Vet Quality: spreading pet care excellence throughout the service

Published by SprintMaster.co on behalf of the sprint master Heitor Murbach

Improving the pet owner’s journey when their best friend is not feeling well

Vet Quality is a well-known and respected veterinary hospital in the city of São Paulo. With a professional staff of more than 30 expert veterinarians and an impressive infrastructure capable of attending from routine checkups to intensive caring, Vet Quality can assure your pet will have the best treatment available.

Treating the man’s best friend

A recent study showed that 44% of households in Brazil have pets, which exceeds the number of children in the same households (36%). This movement is well documented in first-world countries such as United States and Japan, but is unusual in developing countries. In addition, a large portion of pet owners consider their pets as family members and have an emotional connection with them that is as deep as their connections with human relatives.

In this sense, the emotional distress of pet owners when their beloved friends are sick can be as intense as when a close relative is in the same situation. Vet Quality understood that and built an impressive healthcare center along the years to attend a wide range of complex cases while offering an infrastructure that can be associated with comfort and care for the pet.

They are very proud of their effectiveness in treating sick pets, but one matter came up. It’s unquestionable that the “pet’s customer journey” is aligned with the best practices found in the world, but how about the owner’s customer journey? Being a delicate and stressful moment, are all the owner’s needs and worries attended by the hospital? It was with these questions in mind and the will to improve their services that the sprint’s challenge was set: how can we improve the owner’s journey in order to create a surprising experience which would then be shared with their social circle?

An immersion in the pet segment with all four legs

Before engaging the customers and tackling their journey, we decided to focus on the ecosystem and its tendencies both in Brazil and around the world. The pet segment is growing at a fast pace in Brazil despite the economic recession, and the behavior and expectations of pet owners are changing.

New pet services are emerging which focus on the pet’s quality of life. Hotels, spas, daycares, organic food, novelties, and even home improvement services to adapt the house for a more stimulating environment are available nowadays. These services try to improve the quality of life of pets by treating them like humans and raising the satisfaction and happiness of their owners.

We identified a very interesting tendency in Brazil related to “hospital hospitality”. It consists of adopting hotel service standards in hospitals to create a more comfortable environment for patients and visitors during stay and recovery. Vet hospitals tend to replicate aspects of traditional hospitals’ standard practices, which can be very similar, to create an environment that reflects the reliance patients are used to at conventional hospitals. We concluded that there is a strong upcoming tendency of vet hospitals embracing hospital hospitality and adapting to pets and their owners.

Ethnography and co-creation sessions corroborated these first findings about comfort and reliance, and generated several other insights about hidden intentions along the owner’s journey. The level of engagement from users invited to the sessions was outstanding. The desire to help create a better service connected everyone involved with the Sprint.

Fast implementation, quick wins, and happy users

One of the greatest achievements of the Sprint was the implementation speed of different solutions and an early-perceived value from both users related with the Sprint and unrelated users. Vet Quality’s Board was already discussing some potential customer intentions before the Sprint, but without validation it was still a notion of action — nothing crystalized. After ethnography and co-creation sessions, some intentions became so explicit and clear that solutions were implemented during the Sprint.

The implementation of solutions happened in critical touchpoints and moments of the journey. The first contact with the owner at the reception was crucial and needed special attention. Easy-to-implement solutions with big gains, often referred as “quick wins”, regarding different levels of comfort and information exchange were implemented during the project. Other solutions that regarded the same matter, but were more complex were tested at reception during prototyping.

Users that participated in the activities recognized the solutions, addressing the sprint team with excitement and pride for being a part of the improvement process. Other users felt the changes and commented through halls and waiting areas.

During prototyping, where we designed a concierge service to address and support users, potential new clients visiting the Vet hospital only to check rates felt amazed with the interaction and decided to make tours around the hospital, becoming more prone to return for future services. Rapport was created by improving the journey and by expressing the need of constant improvement to users.

I realized that those quick wins interventions that were generated represent the “surprisingly” for my clients. And the change of culture in the company, focused on the value that the consumer will realize, is already happening.

Ronie Guidini, CEO of Vet Quality

Insights

  • There is a strong need to address pet owners’ comfort in different levels: physical, psychological and spiritual.
  • In such a delicate and stressful moment, first contact with the customer needs to be nearly flawless. Reception staff must act with confidence, care, and dexterity.
  • To build rapport, transform positive interactions in intentional touchpoints.