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The Power of Fetch

This was my second time at Fetch. The conference itself is much smaller than WVC. The atmosphere is very different, and you get to know people. I liked it. San Diego in December was a balm to my soul since we live in Idaho, where the heavy snow was coming down, and, in a few days, the temperature was going to show below 0°. But it was 65° in San Diego.



The first session I attended was a marketing class with Bill Schroeder. I have been to his class before, and, every time, I walk out of the room with many notes and great ideas—things that I will definitely do and implement to help the clinics around the nation. My dreams are always big. Shoot for the stars; you might get there. If you don’t even try, you won’t.

Dr. Sarah Wooten’s session discussed a big study that they had conducted, which had come up with a formula for 5-star reviews. Here it is: 25% of reviews mentioned good front desk communication. 25% mentioned great doctor communication. 26% discussed the quality of administration, such as reminders, birthday cards, etc. 27% mentioned cost, 14% same day service, 19% cleanliness. Any surprises?

I finished the short Thursday with Dr. Hilal Dogan and Tasha McNerney. Their session was about coping with anesthetic loss, and Dr. Hilal Dogan’s work was recently published in a Firstline magazine on the same subject. Dr. Hilal Dogan is a nice, caring person, who shared love and meditations. Yeah, it sounds cheesy, but the industry is fast-paced; being “on call” is frustrating; and being pushed with student loans on commission-based pay can make life nerve-racking. Every clinic has a story. Every person has a story. We all make mistakes. Some, unfortunately, cost lives. Some don’t. And, for other losses of life, we are not sure if our mistakes caused them or not. Guilt…more guilt…tears…deep breath…smile…keep going.



Finally, full blast. This day started early. We actually saw a naked man walking down the street. We were in a big city, and we were not used to this! What the heck do you do? Keep walking?

In Dr. Roark’s sessions, his stories are so much fun to listen to! It all makes sense, and he makes it sound like interacting with employees can be so easy. One great sentence I have to share: “People who just come to collect the paycheck need to go. Harsh but true.” Amen.


Dr. Stacee Santi is the guru of loyalty programs. It amazes me how brilliant this lady is, and, after I got to know her a little bit, I realized she is humble, honest, and strives for the best. She even has her own app for loyalty programs—one of the first on the market. Amazing.

With a loyalty program, you will see 18% more in revenue and 28% extra visits. You can start with a simple point system. For every $100 spent, clients receive a point. After they have received ten points, they get a $100 credit from your business. Only 3.5% of clients will actually reach the reward, and those who do will bring you an extra $621 a year in revenue. Here are some rules to stick to:

  1. Keep it simple – if it’s too complicated, it won’t drive behavior.
  2. Keep it universal – whether you own a dog or a cat, are young or old, everyone can participate.
  3. Keep it attainable – good clients should get the reward in a reasonable amount of time.
  4. Make it a high-value reward – the reward needs to be something everyone wants.
  5. Gamify it – when the client is required to take action, the result is more powerful. That way, it’s not just discounting. So, for instance, a client could unlock the reward by making wellness appointments, and, in return, them seeing a $100 credit, as opposed to a discount, is a totally different feeling.


On Friday night, we heard Dr. Dave Nicole and Dr. Andy Roark speak on “How to Manage Your Staff.” The room was completely full. I love their perspective.

I could go on and on about Saturday and Sunday. But I will leave that for some other day. I would like to encourage each one of you to get out of your town and go to a national conference. Meet people; make a friend; be a sponge. And, if you are a veterinarian, I know it’s sometimes hard to make your way to the management side of the business since there is so much to learn on the medical side. Take one or two classes from practice management. You will be glad you did.

Mira Johnson, CPA

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