Today's Veterinary Business

APR 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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38 Today's Veterinary Business Communication Do you know how well your team is doing at exceeding the expecta- tions of pet owners who call your practice? Consider the following information from a database I have compiled: • 92 percent of client service representatives (CSRs) quote fees without attempts to engage the caller. • 25 percent of CSRs score below average on their knowledge of basic veterinary preventive care. • 27 percent of CSRs ask callers to book an appointment. • 76 percent of CSRs score be- low average in communicat- ing the value of the physical exam and consultation. Clearly, a significant oppor- tunity exists for practice teams to improve service on the telephone. Yet I find CSRs routinely aren't adequately trained. If you don't provide formal training in this area of client communications or would like to improve telephones skills training, follow these three steps. Identify What's Holding Your Team Back All teams can benefit from training that focuses on enhancing knowl- edge and honing specific skills. But no amount of training will result in consistent exceptional service to pet owners if team members have workplace challenges that prevent them from doing an excellent job. To identify your team's challenges, Callers begin to make assessments about a veterinary hospital based on the telephone interaction with team members. These conversations can easily influence the decision to book an appointment. This is especially true when pet owners who aren't established clients call to inquire about services and fees. Since the prices of routine services are likely to be similar at most hospitals, a determining factor for booking an ap- pointment is how the pet owner feels about their phone experience. That's why developing outstanding telephone skills on a customer service team is extremely valuable for veterinary practices. Communication TALK THE TALK By Amanda L. Donnelly, DVM, MBA schedule a feedback session and create dialogue focused on their answers to these two questions: • What challenges do you have in delivering exceptional service on the phone? • What do you need from the business so you can provide better service on the phone? The team meeting should provide insights into these areas: • Employees' level of knowl- edge and expertise as well as training gaps. For exam- ple, you may determine that some CSRs don't know the answers to commonly asked pet owner questions and oth- ers may feel uncomfortable responding to angry callers. 1 Delivering exceptional phone service can make the difference between a pet owner who agrees to book an appointment and one who gets a quick answer and hangs up. It's your call

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