I am thrilled to bring you this episode featuring a special guest, Dr. Stacee Santi. With her 20 years of experience as a veterinarian and her expertise in marketing, Dr. Santi is the founder of Vet to Pet and has developed the concept of the seven love languages of client loyalty. Trust me, this is a topic that holds immense value for veterinary hospitals.
During our conversation, Dr. Santi shared insights on how understanding and catering to clients' individual love languages can help build strong relationships and provide value. We discussed the importance of delivering value in various areas, not just through loyalty programs. Dr. Santi also introduced the concept of taking the path of least resistance when designing systems for veterinary practices, highlighting the need to reduce friction and make processes more efficient.
We delved into the seven love languages in veterinary medicine, including convenience, communication, accessibility, trust, education, and more. Dr. Santi emphasized the significance of empathizing with clients and tailoring marketing messaging and website content to their preferred communication styles. And to top it off, she introduced her new course, which aims to improve veterinary teams' communication skills and understanding of client needs.
In a nutshell, implementing the seven love languages of client loyalty can revolutionize the way veterinary practices operate, leading to stronger client relationships, improved loyalty, and a more successful practice. So, join me in this episode as we dive deep into this fascinating topic with Dr. Stacee Santi.
Brandon Breshears (00:00:02) - Welcome to the Veterinary Marketing Podcast, where it's all about how to attract, engage, and retain clients to your vendor hospitals using digital marketing. In today's episode, we have a special guest. It is Dr. Stacee Santi who is talking all about the client love languages of loyalty, and it's a really valuable episode. I think this needs to be talked about more. It's really insightful and it's going to be very practical for your veteran hospital. So before we get into today's episode, we have two sponsors for the podcast. This episode is being sponsored by the International Veterinary Dentistry Institute and Veterinary Dentistry dot net. If you're a veterinarian or you have veterans that you work with who struggle with dentistry, or who'd like to be more confident when it comes to dental procedures, then you definitely should go to Ivdi. Org forward slash Vmp that is ivdi.org/vmp to sign up for a free upcoming live training that's going to go far beyond your average dentistry seminar. This is the gateway to the Veterinary Dental Practitioner Program, an intensive masterclass program that is a comprehensive initiative designed to enrich veterinary associate skills while empowering practice managers practice owners to take their practice to new heights.
Brandon Breshears (00:01:19) - This live training is going to be conducted by board certified veterinary dentist Dr. Brett Beckman. He's been on the podcast twice and is incredibly talented teacher and educator. He's going to dive deep into actual cases. He's going to dissect all the vital components of effective dentistry, case management, and this is going to give you some really direct insight and a clear blueprint to improve your prowess in veterinary dentistry. So if you're ready to elevate your practice and your professional skills, simply go to ivdi.org/vmp. This is going to be the golden opportunity that helps you to make a significant impact in your practice. It's going to help to give your patients and your clients better care. And it's also going to improve the personal professional development that you have in your career. Go to ivdi.org/vmp. This episode is being sponsored by two websites by Brad Haven. We have used VR equipment and new VR equipment for over nine years now used that equipment has been helping vets to buy and sell used equipment. You can save money when you buy.
Brandon Breshears (00:02:27) - Used everything from cages, kennels, pumps, X-ray equipment, lasers, ultrasounds, dental equipment, surgery equipment, lab equipment from a boxes and tables, tubs and sinks, vet trucks and vet boxes. What do you have to sell at used vet equipment? They bring the buyer and seller together. Also, if you're looking for a new vet equipment with amazing warranties, check out new vet equipment where they show you the price up front. They have digital X-ray equipment, dental X-ray equipment, ultrasound equipment, surgery, lighting, surgery tables, autoclaves. When you go to new vet equipment, you'll clearly see the price on every single item for sale and you'll also know what the warranty is. All right, so if you've not heard of Dr. Stacee Santi., she's been on the podcast once before, but if you've never heard of her, she's a 20 year veterinarian. She has tons of experience in practice. She's also the founder of Vet to Pet, which she sold, which was an app company that built apps for and still is for vendor hospitals.
