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November 15, 2021

New e-book reveals the best language to use with clients

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The way veterinary teams talk with pet owners about veterinary care can influence owners’ perceptions about the value and importance of regular preventive care for pets.

This is what AVMA research with pet owners across the United States has revealed. A new e-book, “Language That Works: Changing the Way We Talk About Veterinary Care,” compiles the practical lessons from this research into a resource for veterinary teams.

The e-book offers a close look at specific words and phrases that work—and don’t work—when talking with pet owners. The book aims to help team members improve client communication skills to better connect with clients, build trust, have honest discussions about cost of care, and ultimately provide better, more customized care.

Dog being examined in a veterinary clinic

For example, “41% of pet owners chose ‘check-ups’ as the best way to talk about wellness visits,” according to the e-book. “It feels all-encompassing, and suggests they’ll leave the veterinarian feeling reassured about their pet’s health. They describe the language as a hopeful way of conveying the importance of protecting their pet from problems down the road—without using scare tactics.” Another 31% of pet owners did choose “wellness visits” as their preferred terminology for this kind of appointment, while 24% chose “visits,” and 4% chose “appointments.”

In another example, the book recommends saying, “Veterinary care is one of the best ways to keep your pet healthy and happy for years to come.” Don’t say, “Veterinary care is a responsibility that comes along with being a pet owner.”

The new e-book is the first in a library of resources that the AVMA is creating as part of its Language of Veterinary Care Initiative, made possible in part by educational funding from CareCredit and Pets Best. The AVMA partnered with Maslansky + Partners, a language strategy firm, to conduct language-focused research with pet owners across the United States. The results from that research are the basis for much of the e-book.

“Language That Works” provides tips on how to use specific language that resonates with clients in daily conversations in these key areas:

  • Why to go to the veterinarian.
  • When to go to the veterinarian.
  • What you get from a veterinarian.
  • How to pay for veterinary services.

The new book is a guide for the whole team to use when discussing the value of veterinary medicine and encouraging pet owners to prioritize wellness visits.

Available to AVMA members, the e-book can be viewed at avma.org/LanguageOfCare and downloaded for offline use by the whole team.