Today's Veterinary Business

FEB 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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36 Today's Veterinary Business Communication Although most CSRs inherent- ly know or have been told to be friendly, they often aren't trained on how to use specific commu - nication skills to enhance client engagement. Client engagement is about making an authentic connection with people. It's about showing you care about the client and the bond they share with their pet. When high levels of engage- ment are present, client loyalty increases because pet owners can't imagine going somewhere else — a hospital where the service might not be as exceptional. Here are three important interactions in which CSRs can connect with pet owners and build client loyalty: Saying Hello You have only one chance to make a positive first impression. In a veterinary practice, a good first impression should convey profes- sionalism and compassion. Engage clients in these four ways: Use a Friendly, Tailored Greeting When clients walk in, the practice atmosphere needs to convey, "We're glad you're here." For this to hap- pen, team members need to make eye contact, smile and use a tailored greeting. Here are examples of what to say: • "Hi, Mrs. Smith. It's so great to see you and Violet again." • "Hello. Is this Jake here for his annual preventive care exam?" • "Good morning, Mr. Jones. I'm sorry to hear that Sophie isn't feeling well." Make Engaging Comments This skill works well even when team members are extremely busy. When pet owners visit a veterinary practice, their first and last interactions are typically with the front office team. Consequently, client service representatives (CSRs) need to be well-trained to create positive impres- sions. A pet owner's service experience is a major factor in determining how bonded she is to the practice and how likely she is to refer others. Communication TALK THE TALK By Amanda L. Donnelly, DVM, MBA Examples of engaging comments include "Congratulations on your new family member" or "It's so great to meet you and Jake. I just love black Labs." Compliments are another excellent way to connect with clients. CSRs might say, "Chloe is so beautiful. I love her markings" or "Mrs. Smith, that is a lovely scarf. The color looks great on you." For this skill to be most effective, team members need to remem- ber two essential elements. First, the comment must be genuine. People can spot flattery that is insincere. The second is to make eye contact. Engaging comments lose their power if a CSR is looking at the computer while speaking or is otherwise distracted. Critical points of contact build pet owner loyalty Clients will remember three key front-office interactions. 1

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