Every veterinary practice aims for a common goal, providing the best possible care to their patients. But, when pet parents turn to Google instead of their veterinarian, they end up confused and misinformed while delaying treatment for their pet. Your veterinary practice can better manage clients like this by understanding why they turn to Google in the first place. From there, you can help them use the resources you offer to provide the care their pets need.
The Role of Googling
In today’s digital age, it’s no surprise that pet parents turn to the internet for answers to their pets’ health concerns. Googling can be a powerful tool for pet parents in certain situations, such as when they’re researching general information about a particular condition or treatment. It can also help them feel more prepared for a veterinary visit by giving them an idea of what to expect.
While Google can help in some situations, it can also lead to worry, anxiety, and delayed treatment for animals. Pet owners do not have the expertise to differentiate between credible and unreliable sources. This results in misinformed pet parents that can cause unintended harm to their pets.
Why Do Pet Parents Turn to Google?
Pet parents face a range of obstacles when it comes to seeking veterinary care for their furry companions. These can include the cost of veterinary care, stigma or embarrassment about the issue, and a lack of understanding or access.
One significant barrier is the cost of veterinary care. Pet parents may feel overwhelmed by the financial responsibility of veterinary care, particularly in emergency situations. This can cause them to hesitate in seeking care or to avoid it altogether, potentially jeopardizing their pets’ health. Providing transparent pricing and flexible payment plans can help you resolve cost concerns with clients.
Stigma and Embarrassment
Another hurdle is the stigma that some pet parents may feel around seeking veterinary care. They may worry that they will be judged for neglecting their pets’ health or for not being able to afford certain treatments or procedures. Some also feel embarrassed if their pets are behind on vaccinations or haven’t received recommended care. You can help resolve these issues by creating an open and supportive environment at your veterinary practice.
Lack of Understanding or Access
Lastly, some pet parents may not fully understand the importance of routine veterinary care, or may not have access to veterinary services in their area. This can be particularly challenging for those in rural or low-income areas where veterinary services may be limited. Collaborating with other veterinary professionals and organizations can help increase access to veterinary care in underserved areas. This collaboration can also include informative efforts to help pet parents understand the importance of routine veterinary care.
Communicating with Googling Pet Parents
When communicating with pet parents who have used Google to seek information about their pet’s health, it’s essential to approach the conversation with compassion and patience. Start off by acknowledging their concerns and showing genuine interest in their questions and observations. This helps build the sense of trust and understanding crucial to a positive veterinarian-client relationship.
After initially listening to their concern and questions, provide clear, concise, and accurate information about their pet’s health status, prognosis, and recommended treatment options. Avoid using complex medical terminology or jargon, and instead, explain the information in easy-to-understand terms. Then, encourage your client to ask any questions and discuss any concerns.
Once you establish the pet’s health status and recommended treatment, provide the pet parent with reliable educational resources. This can include brochures, videos, or online articles that address common pet health concerns, preventive care, and the importance of regular veterinary check-ups. Empowering pet parents with accurate information and practical advice helps them feel confident and informed about their pet’s health and well-being.
Strategies for Reducing Pet Parent Googling Issues
To combat the issues caused by pet parents turning to Google instead of a veterinarian, your veterinary practice can address the root causes of pet parent googling. Addressing these issues can also help pet parents feel more confident and informed about their pets’ health. This ultimately improves the outcomes for your patients and your practice’s bottom line.
Provide Accurate and Reliable Educational Resources
Providing accurate and reliable resources to your clients can help reduce the need for Google when assessing the health of their pets. You can distribute these resources on your website and social media channels to help pet parents make informed decisions about their pet’s care.
Offering educational resources through your website and social media channels also establishes your practice as a trustworthy source of information. This can help improve your practice’s reputation and attract new clients.
Offer Telemedicine Services
Telemedicine allows pet parents to connect with veterinary professionals remotely. This reduces the need for in-person visits and the temptation to turn to Google for answers. With telemedicine, pet parents can receive guidance and advice from a licensed veterinarian without leaving their homes.
You can make your practice more accessible and convenient to patients to improve your client satisfaction levels. Offering telemedicine services can also help differentiate your practice from your competitors.
Establish Open and Honest Communication
By being approachable and responsive to questions and concerns, veterinary professionals can help build trust and encourage pet parents to seek advice from qualified sources. Practices can also provide information on the potential consequences of relying on inaccurate information, such as delayed diagnosis or inappropriate treatment. This can help motivate pet parents to seek veterinary care instead of turning to the internet.
With the abundance of information available online, it’s natural for pet owners to turn to Google as their first resource. But, the internet contains an overload of information and plenty of misinformation. So, pet owners typically end up confused and anxious while missing the opportunity for earlier treatment. Your practice can play a role in resolving these issues by understanding why pet parents turn to Google and taking a proactive approach to reduce the issues that come with pet parent googling.