We’ve focused a lot on eCommerce lately, sharing stories of innovative brands using social proof to capitalise on the shift in consumer behaviour. But it’s not just retail that’s experienced a significant change.
There’s a growing need for the provision of certain services, and for those services to be delivered more efficiently - particularly when it comes to caring for our pets. That’s the issue VidiVet co-founder Ben Sweeny was looking to solve when he launched his virtual pet care solution. And of course, like any new offering, he needed to convince potential users this was a service of real value.
Our marketing manager Rich caught up with Ben to discuss the brand’s success, and how customer reviews have (and continue) to play an integral role in it.
Pet ownership skyrocketed throughout the pandemic. Continual lockdowns and more people working from home meant furry companions were in high demand. But as Ben explains, with increased demand comes an increased need for care, which isn’t so easy to fulfill:
“It takes nine weeks to produce 10 puppies, but it takes five years to produce one vet.”
The result is a strain on veterinary practices, and pet parents facing longer waiting times for consultations. Google and social media have become substitutes for professional advice - and we all know how easy it is to fall prey to misinformation there.
VidiVet was created to alleviate the pressure, built on three main pillars:
It was a lofty assignment by Ben’s own admission, but he pulled it off. For a monthly subscription, users can ask questions and get personalised video answers from a qualified vet in five minutes. And since most issues raised don’t require a practice visit, it’s freeing up resources for those that do.
There’s another benefit to the solution too - flexibility for those working in the profession. Ben explains how the industry has gone from 90% male to 90% female, and is now more focused on a healthy work-life balance. The nature of VidiVet allows those with valuable expertise to use it without sacrificing on their homelife.
Ben knew the importance of customer feedback from the start. In fact, the whole product was designed from market research on what the end user wanted.
The challenge, however, was convincing potential users that the VidiVet solution was beneficial to them. This was a whole new approach, and given the highly emotive nature of pet care, Ben needed a way to prove the service was professional, trustworthy, and built on the highest possible standards:
“We’re not just a different version of what was there previously. We’re a new version of a solution.”
That’s where reviews came into play. For Ben, the primary concern was that those reviews were authentic, since “any tom, dick an harry can leave a review anywhere”, so a third party platform became vital for adding validity and building trust.
They chose us, and their current 5* rating is testament to the service they deliver. But Ben isn’t naive. He knows at some point a VidiVet customer will leave a negative review. Rather than seeing this as detrimental, Ben views it as an opportunity and understands the unexpected benefits of a negative review.
Still in its early days, VidiVet is agile enough to respond to negative feedback by improving its product, and Ben wants to give every user the opportunity to comment, rather than siphoning off those that have had a bad experience:
“It’s important to realise that in business, you’ll never get it right by everybody all of the time. And we’ll probably learn the most from those that don’t have a good experience.”
Ben’s outlook on negative feedback is spot on. Not only is it an opportunity for product development, a poor review can actually help you build even greater trust. Our research stats show that customers are five times more likely to filter for 1* than 5* reviews, because they want to see how proactive you are in resolving issues. Provided you handle them the right way, those negative reviews are gold dust.
Ben and the Vidivet team have done the most important thing in business - they’ve listened to the customer. And as a result, they have total confidence in their product.
Whilst their 5* rating is something Ben is exceptionally proud of, it comes from a lot of hard work, and putting a primary focus on the end user. This has really paid off, visible in another metric Ben’s equally as proud of:
“We have a 100% conversion rate from our free trial to a signed up member.”
That’s something we really relate to. In fact, we’re so confident in the REVIEWS.io product that if a customer doesn’t like using our service after 90 days, we’ll offer a full refund and donate $1,000 to a charity of their choice.
We’re on the same page as VidiVet in a lot of other ways too. This is a business that understands the importance of building a brand community, and that their greatest marketing assets are those already invested in their product.
These brand advocates are known as ‘VidiVetters’ and the team uses an internal referral scheme that brings far greater return than any pushy marketing techniques - in the same way the review content they share provides far more by way of social proof than any polished advertising campaign. It’s all about word of mouth, and using any and all feedback to build a better offering:
“We already know this is a product people would love to have. It’s now a case of getting the message out there, and the reviews platform just helps us polish what we’re offering to people.”
Behind it all lies a set of core values. VidiVet isn’t there to replace traditional practice, it’s there to support it. And in the process provide a service of real value over turning a profit.
This is evident in their price drop, with their entry level subscription falling from £10 to £2 when they realised they could provide users with efficient and effective support at a much lower price point.
The moral compass extends to their use of data, putting complete control in the hands of the customer. Any data they do use is completely anonymised, and only used to improve their service - like building out content on their FAQs page.
What shines through from talking to Ben is his passion for the profession. As he points out, dealing with pets is a highly emotive topic, and there’s a clear sense of humility in everything the company does. It’s not about them and the success they’ve had, but about how what they offer is of benefit to pets, their owners, and veterinary care as a whole:
“It’s bringing veterinary expertise to a point where it was never really utilised before, but actually it’s helping to educate the pet owner that much better, so when they’re in front of us in practice it’s a much more efficient and rewarding consultation for both parties.”
Kudos to Ben and the VidiVet team. Their ethos rings true in their review content, and we’re proud it’s our platform they’ve chosen to support them.