Brandon Breshears (00:03:24) - But she knows a lot about marketing, and I found her videos on LinkedIn super interesting and super helpful. But she's developed the seven love languages of client loyalty. And there's of course, that she has developed with it, which is really great. That can be worked into your teams trainings and things. But I think that there's so many valuable lessons here in today's episode. I think especially when I was thinking about and talking through this with Stacee, she was talking about all these things, and I started to apply this also to my own business. So it doesn't matter what business you're in, but especially for veterinary teams, I think so many times people typically go about communicating the way that they like to be communicated with or engaging with clients, and so we'll prioritize certain things over other things. And the insight that she shares is how to really develop strong relationships with your clients and actually provide more value. So how do we provide better experiences in our marketing, in our service, so that our clients can actually not only feel the difference, but also see a difference when it comes to your practice? Because I think that's probably the biggest problem that I face with marketing veteran hospitals is how do we actually convey and communicate that we treat our pet your pets differently, or how do we provide better service? And what does that tangibly and practically look like? And so the the insight that she shares, I think, are some actual, tangible, practical ways to market your practice in a way that's going to make the client bond better and actually stand out so that you can provide better care through your practice.
Brandon Breshears (00:05:00) - So without further ado, here is the episode with Doctor Stacee Santi. All right. Thank you so much, Dr. Santi, for being on the podcast again. I really, really appreciate it. It's been a while and I'm excited to have you back here. So thank you. Thank you. So can you just give people a 62nd rundown of your past? You've done so much in the veterinary industry and I'm sure most people know you, but for those who don't, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Stacee Santi (00:05:26) - Yes. So I am a veterinarian by trade and heart. I practiced for 20 years, and then I ended up starting an app company called Vet to Pet, where we were building client engagement mobile apps for veterinary practices. So the pet owner and the vet could connect and do things like book appointments, get refills, build loyalty, ask a question, all that sort of stuff. And then I sold that company to Vet source. It was official earlier this year of 2023, and now I'm just goofing off.
Brandon Breshears (00:06:01) - Well, that's part of the reason why I wanted to have you on, because you've been doing this really, I think fantastic series about the seven love languages of customer service. It's customer service, right?
Stacee Santi (00:06:12) - Yes. Client loyalty. And that's really what my app company was about. It's what my career has been about, is just trying to facilitate and strengthen the bond between the veterinarian and the pet owner.
Brandon Breshears (00:06:26) - Definitely. So with there's I'm I'm sure your intent wasn't about marketing, but I've been seeing so many marketing messages in there and working with clients and running ads for them and things. A lot of times they just kind of want you to bring like high paying clients, just like I just want more high paying clients. But it doesn't necessarily work like that. People don't want to pay for things that is not actually a premium service. And so can you kind of just give a quick overview of kind of the general concepts, and then we'll dive into some of the specifics that I think are really. Beneficial for people.
Brandon Breshears (00:07:00) - I mean, there's just so much in there. Every video that you're posting on LinkedIn is really good. I think it's amazing.
Stacee Santi (00:07:06) - Well thank you. You never know if anybody's even looking at that stuff. So, you know, I end at my practice, I really had huge success with a loyalty program. And this is where, you know, clients earn loyalty points, and then they can redeem them for rewards. And this really built a ton of loyalty for me at my clinic. However, you can't have a loyalty program unless you're good at all. The other stuff of bringing value to your clients and the value. You know the seven Love Languages, which I riffed off this book, the Five Love Languages after I got a divorce. I learned all about this book, but I feel like every client or pet owner has their own 1 or 2 love languages, if you will, that resonate value to them. And it's really not money. I mean, it might seem like it's money, and to some people maybe it's just a transactional cash, you know, just a transactional event.
Stacee Santi (00:08:06) - But for the clients who are going after that, we're building relationships with, they have ways that they feel valued and appreciated and that they find value in your services. And so the whole series is just meant to explore what those key seven points are that can help you grow like, like identify and obtain your clients.
