ACVC 2017: Tips for Providing Outrageous Customer Service

November 15, 2017
Kerry Lengyel

Every member of your veterinary team plays a role in making client visits successful. To please the pet owners who visit your practice, you need to do two things: put the right people on your bus and craft an unforgettable story.

At the 2017 Atlantic Coast Veterinary Conference in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Nan Boss, DVM, owner of Best Friends Veterinary Center in Grafton, Wisconsin, gave attendees advice on how to take their practice to the next level by helping the entire veterinary team provide outrageously good customer service.

Dr. Boss said practices need to keep several things in mind when it comes to satisfying every client who walks through the practice doors. To truly satisfy your clients, she said, your practice needs to offer:

  • Teamwork
  • Consistency/reliability
  • Communication
  • Compassion
  • Customer service
  • Convenience
  • Competence
  • Cost (more on this later)

The number one goal is to always work together as a team to help your clients. Teamwork takes work, and practice owners are not exempt.

Your receptionists are vital to making a good first impression. The more efficient and effective your front office staff is, the more efficient and effective your practice will be.

You’ll also need to take the time and make the effort to schedule and plan team meetings, coach team members, attend workshops about team management and possibly even hire a management consultant for your practice.

“Teamwork is easier said than done,” Dr. Boss said.

Filling the Bus

To make sure your team works like a well-oiled machine, you need to hire the right people for the right positions. Dr. Boss said to think of your practice as a bus. “You need to get the good employees on the bus, the bad employees off the bus and the right employees in the right seats,” she said. “Then you can take your bus where you want it to go.”

Once you have the right employees working in the right parts of your practice, you need to make sure those employees are happy with what they’re doing. If they’re not, you might need to switch their seat on the bus — or let them find a seat on another bus.

According to Dr. Boss, happiness at work is the single most accurate predictor of life expectancy. It’s more predictive than risk factors like smoking or obesity. “If we enjoy what we’re doing every day, we’re going to live longer,” she said. “I think everyone deserves to be happy at their job. And if someone isn’t happy on your bus, then they should go and be happy on someone else’s bus.”

With happy employees working in the right areas of your practice, it’s now time to make sure the client’s visit is as successful as possible.

Crafting Your Story

Think of each client’s visit as an individual story, and consider how each team member is an integral part of that story. Ask yourself and your team members these questions:

  • What’s our story going to be?
  • How are we going to tell that story?
  • What tools are we going to use to tell that story?
  • How do we make this client visit special?

Think of what each client’s story is going to be when he or she leaves your practice after a visit. Think about what story that person is going to tell on Facebook or Yelp. “Don’t leave the client’s perception to chance,” Dr. Boss said. “You have to think about each of those steps to the client visit and plan for them.”

The more work that’s done behind the scenes to prepare for each and every client visit, the more likely each and every client will be to leave your practice well educated about their pet’s health care and happy for choosing your practice.

And regarding cost — the last item on the “must-offer” list above. Cost is always last thing, according to Dr. Boss, as long as the value is provided. “If clients feel like they’ve gotten a lot for their money, they’re OK with spending a lot,” she said.