For Vets For Owners

June 8, 2020

Keeping your clients: Ways to keep them bonded when they can’t visit

Ashley Barron BVMS MRCVS

June 8, 2020

Vet practices are facing unprecedented challenges in their bid to provide care and protect animal welfare during these difficult times. Pet owners are stressed and often stuck at home with their pets, worrying. And third-party, video-only providers are advertising video vets to your clients and getting busier and busier.

But how do you keep your clients on board and maintain that special bond between vet and pet owner when you can’t operate as normal? Our aim at VetHelpDirect is- and has always been- to keep pet owners and local vets connected. So, here are our top tips for keeping your clients happy and secure during COVID restrictions.

Outgoing Communications

Keep pet owners involved and up to date with all of the goings on at the practice via email, text and posts on your website and social media. Tell them about changes to the way your vets are working and what this will mean for their pets. Staying present and visible like this reassures owners that they will still be able to see their own vet if a pet becomes ill. Bored owners at home like getting updates and it keeps them feeling connected to the practice. We know you’re busy, but even a weekly Facebook post reassuring clients that pets are getting the care they need is important – perhaps you could showcase a case each week that was treated without human contact? 


Offering video consultations is a great way of staying accessible to pet owners but they need to know about it! Advertise this new service clearly and explain to clients ahead of time how the video consult will work if and when they need to use it. Encourage owners to sign up to and familiarise themselves with the video consult platform now in case they need it in the future, any questions they have are much easier to answer when they are not worried about a poorly pet. The VetHelpDirect support number, email and live chat are all available for anyone struggling to use the system, so they can always call us and we can talk them through it.


Owners are worried about their pets being ill, so it’s a good idea to show owners what will happen when their pet comes in without them – video demonstrations of clinical examinations, vaccines, dental checks etc can be reassuring to owners worried about their pet being taken away from them. You can also ask a nurse to pretend to be an owner coming to the door, and show what you expect them to do when they arrive.

Be Flexible

Some clients are going to feel left out and in the dark if they’re not on Facebook and seeing your updates, so don’t forget to consider other channels to contact them. Pick up the phone, or post out a little letter. Consider sending out information on parasite control/puppy packs/insurance by post so that no owner feels left out of good care or information while face to face contact is limited.

This is the perfect time to go the extra mile for your clients and set yourself apart from the competition. Consider dropping off food and medication, especially if you know a client is elderly. If you have staff working from home, consider getting them to call elderly pet owners to check that everything is ok and they’re coping. 

Listen to your Clients

Even if your phone line is too busy to take casual calls, you can provide an email address or ask someone to keep an eye on social media accounts. This is a good way to reassure clients and gather feedback. 

Keep Connected

One way to bond with your clients is to encourage owner involvement in discussions on social media. No, we’re not talking about a brawl – but what about a discussion about the best name for a new practice cat, or asking them to come up with ideas for entertaining dogs in lockdown. You could also run a competition on your social media pages to keep clients interested – perhaps lockdown photos, or a colouring competition for the kids. Ask for photos of new puppies and kittens that normally would be coming in for first visits and arranging video calls with a nurse or vet to check in so they build trust early and know who will be providing care when their pet does visit the clinic. 


Most importantly, you need to make sure that you reassure owners that their pet will be seen if needed and that all precautions will be taken. We are hearing over and over that ‘my vet isn’t open due to COVID’- and we know that, for almost every surgery in the UK, that isn’t true. And these clients will be turning to other sources of information: Facebook, the practice across the road, or even an online video vet service.

We are sure that, despite the difficulties, you can keep visible and connected with your valued clients. Offering first-contact consultations through our video platform is one of the best ways to continue to see pets, and you will come out the other side of this difficult time with a new service and happy pet owners!