Brandon Breshears (00:08:31) - So what's the best way, in your opinion, to identify one of these love languages for clients?
Stacee Santi (00:08:38) - Well, you have to get to know your clients. I think so many of the and I'm a technology girl, so I'm, I'm not really trying to discourage people from embracing technology, but you've got to use technology. So it frees you up to build a relationship with your clients. You can't use technology to in substitution of doing that face to face work, but you kind of have to get to know your clients. You know, you have to ask them questions and figure out what kind of person they are. Do they like a lot of information or are they more bullet points? Do they like, are they super worried about their pet that they want extra, you know, updates on their pet? Are they more focused on, you know, being strapped for cash? Like you just have to know who they are and a little bit about them, you know, and then once you know them and you treat them like a friend, you can start to see what levers you can pull that really resonate with them.
Brandon Breshears (00:09:40) - Totally makes sense. I think people especially, again, kind of coming back to the experience that I have and I think why it resonated so much is, you know, people just want the clients to show up and then kind of just comply and then always come back, but really just follow the exact path that I've laid out that I want. And I don't want to make accommodations or changes based on like the best kind of service that other people want. And I think the veterinary industry is a little bit guilty of just trying to fit people through a single path, rather than trying to make conversion paths that are more mainstream. I mean, if you look at consumer behavior in pretty much any other type of business and service business, every other service business is really being accommodating with, you know, communication methods and appointment methods and booking methods and payment methods, shopping. And it definitely seems like everybody's kind of kind of just trying to continue just the way that it's always been. And I really like the example you're talking about with your, your bank parking lot where they had the sign that said no left turn, but everybody turns left there.
Brandon Breshears (00:10:51) - Can you kind of tell us about that with relation to, you know, your, your veterinary practice and things?
Stacee Santi (00:10:58) - So people I've just observed over the years, people take the path of least resistance. Almost always. Mean occasionally you have these people that want to climb Mount Everest and do these other sorts of things, but most of us are going to take the escalator over the stairs, right? We're just we're we're that we're trying to save time, money. We're just going to take the path of least resistance. So in my bank in Colorado, it's funny because there's like ten signs at the drive through to tell you to turn right, but all the locals turn left because turning right dumps you into the main street, and you get stuck in all these touristy traps and the train going by and all this. But if you break the rule little and go left, you're right on the main road. And I think when it comes to building out systems for your practice, for your clients and your team for that matter, you've got to look at the path of least resistance, because that's what people are going to take.
Stacee Santi (00:11:57) - Almost always, they're just drawn to that. And if you've got if you have too much friction on your systems that you've built, you'll know it. You'll know it because people aren't complying. And when they don't comply, it's not because they're directly trying to assault you and rub you the wrong way. It's because they they're looking for an easier way.
Brandon Breshears (00:12:21) - Definitely. And so obviously people not complying is an easy way to find those kind of friction points. What do you think are some of the other ways that people can find these friction points that are really helpful and practical?
Stacee Santi (00:12:36) - Well, if you're a practice manager and you're trying to roll out a new program, a new form, maybe with your team, a new process, and you're just getting a lot of people say things like, why do we have to do this? I don't understand, or they're flat out just not doing it. And you're like, no, just do it this way. That's a sign. Um, if you have, you know, like at my practice in Durango, we thought it would be great to have cat people come in one door and dog people come in another door.
Stacee Santi (00:13:05) - So, yeah, have the doors, but they just come in the front door like they don't want to walk all the way around because maybe they don't understand the benefit, or maybe they just want the easiest way into the clinic. So you have to look at workflows. You have to watch people. And I find that, you know, a lot of people, most of our people are nice. Most of our clients are kind and nice. They don't want to ruffle feathers, you know. Of course, you know, we could have a whole nother podcast on the jerks of veterinary medicine, but most of the clients are pretty good people, and they aren't going to tell you straight out. But if you see that things aren't getting done, or they're getting done differently than the way you imagined, then, then you have a clear indicator of something that could use some some attention.
