Paying attention to client experience is the name of the game. Award-winning author, speaker, entrepreneur, and global leader Lee Richter is the CEO of some award-winning veterinary hospitals and a serial entrepreneur with a number of other companies that has won awards and recognition from some of the biggest names in the business. Lee has spent many years building businesses and finding different ways to educate people in the pet industry. She says a lot of veterinarians are focused on the best medicine and that’s a given, but they’re paying attention to the client and the team experience as well. Lee goes through some of the new technologies in the veterinarian world that they’re utilizing that have positioned them in the market as the go-to veterinarian source. Lee acknowledges that her business is split into half, one side being the pet-related industry and the other half is PR and marketing. Learn how she makes it all work as she talks about the tactics she uses and the collaborations she’s built to do the extraordinary work she’s been doing.
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The Pet Industry: Building The Pet Owner Experience with Lee Richter
Our very special guest is Lee Richter. Lee is the CEO of some award-winning veterinary hospitals. She is also the visionary behind America’s top veterinarian. She is also a serial entrepreneur with a number of other companies we’re going to hear about and she has won awards and recognition from some of the biggest names in the business. Lee, thanks so much for joining us.
Welcome to the show, Lee.
I’m happy to be here. Thank you, Seth.
I know that you love being the visionary behind the companies that you’re involved with. How did that process get started?
I worked at Merrill Lynch for fourteen years in finance and I absolutely loved it. What happened was I learned how to read business plans and connect with global leaders. From there, I found out that I had a desire to be an entrepreneur. I’ve spent many years building businesses. We have two veterinary hospitals and The Pet Concierge, different ways to educate people in the pet industry and we’re having a great time.
Lee, there are a lot of veterinarians out there, how have you set yourself apart or above and beyond those that are already in business when you’ve opened up your locations?
What we did was we paid attention to the client experience. A lot of veterinarians are focused on the best medicine and we’re always focused on the best medicine and that’s a given. No matter what, we’re going to have the best medicine possible, but we’re paying attention to the client and the team experience as well. I’m working with my team and we’re going through every single touch point in a new client coming in. What is their experience? How do they feel it? How do we want them to feel? It’s paying attention to the customer service side, but also the team experience. Getting the best team, keeping the best team, keeping them engaged, and keeping them educated are all part of the process.
[bctt tweet=”Paying attention to the customer service side and keeping the best team engaged and educated is all part of the process.” via=”no”]
Your husband and a doctor himself is known as America’s Top Vet. How did he get that recognition?
He won America’s Favorite Veterinarian, it’s an award that was given from the American Veterinary Medical Foundation. What happened is they were nominated. Peers nominate who they thought would be America’s Favorite Veterinarian that they want. Then they had to submit an application with their CV, their experience, their education, and from that they choose the top ten. Once they chose the top ten, it became a national vote. He was fortunate that he was recognized by other peers and because he integrates Eastern and Western medicine, he practices uniquely. That’s one of the reasons that he’s even a veterinarian to veterinarians. He understands Eastern and Western medicine and integrates them and that is a completely different philosophy than general practice.
Lee, are there any new technologies in the veterinarian world that you’re utilizing? You mentioned blending philosophies there, which is very cool, but how about any kind technologies?
We are the only ones in Northern California that have a hyperbaric oxygen for animals. It’s not a new technology, but it’s not seen in very many veterinary practices.
I’ve done it myself personally, but I never even would have thought to do it for animals. That’s amazing.
There are some cases that if you didn’t have hyperbaric oxygen, the dog would’ve perished or the cat. We actually even had a rooster that had a fungus on its feet and you cannot have a one-footed rooster and we were able to help that rooster. It’s amazing how many times we’ve been able to use hyperbaric oxygen. Some call it the miracle machine. Recently, we had a dog that was part of a car accident where the car kept driving and it actually took his skin off the side of his body. If we didn’t have hyperbaric oxygen, he would not have healed as quickly and as well as he did. It healed so fast without infection. We were able to do things that otherwise without the machine would have been still going on.
