Even if you offer the best service in the area, you may be driving away clients if your clinic isn’t taking precautions to treat them and their pets with utmost care through the entire process. Here are some ways you can address common vet office complaints from fighting animals to billing.
Experience with the Front Office
If you spend most of your time in the exam rooms, it’s easy to forget just how important interactions between your clients and office staff are with building a relationship. Even minor delays and misunderstandings can get a visit off on the wrong foot.
Now is a good time to evaluate your staff: Do you have enough people to handle your growing business? Does everyone know what they need to do? Are there jobs that aren’t covered? Do you need a receptionist to warmly greet patients, giving them attention when they first walk in and letting the rest of your staff stay on task?
Give your schedule some breathing room. An extra 10 or 15 minutes here and there can help you handle emergencies and give more detailed examinations where needed. If a client can’t get in when their pet has a serious problem, they may go to another vet. Make sure your office staff knows the best way to fit in these surprise patients.
Work out a system for drop-offs. This is convenient for your client and gives you more flexibility when seeing patients so you can stay on schedule.
Putting a pet down is one of the most difficult experiences any pet owner can go through, so take extra care by caring about their emotional state. Start by looking at the space you’ve set up to let clients grieve. Is the area private and welcoming with tissues at hand? Do you have a protocol in place to ensure they have peace and quiet? Do they have to pass by other clients when they leave? Seeing grieving pet owners may be distressing to your other clients who have ill and aging pets.
How do you treat euthanasia when the client isn’t there? A misunderstanding can lead to an animal in your care being euthanized before the client gets to say goodbye. Make sure you have documented permission from the client with at least one witness to back you up, whether that means having a witness sign with the client or having an extra person listen in on a phone conversation and confirm their instructions.
Make Your Patients Comfortable
A pet altercation can lead the most loyal customer to seek out another clinic. While you may not be able to redesign your clinic to reduce these harmful interactions, there are steps you can take to reduce them.
Try to arrange appointments so that you’re working with one type of animal at a time. Keeping dogs and cats separate will do a lot to reduce the number of fights and frightened animals.
If you have a pet that lives in the clinic, keep it separate from the rest of the practice so it can’t trip visitors or excite patients.
Set up an outdoor pet area so owners can get their pets out of the waiting area and into a comfortable environment. Offer to text or call them when the vet is ready to see their pet.
Dealing Head-On with Problems
Even with these steps, you’ll have problems here and there. How you respond to them can make a big difference on your clients’ overall impression of your clinic.
Encourage clients to bring their pets in by mailing reminders for veterinary appointments and seasonal health care issues. If they and their pets are familiar with your clinic, they’ll feel more at ease.
Be proactive: let patients know about problems whether it’s a billing change or delays due to an emergency.
Have a clear, itemized estimate of services ready when you need to discuss treatment options.
Set up a space to talk to clients away from the waiting area, like a conference room or office. This makes discussions feel more direct and keeps private interactions away from other clients.
Write down the client’s concerns whether they’re there in person or on the phone. This makes it easier to keep track of issues and resolve them.
Human relations training can help your staff better communicate with upset clients. Some services will train at your clinic, which can save money and lets your staff practice situations in their work environment.
Adding Small Touches Can Go a Long Way
Positive Impressions LLC has the products you need to show your clinic cares about your clients and their pets. From welcome cards to birthday cards, appointment reminders, tote bags and memorial kits, we can help you build a relationship through each phase of their pet’s life. Looking to add a personal touch? We offer custom printing for many of our products. Not sure where to start? Check out our latest monthly specials on our website.