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3 unpolishable client service mistakes


It's time for your veterinary team to dump these really bad service gems.

Oh, poo. Clients can smell these service mistakes a mile away. These aren't diamonds in the rough. They're just stinky old customer service shenanigans. So scoop this poop right out of your practice to make room for real service gems.

Turd No. 1: Hollow promises of service.

One thing that really yanks my chain are practices with on-hold messages and mission statements loaded with gratuitous promises of service written in superlatives, but with no leadership or training components in place to offer this service. Everyone knows we have problems with collecting email addresses consistently, yet in the on-hold message we're audacious enough to promise the "very best" in veterinary care.

Aim for the stars, but load your practice with enough leadership power to make sure we hit the mark. I don't want to read another mission statement as long as I live. From now on, I want to see them acted out in real time every day at your business.

Turd No. 2: Robot education in lieu of recommendations.

People aren't coming to your practice for education, and certainly not for any that's delivered by rote. Clients are coming to you for trusted, experienced and effective solutions for their pet's veterinary needs. Don't load 'em in a room, then load 'em up with a bunch of noise. It's impersonal and too often delivered disingenuously.

Instead, load 'em in the room and load 'em up with your attention, with your listening skills, with your eyes and body language saying, "I'm here for you, I'm paying attention, and I'm ready to help." Then, based on what you learn from your time with the client, make a straightforward recommendation followed by any additional information (read: education) they may need to understand the value of your services.

Turd No. 3: Rotten-egg team members stinking up your service.

The website says service, the signs in the lobby say service. You even mention service on the bottom of the invoice. Yet your team's performance is in the toilet. Why? Because you've allowed one or two rotten-egg team members to stink up the joint for everyone. Stop trying to fool yourself and your team members that the status quo is acceptable or even workable. Can the crankpot. Fire the freeloader. Boot, bump and banish that member of your team who regularly drags down an otherwise happy core of people.

And while I'm on the topic, may I remind you to keep your service excuses to yourself? I couldn't care less if your server is down, your system is slow, your "computer won't let you..." , that your email isn't working, that the chart won't load ...

How can you, in all good conscience, pound the value of service up everyone's ... err, into everyone's ear, then not invest any money, time or effort to make sure you have systems to deliver the service? Fix the computer. Buy a new printer. Client service representatives should be service providers, not apology machines.

 Bash Halow, BA, CVPM, LVT, is a partner at Halow Tassava Consulting. Want to see Bash in person? Check out what he'll be talking about next at CVC here.

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