10 ways to lose a client


There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but it only takes one of these missteps to send clients packing.

1. Keep them waiting. Fluffy's freaked by Bowser's barking, and Patty's parakeet is dive-bombing Mitzi's mouse. Who wouldn't want to hang around the reception area for another hour?

2. Look bad. Sloppy, disorganized, outdated-whether these words describe your appearance, your behavior, or your practice, they'll do the trick.

3. Tune them out. Picture a beach. The sun's shining, the water's gently lapping at your toes. That dull drone you hear isn't a client expressing her concern about Rex's scratching-it's the rhythmic sound of waves crashing against the rocks.

4. Give confusing (or just plain wrong) information. When clients catch on that you just don't know-or care-they'll stop asking.

5. Be inconsistent. Send reminders when you get a chance. Return calls when you feel like it. Greet clients based on your mood and the advice you just read in your horoscope.

6. Ignore their concerns. Maggie mentions Marco's daily dumpster dive drives her nuts. Sally says Snickers sprays the furniture. Don't offer solutions. They're better off working out their problem pets themselves.

7. Say what you think. Trixie looking tubby? Bert looking bald? Chester acting cheap. You're a straight-shooter. It's not your fault if clients are thin-skinned.

8. Skip the recommendations. Life's much easier when you don't waste any of your time explaining how to give Felix his daily pill or properly administer Rusty's heartworm preventive. Live and let live, right?

9. Turn a blind eye. Mrs. Peters is trying to juggle three children, a checkbook, and a rambunctious Labrador. Poor thing. You'd help her-if your nails would just hurry up and dry already.

10. Smart off. You're working just as fast as you can, but Mr. Phillips just can't resist gigging you about his measly five-minute wait. Put him in his place. He'll take his snippy mouth with him to the practice down the street.

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Angela Elia, BS, LVT, CVT, VTS (ECC)
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