’s cover some of the ways you can help inform your clients-- and avoid that last minute rush for that 360 count prescription refill.
Before we begin, a huge shout out to the teams that DON’T get to change their hours. To the vets, techs and support team working urgent care and emergency on holidays and every day-- thank you. Your hard work does not go unnoticed by your colleagues!
While every clinic has a different list of places and platforms to take care of, the good news is that many of these updates are small, quick and can be done long in advance. Here are some of the top changes to make:
Login, click the “Info” tab on the left right, and click on the pencil to edit the “special hours” just below your regular hours. If you know you’ll be closed for the major holidays, you can verify these dates or add your own (think about New Years Eve, New Years Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas as common closures).
Click here for the official how-to from Google.
Login and visit the Business Information, then click on Edit next to ‘Upcoming Special Hours” to verify hours for common holidays or add your own special days.
Please make a note of our upcoming holiday hours! If your pet is running low on any of their prescription meds or food, please plan accordingly and we are happy to make sure you have a full supply before our office is closed.
To request a refill, visit: www.yourveterinarypractice.com/refills (or call 555-5555 or email firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the app, etc).
If your pet should need emergency care over the holiday, please contact:
Emergency Hospital 1: 555-5555 (ideally tag the hospital’s page)
Emergency Hospital 2: 555-5555 (ideally tag the hospital’s page)
For non-urgent appointment requests, refill requests or questions, please email us at email@example.com and we will respond within 24 business hours of our reopening on INSERT DAY, DATE AND TIME your practice will reopen.
As always, we wish you and your two- and four-legged families a safe and happy holiday!
I hope this saves you a few minutes of time as you prepare your hospital and team for a busy holiday. Take your time off to rest and recharge!
-Caitlin DeWilde, DVM
We've talked time and time again about how important video is in your practice's social media and marketing efforts.
Most veterinarians HATE the idea of being on camera, so don't worry, before this goes too far....you're off the hook. For this one.
This one...is fun. It's goofy. And....your clients will love it. We're talking about GoPro footage.....from your dog.
Clients LOVE clinic tours and behind-the-scenes glimpses. What better way to give them that, without a fancy professional video? Strap a GoPro on a willing pup and let them see your practice from a dog's view!
Granted, this does require some specialized equipment. Two pieces, to be exact. 1) A GoPro (obvs). 2) A GoPro Fetch dog harness like this one. Now, if you're a nerd like me, you may have a GoPro laying around, or maybe a friend to borrow one from. The dog harnesses are a little more obscure, but they're available on Amazon and a friend just saw one at Target, so you can totally make this happen.
I have an older GoPro Hero+, but I think any GoPro would do. The Hero5 Session model might be a good investment if you plan to do many of these videos with your dog, since it can be voice controlled and also has video stabilization.
The GoPro Fetch Harness works on dogs 15-120 lbs, has two camera attachment points, and seems to be really well tolerated by all the dogs I've tried it on.
A couple of tips, when considering doing filming a dog's tour in your practice:
1. Do this before or after hours. It's difficult to keep your dog videographer focused with lots of distraction, other pets, staff, moving about, etc.
2. Pick a lazy, food-motivated dog (like my Maple!)....she was happy to wander toward the next treat, so we "planted" staff at various points along the hospital so she just followed her nose to the next treat, giving us the exact tour footage/path we wanted.
3. Motivate with treats- but use Pill Pockets or something else so they don't have to stop and crunch.
4. Plan ahead: what do you want your clients to see? Do you want them to show a quick exam? Do you want them to tour the boarding area? Plan your route and make sure your clinic's spic and span, and consider moving barking pets temporarily to limit distraction.
5. Don't even try it on the cat. Just don't. Trust me. :-)
If you'd like to see a few examples, check out Maple in action here, here and the embedded video below. Admittedly, my 40lb-ish Corgi/Lab mix is a bit vertically and orthopedically-challenged, so we've got a fair bit of swagger here that may contribute to a motion sickness vibe. In this view, which we recorded with a lab mix wearing the harness, you can see it's a bit easier/less motion.
The GoPro Fetch Dog Harness also allows you to position the camera on top of the harness (on the dog's back), or the front of the harness (on their chest). If you put it on the front, you don't get the dog's head in the footage, so it's hard to appreciate that it's from a dog's perspective. But it may be a cleaner look overall, depending on your preference.
The GoPro app, formerly called Capture, is available for iOS and Android. The app allows you to quickly transfer the footage to your smartphone, or you can transfer it to a computer via it's SD card/cable. I've posted that footage natively without editing, and I've also imported it into iMovie for additional editing.
These aren't the most professional videos I've ever done or published, but they have been some of the most fun. If you try this out with your clinic, please share what you create so we can all see it! Happy videoing!
--Caitlin DeWilde, DVM
P.S.: This post contains affiliate links. You probably already figured that out, but just in case, if you purchase something from one of those links, I get a teensy commission. Which means trying more new cool toys and ideas to share with you here! Thanks :-)