We do stem cell therapy for different reasons. When we fix a pet, we will get their stem cells at that point and save them for future use, or sometimes just even healing pets. Then we do have another machine called the PST machine, which is Post Signal Therapy. If a dog has arthritis, it rebuilds cartilage at a rapid rate. Honestly, people benefit from this as well. The drug companies in America keep it out because it can remove the need for medicines that are sold in pharmacy. People can use it, animals can use it, and it rebuilds cartilage at such a rapid rate that it’s so much faster than glucosamine is in our system. I’ve had clients that tell me what a difference it’s made in their dog walking, what it’s made a difference in recovery from surgery and things like that.
Another cool thing that we’re doing is we’re seeing virtual reality now play a part. We have access to the HoloLens, and we have the technology to go in and simulate a surgery. Basically, it’s a unique way of looking at a pet. We could literally in virtual reality, take off the skin, open up the rib cage, take out the heart, open up the heart, and look inside the heart. It’s so amazing, but it gives us a different perspective of how things are working on the inside. It is such a great training. People’s minds are blown at how real it looks, but they can take out the stomach or the liver to look around and see how these are connected.
Positioning in the market as the go-to veterinarian source, let’s talk about the business side now. Are you utilizing any of the hottest new digital techniques to get customers? How are you running the business?
Some people that are out there and putting the word out are not necessarily the happiest people. In our case, our clients really love us. We are doing well, with hundreds of reviews and people will post how we’ve helped them and their pet in the process of medicine, but also in the process of aging. Then with social media, we love posting case studies. We have a dog who cannot stand up, it’s a puppy and it’s so awkward his legs go straight out. We’ve been doing acupuncture and we’ve been doing different modalities and were posting pictures and now the dog’s being able to stand up. It’s been a process for him to do that. By engaging people through social media, the dog has a cheering section. People are engaged and wanting to see what’s going to happen next? Will he actually walk? Will he actually run?
We also have had a case where we had a police officer that had a dog that could not walk, and it didn’t work for six months. Then we started doing treatments. We started doing acupuncture and pool therapy and the same thing, it had a following. They’re watching. Now, all of a sudden he’s walking into the office and people cheer for him and say, “Attaboy.” It makes the pet owner feel good knowing that we’re rooting her pet to a much healthier and happier life that way. We love engaging on social media. We love connecting with people. Even locally, we’ll do events and go out and meet them while we’re there, maybe show them things online at the same time. Anyway that we can connect with people makes us happy.
How has your success in that business led to your serial entrepreneurship with other companies?
Me personally, I have known my husband since high school. He’s only ever wanted to be a veterinarian. That has been passionate since he was twelve years old. When I met him he was seventeen years old and it’s the one thing he was focused on. I went to business school and I learned journalism and then went into finance, but I always knew that one day we would have our own vet hospital for him to be able to practice medicine the way he likes. What I did was I learned those business skills to come back up. Marketing for me is how I build those relationships. If I look at my business, it’s split in two. Half of it is pet-related industry and the other half is PR and marketing.
If you look at marketing, there are many tactics. PR is one tactic. Event planning is another tactic. What we’ve done is we fine tuned each one of those tactics that we use and now we’re sharing the success stories and the ideas with people in those industries. For example, the Event Planners Association and the Event Planners Club are projects that I work on. Seth, I’m grateful because you work on that with me. It’s something that we have in common is we want to help event planners have a better business and a better life. By taking the principles that I’ve learned in veterinary medicine and other verticals, we can now apply it to the event planners as well. In the end, running a business is a lot of the same skills, it’s just a different audience. We’re applying it from one to the other. My passion is to empower people and to help them grow their business to a natural fit.
Do you guys involve in coaching or helping others open up businesses or are you looking to expand outside of your area? I’m trying to think about the global aspect. You’ve created some innovative technologies and marketing techniques and it seems like some of these could be very beneficial to others and in other states and places. Obviously, this is why your husband won the number one vet in the country, but maybe there’s an expansion possibility for you guys. Is that happening at all?
We never talked about it, but you’re looking at my planning right now. What I’m looking for is in the first quarter were at a veterinary conference with 17,000 people in the industry that are at that conference. What I’d like to do is choose somewhere between twelve and twenty of them to come through a two-day with me and to come to the practice and for me to pull the curtain back and to show them, “Here are some of the lessons learned. Here are some of the things that are working well, here’s some of the innovation that’s coming up that we’re putting in place.” I’m creating a mastermind effect with them, not only that two days, but then maybe six months ongoing with phone calls and following up with them. That is one perspective.
