Every practice is unique

On 26 June, 2013 in Customer Service by Sue Crampton

All practices have a uniqueness. However, you may be too close to it to notice what it is and how you can effectively use it to market your practice. 

Your Unique Selling Proposition tells your clients why you're different to your competitors and is very important part of your marketing success. Your USP is defined as that distinct, appealing idea or service that sets your business apart from every other veterinary competitor. You probably often go the extra mile, creating amazing service and thinking nothing of it. The truth often is, your competitors are probably not doing half of the things you are to service their clients. And yet you’re perceived in the market as being ‘in line’ with them. Maybe because you don’t tell anybody what you actually do.

Once you’ve identified your uniqueness. Think about how you’ll articulate your ‘extra mile’ story. How are you going to turn it into a marketing tool? Your marketing and operational success should be built around your USP. Your USP may touch any part of the marketing gamut - price, service, quality or exclusivity.

Here are some examples:

·         Some practices position themselves as having “the best selection of services”. Their USP is ‘broad choice’.

·         Other practices may offer limited selection, but their USP is ‘low price” — You shouldn’t adopt this type of USP if possible.

·         A practice may offer their service at reasonable prices, but their distinct selling appeal is that they offer better service and assistance.

·         You may decide you don’t want to be known for just price or variety of services, so you offer top service at a higher, but still reasonable price. Quality or exclusivity is your USP. For example: Setting       service standards in veterinary care.


Be aware. It’s counter-productive to adopt a USP if you can’t ‘fulfil the promise.

Most practices promise no great value, benefit or service - just ‘buy from us’ for no justifiable reason. You gain a unique selling advantage by offering a big, unique and appealing promise that’s not being offered by your competitors. For example, if you make the promise of "excellence in customer care" make sure you follow through with the promise by going the extra mile for your clients. It can be more damaging to your business if you fail to do so. 


Here’s a guide to finding your USP:

1. Ask your clients (and prospects)

Rather than tell your market what they want, ask them what it is they’re after from you. This is the one thing that will keep them loyal to you, the one thing that will make them advocates for your practice. Most of your clients will have an opinion. ‘We want to provide you with a better service, so we thought we’d start by asking you what you want. Would you mind taking a couple of minutes to answer some questions’.

Questions to ask:

·         When looking for a veterinary clinic, what has been the most important thing to you?

·         Have you used another veterinary clinic? If so, what frustration did you experience? And what did you find pleasing?

·         What do other veterinary clinics do better than us?

·         What do we do better than other veterinary clinics?

·         If we could do one extra thing to make working with us even more enjoyable, more memorable, what would it be?

These 5 questions have time and time again proven to be most effective. You can see that the wording of the questions is specifically designed to highlight differences between your practice and your competition.


2.  Analyse any feedback you get.

Once you’ve gone through the process of getting feedback, you need to go through the answers one at a time. You’ll see a pattern developing in the answers and hopefully one point will emerge as the most important to your ideal clients. This will become the basis of your USP.


3.  Are you fulfilling the need?

Chances are you may already be providing what it is your clients want. Here is your opportunity to articulate each step. Once you’ve done that, you can make it a performance standard that becomes part of everything you do at the practice. In this way, your clients will appreciate what it is you have to offer.


4.  Check the competition

Once you’ve settled on a USP, you’ll need to make sure that your competitors aren’t using something similar in their marketing. They may be doing the same thing, but if they don’t communicate what it is to the public, then they don’t have a USP. For example - if you can see clients at the times they request (or say, within 5 minutes) this can form a service USP. Now, the competition might be offering the same level of service without letting their clients know.


5.  Don’t let an opportunity go by

Once you’ve found that USP, you’ve got to put it everywhere. On your letterhead, with compliments cards, on the back of your business cards, the headline of your brochure, inside the Clinic. This will set the tone of your practice and you’ll become known for your USP. Your clients will keep coming back, and new clients will search the practice out.


Need help with marketing your practice? Contact CCG: ccgenquiries@provet.com.au 

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