The Trailblazers for Climate Action in the Veterinary Industry.
Chasing premier animal healthcare is the team behind South Wairarapa Veterinary Services. We sat down with Equine Veterinarian Katie to explore their impressive offering and experience with Storbie
Introducing South Wairarapa Veterinary Services
From the family to the farm, South Wairarapa Veterinary Services (SWVets) provide comprehensive care for all species of animals - production, lifestyle, pleasure, and companion. Operating for almost 40 years and providing first-rate animal care through 4 clinics and 65 staff members across the Wairarapa, SWVets are trailblazers in the veterinary industry.
First and foremost, SWVets is a veterinary practice with a mission to be the premier animal health team. You’d think that with multiple clinics providing health care to all animals, it would be difficult to extend their already impressive offering, right? Wrong.
“We've had a huge focus on our practice culture for the last three to five years, and subsequently the team culture has really benefited. We employ people with a particular aim in mind - to provide that premier service. All our staff support us in that our goal, and we in turn support their goals. Because of that we're able to provide an exceptional service to our clients.”
SWVets are not only striving to provide the best veterinary service, but also to be the best business they can be. For them this means 2 key practices. Firstly, they believe and invest in their people. Secondly, they embrace technology wherever they can to ensure the business can both support the needs of the staff and adjust to the demands of the market.
Let’s explore the journey of this extraordinary veterinary practice.
Pushing the boundaries of tech
SWVets are far from afraid of the digital space. They’re quick to explore and trial digital solutions which offer new aspects to their online presence and are always seeking out ways to stay relevant to the market.
They’ve taken to social media and have amassed a strong presence on both Instagram and Facebook - the latter boasting an impressive 2,800 likes and over 3,000 followers. They’ve even dabbled in Twitter and a mobile app - although these online solutions weren’t a strong fit for their needs. SWVets are certainly willing and ready to push the boundaries and explore their online presence, which is why their logical next step was a website.
“We had two main motivators for the website. One was resource driven, to take some of the burden off the receptionists, and the other was service driven, so we can offer our clients a modern experience.”
How can a website elevate an extensive in-person offering such as SWVets’? Storbie had the answers in the form of a veterinary-tailored website solution.
SWVets knew they were interested in drop-shipping through SVS and Storbie made it possible with its complete integration. SWVets are now able to access the full power of online retail without any of the manual work needed to manage, pack and ship online orders. Meanwhile, their clients gain access to a wide range of products at a great price, conveniently delivered direct to their door.
Providing advanced customer service is a priority for SWVets, which is made possible with Storbie’s integration with Virtual Vet Nurse. Their clients can get 24/7 support with their online shopping needs and commonly asked questions through an artificially intelligent on-website virtual assistant.
The expertise SWVets provide in-person can also be offered online through Storbie’s Pet Care Info pack. Full of articles that are pre-written and curated by trusted industry bodies such as the New Zealand Veterinary Assocation, the Info pack means they can easily populate their website with rich content for pet owners that can answer many of their common queries.
All these features combined create a well-rounded website solution which fulfills the needs of SWVets.
“We did a demo, and it ticked all the boxes for us. Everything was explained really well, especially for people that aren’t trained in the IT field. Storbie supports SVS dropshipping, requires little input from us, and we couldn’t really see a fault with it at all.”
Now, SWVets have a website solution which not only supports the success of their clinics but is also a representation and extension of the high standard of service they pride themselves on.
People driven change
SWVets’ mission is to be the premier animal health care team, which means a strong focus on the staff behind it all. So, when staff members started to show a strong concern for climate change, the SWVets team thought up ways they could make a difference together and a game plan was quickly put into action.
Their first step was a carbon footprint check to get an accurate assessment of their impact on the environment. Since then, they’ve implemented a range of steps such as making agreements with their suppliers so that products are sent to them with less plastic wrappings, recycling used syringes and containers through Zoetis’ recycling scheme, reusing fluid bags as wet-weather bandage covers - and that’s only the beginning.
Showing that're not afraid of climate commitment, they closed their clinics for half a day and ran an emergency clinic to cover their clients' needs so that the rest of their staff could run an off-site climate activity. Taking to a QEII covenant, the SWVets team planted 620 native plants which will be protected into the perpetual future and works to partially offset their carbon out-puts for the year.
Not only do SWVets know that they’re doing their part in addressing the climate crisis, but they also know they’re doing meaningful work which their staff members will feel passionate, engaged, and fulfilled from doing.
Secret to Success
With 4 clinics, an ecommerce empowered website, and forward-thinking work in the climate awareness space, SWVets are certainly ones to watch in the veterinary industry. When we asked what their golden nugget of advice would be for other community focused businesses such as theirs, their advice was to charge forward without fear.
“We would really encourage people to keep pushing forward and to try all these new things. If they don't work out, you can always move on to something else or go back to where you were. But I think if you don't try the new technology that's coming out, then you will fall behind.”
Whether it be trialing new technology in your business practices, taking on some bottom-up change, or adjusting your organisational direction, the key teaching here is to simply give it a go. If you don’t forge ahead, you’ll be left behind.
If you want to learn more about SWVets climate action journey and get some ideas on how you can embark on your own, watch the video below which highlights some of their recent work.
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