Millennials: Why You Should Care About This New Generation of Pet Owners

Kara Bednarik

woman on phone with dog

Millennials (those born between 1981 and 1996) are the butt of many jokes – but that’s not entirely fair. Sure, they do strange things for social media “likes” and put avocado on things that might not need avocado, but are they really that bad? Not to the veterinary industry, they’re not.

A 2018 study by market research firm Packaged Facts found that pet owners between the ages of 18 and 40 contributed to more than half of the growth of pet owner population in the last 10 years. This age range includes those who grew up with the internet and who are well-versed in using email and texting to communicate rather than fax. This group uses Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to review experiences and conduct real-world research. By not keeping your practice relevant in these changing times, you risk losing a following of loyal pet owners – no really, they’ll stop “following” you on Facebook.

Find New Ways to Communicate and Engage

Online Scheduling

Millennials work hard. It’s tough to call and schedule an appointment for their pet’s routine check-up while running to class or in between meetings. Being able to schedule appointments online is a godsend to many people who find it difficult to break away. Plus, it allows them to view their calendar – which is most likely on the phone they need to use to call you in the first place – and increases the likelihood of them showing up instead of having to reschedule.

In a poll by Salesforce & Harris, it was found that 74% of millennials prefer making doctors appointments online. While that refers to their personal doctor appointments, that data can be transferred to their pet’s care as well. And it could actually make your practice’s day-to-day operations easier. Certified Veterinary Practice Manager (CVPM) Brenda Tassava says, “[Our receptionists] can copy and paste the information the client writes about the pet’s condition straight into the patient record, which is much faster than typing up what the receptionist thinks the client said over the phone.” She also said that it helped them break away from the phones and focus on face-to-face client care.

Social Media

The value of social media cannot be understated. We use it every day here at Embrace and we see real results. When we ask our pet parents to share pictures and use the hashtag #EmbraceYourPets, we get to see the happy pets we insure and the even happier pet parents spreading the word about our product. Similarly, we hear about our pet parent’s pain points. It gives us an opportunity to reach out to get additional information, create a personal connection, and resolve the issue as best we can.

Social medial is also helpful because people LOVE to share pictures of their pets and stories about good and bad service. If you increase your social media presence and give your clients the opportunity to share, word can quickly spread about what a fun and relevant office you run. According to Today’s Veterinary Business, if you’re sharing less than three times per week and the content isn’t relatable then you won’t engage your younger clients.

Offer Pet Insurance

This article comes to you directly from a pet insurance company and may be a tad biased – but the numbers don’t lie. We all know millennials by that name, but there’s a new one brewing into popularity. This generation is being referred to more and more as the PetGen. This has to do largely with the fact that many millennials view pets as practice for eventual human children and they’re buying houses specifically with their pets in mind (this millennial writer proudly admits that our house was purchased with our dog’s needs at the forefront). But it’s deeper than that.

A Wakefield study indicated that 75% of PetGen-ers surveyed are more likely to indulge in their pets than on themselves. Couple this with the North American Pet Health Insurance Association (NAPHIA)’s findings that 50% of pet parents are more likely to purchase pet insurance if actively recommended by their veterinarian (not to mention that insured dog owners spend 21% more and insured cat owners spend 89% more at the vet) and you’re looking at increased client compliance and a much higher bottom line.

Small changes to your practice can make big differences when it comes to retention and the valuable relationships with your millennial clients.

Mind if we pay your vet bills?

Pet health insurance is administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency, LLC and underwritten by one of the licensed insurers of American Modern Insurance Group, Inc., including American Modern Home Insurance Company d/b/a in CA as American Modern Insurance Company (Lic. No 2222-8), and American Southern Home Insurance Company. Coverage is subject to policy terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions, underwriting review, and approval, and may not be available for all risks or in all states. Rates and discounts vary, are determined by many factors, and are subject to change. Wellness Rewards is offered as a supplementary, non-insurance benefit administered by Embrace Pet Insurance Agency in the United States. © 2020 American Modern Insurance Group, Inc.  Wellness Rewards not available in Rhode Island.