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Don't let clients phone it in


Don't let clients take the "wait and see" approach to their pets' health.

You've undoubtedly fielded a call from a client with a laundry list of her pet's ailments-he's sneezing, vomiting, or even bleeding. Ten minutes later, she's downplaying the symptoms and declining an exam, and you're wondering why she called in the first place.

“About four out of 10 calls are clients looking for a diagnosis and treatment plan over the phone,” says Rachael Hume, Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and receptionist at Southway Animal Clinic in Lewiston, Idaho. Here's Hume's script for getting clients off the phone and into your practice.

You: I'm glad you called, Mrs. Jones. What you described isn't normal. The doctor will want to examine Shaggy as soon as possible. We have an opening today at 10 a.m. Are you or a family member available to bring in Shaggy?

Client: I just told you what's wrong with Shaggy. He's acting sluggish and occasionally vomiting. Can't you tell me what I can do at home to make him feel better?

You: Without seeing Shaggy, the doctor won't be able to make a recommendation. The symptoms you named can be for so many things. It's best to let the doctor examine him and make a diagnosis.

Client: I don't want to pay for tests or treatments if he has an upset stomach that will eventually pass. He'll be fine as long as I watch him for a few days, right?

You: I can't tell you he'll be fine, but I can tell you that if you wait too long, the cost for treatment may be more expensive due to worsening conditions or even emergency services. Again, what you described isn't normal and Shaggy may need medical attention. We have an opening this morning. Would you like to bring Shaggy in?

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