5 tasty tidbits overheard at a practice manager meeting

September 1, 2016
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for dvm360.com, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

I scribbled down some good advice for practice managers and practice owners from a past Veterinary Economics article contest winner at a Kansas City practice manager association meeting.

Go look at your finished website

Got a website? Great! Make sure it looks OK when viewed on a few different devices: iPhone, Android, PC, tablet.

Event speaker Jeremy Keen, DVM, said a great veterinarian he knows opens a practice website home page with a really good picture of himself-but a really big picture.

"On every device I tried it, I was looking straight up his nose," Keen says.

Just check, is all we're saying.

Change with the seasons

Dr. Keen recommends changing pictures on your website to reflect changing weather.

"You don't want a dog jumping through the snow [when your practice is] in the summer heat," Keen says. That can telegraph to website visitors that you don't update your website much.

Bonus tip! At Keen's current practice, they pick two new colors for new scrubs twice a year for clean, new scrubs and spring-summer and fall-winter colors. Team members vote!

Use Dr. Ernie Ward's treat handout

When a cat or dog needs to slim down, Keen shares a handout he got from Dr. Ernie Ward, the founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. It lists fruits and veggies and their calorie content-way less than packaged pet treats.

"Clients are amazed at what they can give their pets and how cheap it is," Keen says.

Click here for the handout.

Institute an "in the dumps" protocol

Prep the break room or another office in the veterinary practice as a safe zone for a doctor or team member who's "in the dumps" and having a bad day:

• Put in snacks and drinks.

• Consider low lighting and a comfortable place to sit or lie down.

• Offer a "Do not disturb" sign and only check in on folks who put it out after 10 or 15 minutes.

Keen's experience is, team members don't abuse the privilege of calming down after a deeply sad or frustrating experience.

Keep "emotional records"

You've got financial records and medical records on lock. But do you know how people feel?

Try what Keen's practice did: take the emotional pulse of clients. At the start of a visit, a receptionist can ask and record in the record what clients did or didn't like about the last visit. At the end, before the client leaves, a receptionist asks the same question about that visit. You might find lovely reasons to congratulate team members on great customer service or constructive criticism to improve the practice's client experience.