What millennial pet owners want

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Forget popular media tropes like avocado toast, apps, and rosé. What really sets millennials apart from other generations is their obsession with their pets: 75% of millennials have pets and they’re willing to spend a lot of money to care for them. The veterinary hospitals that learn how to deliver the right kind of experience to millennial pet owners will be the hospitals that thrive.

And a new survey can help your hospital deliver that experience.

The survey asked 532 US millennial pet owners what they expect from their animal hospital experience, where they prefer to go for pet care, and how they know if their veterinarian loves their pet as much as they do. Respondents were also asked why they chose one veterinary hospital over another, what a hospital does that earns their loyalty, and what about a hospital makes them leave.

The key finding: In order to win and keep millennial clients, veterinary hospitals need to provide professional, friendly care (also true of previous generations), plus great communication, which differs from previous generations: millennials grew up with and expect a very different kind of communication.

Personal relationships are especially important to millennial pet owners: 81% of millennials want their veterinarians to automatically know who they are when they call. Yet 72% of millennials said they’ve had to wait while their veterinarian looked up their account.

The survey also asked how millennials preferred to have their veterinarian contact them.

  • For appointment reminders, 57% prefer text
  • For overdue balances, 36% prefer text
  • For appointment follow ups, 44% would like to get a phone call

Only 15% of millennials answer their phone if they don’t know who’s calling, but 81% say they’d pick up if they knew it was their veterinarian.

The top reasons millennials want their veterinarian to text them:

  • Appointment reminders (86%)
  • Reminder to schedule a checkup (59%)
  • Reminder to refill a prescription (48%)

The top drivers of millennial loyalty:

  • Friendly staff (57%)
  • Personalized service (49%)
  • Clean office (47%)

Another key finding that points to the importance of friendly, personalized service is the percentage of millennials who’ve ghosted a veterinarian because they didn’t like them: 42%.

The top three reasons millennials who ditch their veterinarian don’t come back:

  • Unfriendly staff (44%)
  • Dirty office (42%)
  • Long waits (30%)

Top ways veterinarians can offer their millennial clients a good experience:

  • Online appointment scheduling (68%)
  • Fast, friendly help over the phone (66%)
  • After-hours support (61%)
  • Complimentary avocado toast: (0%)

And while 27% of millennials expect their veterinarian to be available on social media, most veterinarians fall short:

  • 69% of veterinarians aren’t available on Twitter
  • 69% aren’t on Facebook
  • 67% aren’t on Instagram

On the other hand, the survey also found that millennials love their pets more than they love tech, and more millennials would give up social media and their smartphones before giving up their pet.

Still, you may want to start setting up your Twitter account.

Photo credit: iStock/feedough/Gingagi/Robin Taylor