Fetch more business with a loyalty program

The goal of a loyalty program is not just to increase transactions, but to deepen connections between your clients and your practice.

By Jenn Galvin

With around 30,000 veterinary practices in the United States, setting yourself apart isn’t just about the care you provide: It’s also about building lasting relationships with clients and their furry family members. Enter the loyalty program—a fantastic way to get clients to return time after time and generate more interest in your practice through referrals.  

But how do you create and manage a loyalty program that actually works and, more importantly, gets everyone excited? 

How to create a loyalty program 

1. Define Your Goals 

First, you have to determine your main objective. Do you want to increase visits per year? Boost sales of specific services or products? Get more clients? Understanding your goals will help you shape a program that fits your needs. 

2. Know Your Pack 

What is your hospital model, and what do your clients and patients need? If you are a higher-end boutique practice, consider offering VIP priority booking once a client earns enough points. Maybe you’re a lower-cost, higher-volume clinic, and exclusive discounts or free products would excite pet owners. Tailor your program to meet these needs. Remember, one size does not fit all. 

3. Pick Your System 

Decide if you want a simple point system (e.g., “Earn 1 point for every dollar spent, Earn 50 points for every client you refer!”) or a tiered system with levels (e.g., “Bronze, Silver, Gold memberships”). Each has perks, so choose what works best for your clientele and business model. Keep in mind that you want a system that drives clients to return!

How to manage a loyalty program 

1. Software Solutions 

In today’s world, a digital loyalty program is the way to go. Apps like Vet2Pet, PetDesk, or AllyDVM can make the whole process much easier, and they integrate with many existing practice management software systems.  

Test-drive them before you make a decision. Whatever you choose, be sure it’s user-friendly for your staff and clients. A good program will help you track client activity, manage rewards, and analyze the success of your program. 

2. Staff Training 

Your team should be as excited about the program as you are. Training sessions help ensure they understand how it all works, the benefits of the program, and how to promote it to clients.  

Please don’t make the mistake of mentioning it one time at a staff meeting and never bringing it up to the team again. Keep them updated with how the app is working and changing. Most digital loyalty app companies offer lunch-and-learn staff trainings. And don’t forget to incorporate loyalty program training into your onboarding process for new hires. 

3. Marketing Magic 

Use your website, social media, and in-clinic displays to promote your loyalty program. Make signing up an easy part of the new client intake process. Also, ensure your staff is comfortable mentioning and explaining the program to clients. 

4. Get Everyone Excited  

Kick off your program with an event or special promotion. Consider a fun day at the clinic with giveaways, a photo booth for pets, or special discounts for members who sign up early.  

Keep your staff motivated by making them part of the success story. Offer incentives for them, too, like rewards for signing up the most members in a month.  

For clients, make sure they understand how they benefit from participating. Regular updates about their points and what they can claim can keep the excitement alive. 

5. Regular Updates 

Your loyalty program will need to evolve. Regularly review the program’s performance. Listen to what your clients and staff are saying about the program. This feedback is gold and will help you tweak and improve what’s already in place to keep everyone happy and engaged. 

Your loyalty program can become a significant part of your practice’s identity, setting you apart in a competitive market. Remember, the goal is to enhance your client’s experience and deepen their relationship with your clinic, not just increase transactions. 


Jenn Galvin owns and manages Advanced Animal Care, a companion animal hospital located in Arizona. She has been in the veterinary industry for over 25 years, and she is a true nerd at heart, with a passion for staff development, inventory, and veterinary financials. 

Photo credit: © Przemysław Iciak E+ via Getty Images Plus 

Disclaimer: The views expressed, and topics discussed, in any NEWStat column or article are intended to inform, educate, or entertain, and do not represent an official position by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) or its Board of Directors. 



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