VCA Animal Hospitals Introduces Amazon Alexa Voice Command Feature
VCA Animal Hospitals is enabling pet owners to receive their pets' healthcare reminders and book appointments through Amazon Alexa, making VCA the first in the animal hospital industry to introduce voice command to manage pets' healthcare, according to company officials.
Once pet owners enable the VCA Animal Hospitals skill after linking it to their online VCA account, they then can simply open the skill by saying: “Alexa, open VCA,” “Alexa, ask VCA when my pet is due for vaccines” or “Alexa, ask VCA to book an appointment for my pet.”
According to eMarketer, smart speakers are the fastest growing consumer technology since the smartphone, and a recent study by Adobe forecasts that nearly half of U.S. households will own a smart speaker by the end of 2018. With smart speaker ownership growing and the general public becoming more comfortable using these devices in their everyday lives, the VCA Animal Hospitals skill aims to offer convenient and accessible ways to manage pet healthcare.
“As a leader in the pet healthcare industry, we've made it our mission to provide pet owners with the best possible experience through continued innovation and digital transformation,” said Brendan Lynch, vice president of digital strategy for VCA Animal Hospitals. “For us, that means making every interaction between pet owners and our animal hospitals as convenient and easy as possible.”
The VCA Animal Hospitals skill is added to an already digital transformation and pet owner experience effort that has been underway for years, officials said. Currently, VCA has more than 3,000 iPads in its animal hospitals which include proprietary mobile apps for checking in pets, two-way text messaging with pet owners and giving medical staff on-the-go access to their patients' medical records. VCA also launched the myVCA pet owner app earlier this year which offers:
- Personalized and easy-to-follow pet care advice and tips based on a pet's species and age
- 24/7 live chat capabilities with an on-call veterinarian to answer immediate pet health and wellness questions
- Access to healthcare reminders and medical records
- The ability to book a pet's appointment in less than a minute
“The ultimate goal of introducing these newer tech-forward offerings like the VCA Animal Hospitals skill is to create a more seamless customer experience when it comes to pet healthcare, and to make sure we have healthier pet patients,” said Aaron Frazier, vice president of client experience for VCA Animal Hospitals. “Whether it’s at your local VCA Animal Hospital or through Alexa, we want to be part of every pet's healthcare journey while helping pet owners along the way.”
The VCA Animal Hospitals skill should not be used if a pet is in a life-threatening or emergency medical situation. In those instances, pet owners should seek immediate medical assistance for their pet.