Combining Paper Communications and Mobile Technology to Connect with Pet Owners

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Partner Spotlight:  Vetco

Petco Animal Supplies Inc. ‘s Director of Vetco Marketing and Customer Service’s Laurie Frake

Vetco provides veterinary services at many of Petco Animal Supplies Inc.’s 1,500 stores. Vetco uses a pop-up clinic model to offer prevention and wellness services, including free wellness exams, vaccinations and diagnostic testing. A client of Nordis since 2013, Vetco relies on printed flyers, customized with the days and times for each store, to notify pet owners when veterinarians will be available as they travel among area stores. Now using its high-speed, continuous color inkjet printer, Nordis prints 3.5 million of these pieces a month for Vetco, which are added to each bagged Petco retail purchase during checkout.

How important is technology to growing your business?

Technology is extremely important to growing our business. We’re mobile so our technology is mobile, too. It enables us to maintain a real-time data set of each pet’s medical history. We use tablets connected to a cloud-based system to record pet vitals including current temperature, respiration, and weight and the services they receive, such as getting a microchip, vaccinations or blood test results.  Not only is this information available for our veterinarians, but we make it digitally available to pet owners as well. On our Vetco website, pet owners can find digital rabies certificates, vaccination records, and more, which then enable them to communicate with groomers and boarding facilities easily.

We also use a proprietary system that allows our doctors to review and register for shifts. Expresso is tied into that system. It receives the data of where and when our doctors will be in a Petco store and uses that data to dynamically print the flyers with the schedules unique to each location. These bag stuffers are our primary advertising tool for creating awareness.

What is your organization doing to improve the customer journey?

We are most definitely focused on the customer journey and improving the customer experience and customer communications. Our primary focus for improving satisfaction is improving the experience at the clinic. We have a first come, first served model so it can be daunting to queue up. We are using technology to make it better. Over the past year, we’ve rolled out a text messaging system, like you see in some restaurants, so people can shop in the store or take their pet outside, and we text them to let them know the doctor is ready to see them.

How do customer communications fit into your future plans?

Customer communications is really important to our business. Pets need services on a specific-timed basis, such as vaccinations and tests. We communicate via email about due dates for the next vaccinations, blood tests, expiring prescriptions. We are also looking at text reminders but we are still gathering our customers’ mobile data and permissions.

How do you see the use of technology changing veterinary services?

The use of technology is changing veterinary services in a couple of ways. First, like human healthcare, doctors have historically used paper file folders for pets’ medical histories. The shift to digital records is still occurring. We are a step ahead of the industry because we also make digital records available to our pet owners in a user-friendly way.

The second big tech-enabled move is to online pharmacies for managing pet medications. People rarely walk out of their doctor’s office with written prescriptions and it’s definitely similar in the veterinary industry. This way, doctors don’t have to maintain inventories and they may have set up their own online pharmacies. Vetco has a limited formulary available at point of service as well as an online pharmacy.

What would surprise people about Vetco?

The biggest surprise is its affordability. With thousands of veterinarians who work for us as independent contractors, we provide veterinary services for more than 750,000 cats and dogs every year. That makes us one of the largest providers of pet wellness and preventive care.

What’s your favorite Expresso tip or feature?

My all-time favorite Expresso feature is the ability to review an entire print file or spot check certain records using Review Output. I can dive in at any level. I can push half or all of the project to production without having to reprocess the entire file. I don’t have to wait for someone else to do something. I have complete control over what happens to my print projects. Self-provisioning is probably my favorite feature.

What results have you seen since you began your partnership with Nordis?

Before, I was responsible for pushing around proofs and getting store-level approvals for each flyer. With Expresso, I stepped out of proof management and administration and now use Expresso to manage this process. That was huge for me.

The responsiveness of the Nordis team, coupled with the technology, makes it possible to quickly and easily produce our customer communications. We have worked with Nordis to automate our workflow so that we can set it and forget it for months or change things on a dime.

We are in the early stages of expanding our veterinary services beyond Petco, teaming up with other retailers including grocery stores. The pilots for these came up really quickly. Expresso’s flexibility coupled with Nordis’ ability to respond in a timely and quality manner will make expanding our flyer communications to these new locations that much easier.

How are you taking advantage of Nordis’ cutting-edge printing technology?

Until recently, we were using pre-printed color shells onto which Nordis used black & white laser equipment to imprint the variable data. We’ve recently transitioned to real-time variable color inkjet printing using Nordis’ new roll-fed equipment. Our next move is to create new document templates which will allow us to create more customized and personalized flyers for each demographic, geography or store brand.