Brandon Breshears (00:13:55) - Definitely. That makes a lot of sense. When I went to college, there was this pathway that had this really winding sidewalk, and over the top in the middle, people would just walk right through.
Brandon Breshears (00:14:03) - And so there was just a path of one straight through there. So it was easy way to tell. And that makes a lot of sense but haven't worked in practice. So don't know those things that you know totally.
Stacee Santi (00:14:13) - If you just hang out like a fly on the wall, even in your own treatment room, you will see what's going on, that people are cutting corners because they're trying to be productive. And they if systems and policies don't make sense, people usually will figure a workaround.
Brandon Breshears (00:14:31) - But definitely think that systems and policies should reflect, think, practice and make it easier, not harder. And so I think that whole experience will provide more value from from a branding and marketing perspective too. So for most of these things that are in your seven love languages, are they mostly system based or are they relationship based, or how do you implement majority of these changes in your practice?
Stacee Santi (00:14:56) - Well, it's a combination. I think when I created the seven level of Loyalty, what I was really thinking about when I put myself in that situation of defining these was what what do clients really care about? And I thought about my 20 year career and all the different types of clients I had.
Stacee Santi (00:15:18) - And there's kind of a persona I could put on each of those love languages, but a lot of it is building out systems that resonate for people with that love language. So if if their love language is convenience, maybe you've got a mom. She's super busy. She doesn't have time to do all these things that, you know, maybe Carol can do, who's retired and she just likes to come in every week and buy five cans of cat food and visit like they're totally different people. So for the busy mom, I'm going to build out, you know, maybe I keep my curbside. Pick up spot in my front of my clinic because I could see that being a major convenience for her when she can just pull up and text the practice, and we bring the food and the refill meds out to the car for her so she doesn't have to unstrap the kids and come in. But you know, the other client, Carol, my senior client, she's not going to want that. She's going to want us to have a cup of coffee for her, because we know she likes that and greet her when she comes in and spend a little more time.
Stacee Santi (00:16:25) - So there's just so many different types of clients some care about. Um, most of them actually care about accessibility. They want to access the practice, they want the information, and they want to have a channel to reach out and get information without always having to come into the clinic. Others want convenience. Others want great communication. They really value knowledge transfer and understanding. Some just want to trust you. They want to know that they don't have to wonder what your motives are. And some people want a good education. They want you to remind them to do stuff because they need a personal assistant, basically. So there's just a whole bunch of different things that people value. And and the thing too is people may change what they value over time. I've certainly seen that, you know, you go from having the classic ranch dog till you get like, you know, little teacup poodle now and you kind of change what you need for those patients based on what kind of patient you have, pet you have, and then also where you are in your life, you know, if I'm a super busy, like I was totally super busy just a few years ago, and now I'm like, okay, I'd like to hang out and visit a little more and go have a more chill conversation at the clinic.
Stacee Santi (00:17:50) - So you have to know what's going on with your clients. Yeah.
Brandon Breshears (00:17:55) - So along those lines, do you think it's better? Especially I'm super interested in your answer here because you worked in practice and things. Do you think it's better to have a practice that kind of mutates based on the client, or do you think it's better to attract a specific type of love language client? So like I have certain clients that are really education heavy. And so we use messaging and marketing that tries to just attract those types of clients that want to spend time and know every detail about what's going on versus, you know, people that are looking for convenience and quick drop off and convenient pickup and stuff like that. So do you think you should target people that are more aligned with how you communicate and present, or do you think you should be kind of like changing?
Stacee Santi (00:18:36) - Well, I think somewhat depends on your demographic. You know, where you're where you live. You know, I live in Durango, Colorado. I can hope and wish all day that I get certain kind of client.