Then another one is with the event planners, we also want a two-day event. We’re actually going to do that in Arizona. We’re going to go to Infusionsoft. Infusionsoft is one of the companies that back us when we do internet campaigns. What I’d like to do with the event planners is not only show them how to run the business, but also to create some internet campaigns so they can learn how to reach their ideal clients and get more people in the funnel and communicating with them to build their business. We do have two on the books, there’s a possibility for a third. We haven’t determined if we have the bandwidth to do it yet, but we definitely have to that we’re going to be doing, one for the event planners and one for the veterinarians. Thank you for noticing that that’s the next natural step because that’s what we came to as well.
You mentioned an interesting word there that we use a lot. You mentioned the word mastermind. I know that you’re part of quite a few, including some of the biggest, most expensive and most popular like Joe Polish’s Genius Network. Talk a little bit about how you got involved there and why you participate and what you get out of it.
I had dinner with Tony Robbins and about fifteen other people in the room and the person sitting next to me was Randi Zuckerberg. How did I get into this room? Thank you Joe, Polish. Joe is one of the best connectors on the planet as far as I’m concerned. He knows how to build relationships. Part of the reason I’m part of that mastermind is because he goes out in the world. He creates relationships with amazing people who are so much smarter than me, and what I could do is learn from them. I learn from them what is successful and also what mistakes they’ve made. Even with Randi Zuckerberg, some of her conversation with some of the mistakes she made in how she got to different places in her life because she learned from those mistakes. Her sharing those mistakes now allows me to learn from hers, but also the people in the group are extraordinary.
A classic example. My husband and I boarded a plane, flew down to down LA, had a one hour meeting, back on the plane, and flew back. Why did he do that? One of the people in the group and us are collaborating on future products for the veterinary industry, and it was so valuable that it was worth us flying down and spending an hour in his living room with him and his team to talk about the next steps. This is somebody that my husband would never have met on his own and he never would have even known to have this conversation if I wasn’t out in the Masterminds really building those relationships. This is someone I’ve known for three years who is at the top of his game doing extraordinary work, but he sees that there’s value in building something for the vets. My husband is America’s Favorite Veterinarian. It was a beautiful collaboration that wouldn’t have happened if I wasn’t active in the mastermind meeting. I wouldn’t have met him. I wouldn’t have heard about the ideas that he had coming up and then saw a way for us to collaborate. That’s one example.
[bctt tweet=”Spending time with extraordinary leaders gives you amazing ideas and the support to get things done.” via=”no”]
I will say Fortune Magazine or Forbes Magazine just listed The Top Ten in Masterminds in the country and I’m in three of the top ten and I realized that I’m making some good decisions by choosing the people I want to spend time with. By spending time with these extraordinary leaders, it is giving me amazing ideas, but also the support to get it done. Sometimes they have a team they’ll share with me. Sometimes I have a team I’ll share with them. Sometimes it’s coming up with the new idea that never existed before, we collaborate. Sometimes it’s basically being there to tell someone they are wrong or tell someone to think of it this way. I think it is really valuable to me.
For our audience that wants to learn more about the amazing things that you’re doing, where’s the best place to send them?
The best place would be my personal page, which is GoAskLee.com. From there, you could find the other things that I’m doing and I’ll point you in the direction if people need help with at. HolisticVetCare.com is where you can find my husband. He is now an international bestseller in eight countries. His book is on that and people could see that and really learn how to integrate Eastern Western for their pets, but nutrition is the basis of everything. He gives a lot of original recipes for people to make at home for their pets to keep them healthy.
Lee, it’s good to see you.
Thanks everybody for being here.
- Lee Richter
- The Pet Concierge
- American Veterinary Medical Foundation
- Event Planners Association
- Event Planners Club
About Lee Richter
Lee Richter is an award winning, dynamic business innovator and a visionary recognized again by the San Francisco Business Times as one of their Top 100 Women Business Leaders in 2017. For more than 25 years, she has launched a dozen successful businesses in the financial, education and lifestyle sectors. Her unique vision and drive revolutionizes business as her companies produce hundreds of jobs, educate tens of thousands of people and make millions in revenue.