What to do when pet owners are upset over emergency bills.
Q: How can receptionists handle pet owners who are upset over emergency bills?
When clients are in an unexpected, high-stress situation, such as an emergency veterinary visit, it's essential to remain calm and empathic, says Natalie Cruz, client care coordinator and receptionist for WestVet Emergency and Specialty Center in Garden City, Idaho. "When dealing with frustrated clients, it helps to listen to their complaints and issues and try to offer solutions and assistance," she says.
For example, monetary restraints are common and can cause great anxiety for clients. Be sure you clearly understand your practice's financial policies and are able to direct clients to resources such as third-party payment plans. The better informed you are, the easier it will be to convey the necessary information to clients. This also will make you appear more professional, Cruz says.
Another tip: Try to find common ground with clients. Initiate conversation and ask questions about their dogs or cats. "My clients love to talk about their pets," Cruz says, "which often helps to defuse a stressful situation."