Stacee Santi (00:18:47) - But the fact is I need a large volume of clients, so I'm going to have to service sort of a wider spread if I live in the city and there's, you know, four clinics within a mile. Yeah, I can be a bit more choosy. And it's it's finding that sweet spot. What you don't want to do is try to be everything to everybody. Even in a small town. I always say like, you're not pizza. You can't make everybody happy. And the worst thing on both sides, the pet owner side and the vet side is if the client wants, you know, a Ritz-Carlton experience and you're not capable of delivering that, or they want more of a, you know, Days Inn experience and you're trying to deliver a Ritz-Carlton. It's a mismatch. And that's going to leave everybody unhappy. I mean, remember at my clinic one time this guy came in and his dog had a horrible, horrible dental disease and he just wanted the three year rabies shot. And he hadn't been in it for three years.
Stacee Santi (00:19:52) - Every three years you came in, that's what he wanted. And he's. I try to tell him like, oh, you have to, we have to do this dental thing. Like, your dog's really in a bad spot. And he's like, listen, I just want three. Be sure. And I told them, you're in the wrong place, man. Like we are a mismatch. You should be going to the vaccine clinic. Like. Yeah, I'm not being shitty about it. I'm just saying, like, me just giving you a rabies shot doesn't fulfill my purpose. Yeah. And me recommending a, you know, $1,000 dental doesn't resonate with you, so we're definitely on the wrong page. Yeah. And it's okay to have those kinds of standards. You just have to know what they are and you have to evangelize them. If those are your standards, you need to recognize and promote them, and you need to alert people when they're in the wrong area.
Brandon Breshears (00:20:45) - Definitely think frustration pops up.
Brandon Breshears (00:20:47) - And, you know, hopefully people don't eat it until it's too late and then it blows up type of a thing. But if you're communicating that like early and often, I think that's, you know, across your whole kind of campaign and all of your marketing materials, that definitely makes sense.
Stacee Santi (00:21:14) - Let's just go. Well, think to that. This is one of the reasons that. And I'll just say this because I lived it and I was it. Veterinary teams are so judgy. You know, we're super judgy of people, and it's, you know, I hear I was just I hear all the time. I was just in my old clinic recently with my dog and, you know, it's like, oh, she's a really good pet owner. Oh, he's not a very good pet owner. And, you know, we assign these labels to people based on if they're doing what we think they should be doing. And of course, there are some people who are terrible pet owners.
Stacee Santi (00:21:53) - I'm not going to say there aren't, but there are also lots of clients that aren't taking your recommendations for reasons you may not have taken the time to understand. And then you just say they are bad pet owners and they're not. They're not bad pet owners. They just have challenges that maybe you're not hitting on their love language and they don't get it. And they're they're looking for something else. And we always default to price. Like that's our scapegoat. Oh they can't afford it. Well, maybe maybe you didn't do a great job explaining it. Or maybe you didn't take the time to understand what kind of challenges they have at home, for why they can't or can't do something like a classic. One is, you know, giving your pet the medication. But think sometimes we don't take the time to understand. Can you give the pet the medication? Yep. Is it possible for you to do these sorts of things.
Brandon Breshears (00:22:54) - For your niece, who does not take pills? Even if I hide them in things I don't know? So I get that feel that definitely.
Stacee Santi (00:23:01) - So if you came in to the clinic and you didn't give the medication three times a day like you were prescribed, then we're going to be like, mm. He wasn't a great pet owner, but maybe like, we haven't walked in your shoes and it's hard.
Brandon Breshears (00:23:16) - Definitely. She's a rambunctious pup, that's for sure. And huge. But yeah, that that totally makes sense. I think people forget that, you know, you have to earn. You know, credibility with clients, and you have to earn the context that people will take your advice. And I think the seven love languages is like a shortcut to that, because you're speaking to them how they how they value being communicated with and things. So I think it just makes a ton of sense and it would help your marketing messaging. And I think too, if it was consistent throughout the whole thing. So there was like, you have plenty of space on a website, and everybody pretty much makes their websites like exactly the same as the one down the street.
Brandon Breshears (00:23:56) - And so if you could design and develop, you know, different sections for people who value, you know, certain certain features and benefits, it makes a lot of sense.
