“I started TrustVet out of sheer frustration at a client who’d let her dog’s heart murmur go undiagnosed for three years,” explained Liam Moriarty, a practice owner based in Dublin, and the founder of TrustVet.
“I’d bumped into the client in a local shop. You know what it’s like, when you’re in practice you know some of the clients really well.
“I actually wasn’t sure about saying hello to her because I knew I’d have to ask about her dog. I remembered his name. I just wasn’t sure if he was alive or not! We managed to say hello without mentioning the dog and I decided to check his file later that afternoon.”
“Turns out he was still alive, and had seen one of my assistant vets recently. It was his first visit in three years. My vet had picked up a heart murmur and it’s likely he’d had it for some time. But of course he’d missed out on all sorts of treatment options.
“It got me thinking. You have clients who are so bonded to your practice that you know their name out of context. But still they fall away from visiting regularly, for whatever reason.
“I just wanted a way to keep the people in contact with the practice, both financially and for healthcare reasons for their pets.”
Liam quickly realised that a health plan was the obvious solution. All of his research showed that clients on health plans took their animals to the vets more regularly, and their pets typically got treatment sooner. The fact that the practice benefitted from Monthly Recurring Revenue and greater retention was a bonus.
Liam said: “I met with some of the established health plan players and I wasn’t too impressed.
“I didn’t think they had enough detail or the ability for me to do exactly what I wanted to do with my plan. I figured it would be simpler for us to do it ourselves, so I started researching Direct Debit providers.
“There was a lot of complexity and problems, but we overcame them. After that, we had some software built to manage all the payments and push the information back into the PMS. I knew that if we were going to get numbers, we needed something decent to handle it.”
TrustVet started to evolve when another practice expressed an interest
“A friend had been following what we were doing, and one day phoned to ask if he could use our software too,” Liam explained.
“We thought we’d have to make a few tweaks for another practice to use it, and ended up totally rebuilding it.
“We mapped out what it had to do. It had to collect payments automatically. It had to remind people who hadn’t paid, so they could be chased or put on hold. It had to let practices know when somebody hadn’t paid. It had to allow people to sign up to a health plan through the practice’s website.
“It had to allow pet owners to sign up really quickly. It couldn’t take much time. Of course, once we started developing it, we just wanted it to keep doing its thing, handle payments, handle sales payments, and handle renewals. Constantly the push was on how can we make this simpler and faster.
“Word started to spread amongst practice owners, and we started looking after more and more practices. You can see why vets chose us. The existing systems, they were paper based signups. Effectively, it was all manual.
“You had to enter in all the details yourself when somebody signed up. It did do recurring payments. But once somebody failed to pay, they would only chase them again once and that was it. You couldn’t sign up online. You couldn’t sign them up through your practice websites. They had a lot of barriers and terms and conditions that were unhelpful and would slow practices down. And I didn’t think much of their marketing material either. I didn’t really see how they were going to help us sign up a lot of clients.
“TrustVet was completely digital, it was fast and simple – yet still flexible and powerful. It worked brilliantly because it had been designed by a practising vet for practising vets. No wonder owners, vets and nurses liked it.”
Now TrustVet is available in the UK for the first time
Over time, as the software spread to practices across Ireland, Liam recruited his own team of software developers and support staff.
In 2018 TrustVet announced it was going to be available to UK practices for the first time. The UK version of the software has been completely rebuilt to suit the British market.
But Liam stressed that the core veterinary focus of the system has not been lost.
“You have to look at health plan software from the staff’s point of view, particularly the vets and nurses who are going recommend health plan to the clients,” he said.
“If that work doesn’t run smoothly, the health plan is never going to be a success. Probably the most important thing, I think, is it has to be really, really easy to sign somebody up. If you can sign somebody up in a minute in the clinic, then it becomes a joy to use rather than a stress.
“If it’s too difficult, or the staff don’t like what’s in the plan, they won’t do it, no matter how much you tell them. As we continue the development of TrustVet day in, day out, that core belief is at the heart of everything we do.
“The superior technology isn’t really our key difference. It’s the fact we use this software every day too, and understand how the small things that make a difference between a health plan that’s OK, and a health plan that’s flying.”
Meet the team
Liam Moriarty, vet & founder
The driving force behind TrustVet’s ethos and development
Gordon Stewart, chief operating officer
Ensures everything goes smoothly day to day
Ben Smith, practice growth specialist
As a former owner of Vets Practice Growth UK, Ben has worked with practices for years helping them grow net profits
Paul Green, strategic advisor
Paul is the former owner of Vets Practice Growth UK, and helps the TrustVet team stay focused on what practice owners want and need
Alexander Schaefer, chief technology officer
Turns our vision for TrustVet into reality
Olivia McNally, customer relations manager
Makes sure that TrustVet’s clients are 100% satisfied and always receive an exceptional service