Designing a whole new client experience


2016 Hospital of the Year winner lets us in on his secret: the best veterinary team in the world.

Dr. Randy Spencer, owner of the 2016 Hospital of the Year, 1st Pet Veterinary Centers in Mesa, Arizona.

I always want to keep improving-and this year they gave me an award for it (the 2016 Hospital of the Year award, to be exact). This was my fourth veterinary hospital project (shout-out to my 2002 Merit Award Winner in Chandler, Arizona), and my vision was to build more than a new clinic-I wanted to design a whole new experience for my clients. Here's how my team made 1st Pet Veterinary Centers in Mesa, Arizona, feel less like a medical facility and more like a hotel.

Quality doesn't come cheap

If you want quality, you need to hire quality. This is why I teamed up with BDA Architecture for the fourth time to design my new hospital. In order to create a modern, innovative, client-, pet- and team-friendly facility, we opted for quartz countertops over laminate, vessel sinks over stainless steel and skylights in the treatment room. We spared no expense in this new practice. If I've learned one thing, it's this: you get what you pay for and what you pay for is less problems.

Dr. Randy Spencer and his wife, Cheryl.Redesign your lingo

When we designed our new hospital we found that some of our practice terms needed to be redesigned as well. For example, “exam rooms” transformed into themed “pet care suites,” the “reception desk” became the “concierge” and “team members” evolved into “client service associates.” These may seem like small changes, but fresh titles can change the whole mood of the veterinary appointment-for example, “Mrs. Montgomery, the concierge will show you and Penelope to our ocean pet care suite now!”

Trust your team

I'm going to let you in on a little secret-I have the best staff in the state and probably the world. We only recruit the best and we actually allow them to do their jobs (novel concept, right?) up to the extent of the law, of course. We treat them like experts, ask them questions, encourage them take the lead and develop relationships with clients. Our building didn't even have to be beautiful because we already had a staff that made it state-of-the-art. However, I wanted to create a motivating environment so they would want to come to work and help clients and pets. This brand new hospital is kind of like my thank you gift to them.

Don't skimp on parking

With every remodel or build no matter how big or small, you're going to run into problems and unexpected obstacles. Persistence is key. You can't let the challenges or setbacks keep you from moving forward. Pressure the people holding up your process and don't be afraid to challenge their direction. For example, we ran into a small issue when we first took our site plan to the city. The city planner tried to tell me that we had too much parking. (What?!) We researched the situation further and in reality we didn't have enough parking for our 8,740 square-foot building. Now we have a lot of 44 parking spaces-17 client and 27 for staff.

Remember, you can't have too much fun, chocolate, or money. And you can't have too much parking.

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