4 ways to send veterinary clients running from your clinic


Its time to adjust your strategy.

I get lots of requests for advice from pet owners on how to pick a veterinarian. Here's what I tell them are red flags:

Lack of compassion. Pet owners need to experience how much you care before they witness how much you know. If you're hurried or ignoring signs of a pet's anxiety, fear or pain, pet owners should leave immediately.

Friction among team members. Pet owners have a hard time judging quality of medicine, but it's easy to judge quality of service. If they see signs of friction in the practice, they should start looking for another.

Facility shows a lack of pride or investment. If you have a dated or damaged sign, peeling paint and flooring is dirty, you're betting pet owners won't care about those things. Top practices have pride in their facility, equipment, uniforms-everything. This doesn't mean you have to immediately rebuild or remodel, but you do need to keep things painted, cleaned and repaired.

Practice doesn't invest in the newest equipment, technology and training. Quality practices have invested in digital radiography, dental suites and laser therapy, and the teams from these practices attend CE meetings where they learn the current thinking on medicine and surgery. If you're living a practice life of self-improvement, publicize it.

I tell pet owners that once they've done their homework by talking with family members, friends, neighbors and coworkers, to then do an onsite visit and ask to see beyond the exam rooms in the back.

Veterinary Economics Practice Leadership Editor and CVC speaker Dr. Marty Becker is author of The Healing Power of Pets: Harnessing the Amazing Ability of Pets to Make and Keep People Happy and Healthy. Dr. Becker practices at North Idaho Animal Hospital in Sandpoint, Idaho.

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