Today's Veterinary Business

DEC 2018

Today’s Veterinary Business provides information and resources designed to help veterinarians and office management improve the financial performance of their practices, allowing them to increase the level of patient care and client service.

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47 December 2018/January 2019 • TODAYSVETERINARYBUSINESS.COM During a recent onsite consul- tation, I noticed a client who had brought in her dog for orthopedic surgery. The client decided to wait while the surgery was performed, and she set herself up in a corner of the waiting room, which was like a small alcove. She was curled up on a few seats and, when I first saw her, I thought she was a home- less person who was taking a nap inside the practice. The client was there when I arrived at 8 a.m., and she didn't leave until after 2 p.m. Do you think any of the doctors or team members offered her any assistance? Did anyone think of doing anything for her that might have made her wait a little more enjoyable or at least less uncomfortable? The answer is one big NO! In fact, she was not updated about her pet's surgery until 2 p.m., when the doctor walked out to the reception area to tell her the dog was recovering from surgery and all had gone fine. What a lost opportunity. What a terrible experience for the client. A Touch of Luxury Now consider Ritz-Carlton, a com- pany widely known for its excellent service. When visiting a Ritz-Carl- ton hotel, I've noticed that staff members are always looking for ways to make their guests' ex- perience more memo- rable. We need to take the same approach with our clients. In the aforemen- tioned instance, what could team members have done to help the client and make her visit a more positive experience? First, they could have offered her the option of wait- ing in the practice's comfort room instead of having to curl up in the reception area. They could have offered her a cup of coffee or a bottle of water during the course of the day. They could have given her the television remote control. At a recent meeting, I asked attend- ees to come up with other ideas. They suggested: • The practice could have provided an iPad or computer so the client could check her email or surf the internet. • The practice could have offered to text the client if anything developed with her dog so that, if she wanted, she could leave for a while. • Most importantly, the practice needed to keep the client informed throughout the day about the progress of the surgery and how her dog was doing. A team member could have texted photos throughout the surgery or just texted updates. We all know that clients determine the quality and value of a veterinary practice based on what they see and experience. Furthermore, this determination is made in the first three minutes that clients come into contact with the practice. This phenomenon is known as perception of value. By Mark Opperman, CVPM Leadership PRACTICE SMARTER The point is that, at least at this practice, no one cared enough about the client and the experi- ence she was having. One employ- ee even commented, "That woman is still out in the waiting room." Try a Mystery Shopper Many times, we are really good at treating patients but not as good at providing excellent customer service and thinking about things from the client's perspective. I love the idea of using a mys- tery shopper. This is where you have someone come into your practice and go through the entire outpa- tient process to evaluate it from the client's perspective. In fact, a form we have developed specifically for this process may be downloaded at www.todaysveterinarybusiness. com/mystery-shopper. The best person to do a mystery-shopping visit is a veterinary employee. One idea is to team with another practice, send one of their employees to your practice and you send one of yours to their practice. Team members at both practices would know it's going to happen, but they won't know when. Do the little things to turn an average client experience into one that pet owners will relish and long remember. I love the idea of using a mystery shopper. This is where you have someone come into your practice and go through the entire outpatient process to evaluate it from the client's perspective. Be of service

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