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3 reasons clients don't comply
Do you feel frustrated when clients ignore your recommendations? You're not alone. Use these tools to remove the common barriers that keep clients from following through.
You know what it takes to keep pets healthy: wellness screenings, good nutrition, parasite prevention, and dental care, to name a few. As pets move further into the family circle, it seems kind of amazing that clients object to your recommendations. Just remember your goal: to thoroughly educate clients and teach them how to keep their pets healthy and happy. Let's take a look at three compliance barriers and some practical solutions to get your team on the same page and overcome clients' objections.
Barrier No. 1:
Clients don't feel heard.
Here's a simple fact: Clients are more likely to listen to you if they feel like you're listening to them. When you hear and address their concerns, you show you're sincere, and most clients are willing to accept your recommendations. Using phrases such as "I understand" and "I remember when I went through this with my pet" will help wipe out clients' objections.
What is your role?
Remember, you're often the liaison between the client and doctor. If you can gauge clients' intentions and communicate their plans, you can help the doctor hone in on clients' concerns, discover their interest in treating the problem, and uncover any financial limitations. An important note: You don't want to use this information to judge your clients or determine what level of care you'll recommend. But it may help you communicate more effectively if you know Mrs. Smith is very concerned about her dog Dash and she has another appointment she can't miss in half an hour.
Barrier No. 2:
Money, money, money
Food, transportation, shelter, healthcare—with so many expenses on their plates it's no wonder some clients flinch when it's time to talk money. But if you educate clients about the value of your care and services, they're less likely to resist your recommendations.
Next, remove some of the stumbling blocks by offering clients options to help them pay. Make sure you're accepting cash, all major credit cards, and third-party payment plans. You may also recommend pet insurance, especially for kittens and puppies, before major medical problems arise. For an interactive look at six of the most popular payment methods, click here.
Finally, remember that there will be some clients who just can't afford to pay. When the unexpected happens, doctors may be inclined to offer free services. To keep doctors from giving away too much, plan ahead by establishing an annual charity account. For example, each doctor may receive an annual charity account allowance of $1,000 to help clients in need. You can easily track the doctor's charity account with your practice's software. This way, doctors can donate a specified amount—$50, for example—without giving away the world. Click here for more ways to help pet owners provide care.
Barrier No. 3:
There's no consistent message
Suppose a nurse told you that you needed to have your thyroid checked, but the doctor never mentioned the test—or worse yet, told you the test was unnecessary. How would you feel? When your team sends mixed messages about the care a pet needs, clients may feel confused and suspicious, and they may even question your recommendations.
There's an easy solution to your communication problem. You guessed it: training. During your next team meeting, role-play some common client conversations and recommendations. Ask yourself these questions: Are we all making the same recommendations? Do we undermine each other with contradicting messages? Does everyone present a professional image and display a good bedside manner? Then brainstorm the tools you could offer to help team members. For example, you might give receptionists a list of common client questions and answers to help them when clients call or visit the practice.
Your confidence breeds compliance, so spend some time working on your communication skills. To be an effective communicator, you need to be prepared to change your approach based on the client's response. Each time you face a client, you need to maintain eye contact, notice changes in the client's facial expression, observe her body movements, and monitor her inflection. These are all signs of how she's feeling and responding to your message. If the client seems disinterested, use open-ended questions to engage her. For example, "What brings you and Dash here today?" This gives her a chance to explain her needs and what she expects from the appointment.
Sometimes we're all faced with less-than-compliant clients. Don't let frustration overwhelm you. When you anticipate and overcome the problems that keep clients from following through, you'll hear "yes" a lot more often.