Stacee Santi (00:24:05) - I mean, if we could just please stop listing all the services on the website, mean I really wish that veterinary veterinary practices would maybe say, if you're the kind of person that likes this and list out the things that you as the provider. You know, find that fill your bucket to provide like you like education. You like, you know, getting to the bottom of the problem. You you like, you know, detailed treatment plans, whatever the client is that you're seeking to serve, just describe that client in that way. People will understand if they're in the right place or not. But you're saying, I have a lab work, I have x ray machine, I have I have IV fluids in the dental suite. Like that doesn't really tell me much as a consumer.
Brandon Breshears (00:25:03) - Yeah, agreed. The pardon me, the philosophy around care is, I think, so much more important than the actual things because people don't know, like, what is the lab? I don't know what that's for.
Brandon Breshears (00:25:13) - What do you run like, what do you check for? And even if you did know that context, it wouldn't be of any value because you don't know what you don't know. And same thing with wellness exams. It's not, you know, people that are not the veteran don't know what goes into that. So talking about the approach and the philosophy is I think a lot more important for sure. But I think people do that for SEO and it's, you know, making making a website for a robot.
Stacee Santi (00:25:38) - You can still have all that, but you need to have the like even when the client comes into your clinic, especially if it's a first time client. But if it's a client you haven't seen in a while to like, and you don't really have a, you don't know them yet and you're getting to know them, you can just tell them what kind of person you are. This is the kind of vet I am. This is does what kind of stuff do you like? Easy one.
Stacee Santi (00:26:01) - Easy is. How do you like me to communicate with you? Are you a bullet point person or do you prefer in depth? You know, discussion and descriptions of things? Because I can do either one. And then and then people can tell you and then you can respond appropriately because, you know, if you're a bullet person, a bullet listed person, and someone starts giving you the novel version like you check out, right, you brain is capable of comprehending this. And if you're the opposite, you like details, all the details, and I just give you the bullet points. You're going to think I'm being a little, you know, short with you or don't maybe know my stuff as well as you wished I did.
Brandon Breshears (00:26:47) - Not totally makes sense, and I think that's so valuable. So can you describe the new course that you made and how people can find it and who it's for and what it includes and everything like that?
Stacee Santi (00:26:57) - Oh, yeah. It's so exciting. Okay. So it's it's a it's a lecture I give it takes 2 or 3 hours, but I chopped it up into seven, 15 minute bits.
Stacee Santi (00:27:08) - So there are seven love language, seven love languages. So you have a 15 minute video that talks about the love language. And then it comes with a discussion guide for the manager. So it's intended for a whole team. You play the video at a team meeting. The manager has some discussion questions to riff off of, and I encourage like up to three discussion questions, because we're only going to talk for about 15 minutes because we don't have all day. And then at the end there's an idea ranking form which is provided where you pass this out to the team members and they can vote on their favorite idea. So if you have seven of these meetings over the course of a year, at the end you'll have seven, like real, tangible ideas that your team is behind that can elevate your practice and make you a better communicator and better, better at understanding what the client needs and building a stronger experience.
Brandon Breshears (00:28:10) - Really, really cool. I'm sure it would have a huge impact on customer service and just everybody being happier.
Brandon Breshears (00:28:16) - And you know when you're able to serve the clients better and get better outcomes. I think everybody is happier to do good work that is has a good outcome and a better chance for it to definitely. Yeah.
Stacee Santi (00:28:28) - Now help you identify areas of frustration that probably just need a little reworking on the workflow. There are some friction there. There's something not, you know, dialed in just right, so you can start to have meaningful discussions about those things.
Brandon Breshears (00:28:43) - That's very cool. So where can people go to to find it and sign up for it?
Stacee Santi (00:28:48) - So you can go to Ivette so hard and it's just under the team course. And also if you want to get more information like this, you can just check out our podcast at Bet. So hardcore.
Brandon Breshears (00:29:00) - Very cool. Well thank you so much for your time. I think it's really helpful and awesome that you've been building this out. So thank you so much and really appreciate it.
Stacee Santi (00:29:09) - Thank you. Have a great day everybody.