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West Wales Vet Builds ‘Rapport’ with Technology

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Whether it’s looking after lions at Folly Farm, treating a golden retriever puppy or providing 24 hour care to farm animals and local pets; Carmarthenshire veterinary practice Allen & Partners goes the extra mile. Passionate about animal welfare, it runs a free weekly Podgy Pet Club and is one of the few vets in the area to provide laser therapy aftercare to speed up patient recovery.

Digital technology provided the solution

With its growing list of patients, an onsite lab to manage, and being on call 24/7, the vets needed a solution to reduce the stress involved with running a busy practice, and to help increase its interaction with its customers. And digital technology was the unlikely hero. A new software system was introduced, social media embraced, and specialist advice sought through the Welsh Government’s Superfast Business Wales initiative.

Practice staff attended a digital workshop run by Superfast Business Wales to better use social media to engage animal lovers. They also received one-to-one advice on website development, analytics, online and e-mail marketing. The team felt that communicating with customers via social media would support and nurture relationships with their clients. It would also allow customers to share their stories and thank you messages with the wider community.

We’ve saved time and become more efficient

Prior to accessing SFBW support, Allen and Partner vets received an influx of new customers and in response, the practice decided to invest in ‘Rapport’, an online tool specifically for vets which manages stock, provides an online booking facility and sends out automated appointment reminders to customers.

Rapport freed up huge amounts of time for the practice staff, allowing them to focus on organising each vets diary, from attending emergencies such as road traffic accidents and difficult calvings, to their routine appointments. But to get the best out of its various features, it needed a fast and reliable internet connection. Suffering with an intermittent connection was stopping surgeons from carrying out important research including their access to medicine dosage rates and sharing information on complex cases.

Based in Whitland, Carmarthenshire, Allen & Partners was established in 1989 and run from the home of its founding partner, W.G Allen. Almost 30 years later, the practice employs 20 members of staff – including nine vets and a nursing team – and provides medical care for small animals and farm livestock, as well as the occasional exotic species.

We can provide the best quality care for our pets

“The new software, together with the reliability of the fibre broadband connection has had a really positive impact on how we operate day-to-day,” said Judy Bellingham, marketing coordinator for the practice. “The old connection used to cause problems for the vets who needed quick and easy access to the internet for their procedures, but now this is virtually seamless.

“Additionally, with our customers being able to book appointments online it makes it easier to fit in with their busy lives and the reminders that are sent out ensure far fewer of those appointments are missed. It gives our pet owners greater confidence that their pets will get the best quality treatment, and on time.

“We’re really keen to develop e-marketing materials, such as a monthly or quarterly e-newsletter, alongside our improved social media presence. We schedule posts in advance on Facebook and share relevant and timely news and stories, in particular for local livestock and companion animal owners’. The technological strides we’ve made as a business in the past couple of years have been quite significant, both adding to the efficiency of what we do and improving the service we provide for our customers.”