Extreme client service: Part 2 (Proceedings)


Build a relationship with owner and pet--this is a people business as well as a pet business; being able to relate with owners and their pets is necessary.

Providing Extreme Client Service to Customers.

1. Build a relationship with owner and pet- this is a people business as well as a pet business; being able to relate with owners and their pets is necessary. Spend time working on your interpersonal communication skills especially listening and building rapport. Take time to get to know the clients- don't hesitate in taking notes about the people you see and the pet's that they have. Share those notes in the client records so that others can make it a personal touch. Engage and interact with the pet – acknowledge them by name and make sure you use the proper feminine or masculine pronouns. Even in large practices creating a personalized relationship is key to extreme client service. An example for you to consider: If a client mentions that they were taking a vacation to Africa and their pet would be staying with a boarding facility that you recommended- make a note of this in the patient record so that they can be asked about the both the vacation and the pet's boarding experience.

2. Get Feedback from Customers- never hesitate to ask clients for feedback. Even a simple question such as " Did everything go ok with your visit today?" can be asked at the time of checkout or you can let clients now that they will be called within 24-48 hours regarding the visit and their feedback would be appreciated. Consider a client comment box or if you have internet savvy clients- consider electronic surveys or feedback forms on your site. Always thank the client for their feedback and if follow up on an issue is required, take personal responsibility and accountability to address the issue.

3. Be creative and share what works- An extreme client service culture always is pushing the leading edge and is never content with good enough. Efficiency and creativity should be encouraged. Let's take engaging a client whose pet isn't "happy" to be there. How do you build rapport when the "patient" so obviously doesn't want to be there? What can you do to make both the client and the pet more comfortable? How can you assure the client that the pet will not become any more traumatized?

4. Be a positive team member- being a member of a team requires certain skills. These include 1) Taking Personal responsibility, 2) Encouraging partnerships, 3) Establishing a purpose, 4) Building Trust and 5) Collaborating together. Look for a mentor in your practice and be willing to serve as a mentor to another. When you hear negativity- don't participate but focus on positives.

5. Help others succeed- when a client and their pet receive extreme client service not only do they win but so does the entire practice team. Despite being rewarded individually look at how you can help others. For example, if someone is much better at providing puppy housebreaking tips- ask them to speak to the client in addition to what information you can provide them. If someone is struggling to manage their tasks- step in and help with out being asked.

6. Be an advocate for the pet- we all have heard about the importance of following up with clients but what about taking the time to follow up with them because of a new product that might interest them or simply to find out if the behavior tips that you provided them helped. Engaging with the client is everyone's responsibility. So if you know that Mrs. Wilson's cat really needs that dental that she didn't schedule before she left, don't just leave the cat in reminder heaven. Actively contact the client and talk to them about dentistry and see if you can find out what their hesitation may stem from- this should be completely natural and of your own initiative. Of course, know your limitations when it comes to medical options and decisions but, contacting a client whose pet you KNOW will benefit from a new service or product you offer is offering EXTREME CLIENT SERVICE.

Managements Role in Creating the Extreme Client Service Culture

1. Be an Example- this is first for a reason because the first individuals that need to receive extreme client service is your staff! That means that you need to also exceed their expectations of you as an employer... so if you tell them that they will get reviewed annually you should aim to do it biannually. If you expect them to be on time then you should always be 5 minutes early. Management needs to be responsive to staff needs in the same way that you expect them to be responsive to the client needs.

2. Be your own Customer- when was the last time that you took your pet to a veterinarian? When was the last time you visited your website or walked in your front door? Take the time to be your own customer and truly experience a visit to your practice.

3. Hire Right- you've heard it all before- "hire the 10 and not two 5". "Don't just hire a warm body." "Hire for attitude" Practices that believe in extreme client service have potential employee's resumes' on hand and are always interviewing and on the look out for good employees. They hire before they are desperate and are willing to grow the practice into another position rather than lose a star.

4. Develop your staff- Providing a living wage, job security and advancement is key to allowing individuals to succeed in an extreme client service practice. Develop career paths and incorporate training and development into your practice culture.

5. Reward the right stuff- consider offering skill based pay along with bonuses based on client service. Raises should be based on concrete, achievable and measurable items. Longevity can be rewarded but only if it is accompanied with strong skills and demonstrable client service examples.

Staff Activity

Getting Client Feedback

1. Make a list of Choices that you offer clients

2. Create a list of all the questions that you can ask clients in order to better understand their needs

3. Compare and combine lists. Come up with a master list to promote extreme client service.

Being Creative in our Jobs

Individual what can we do offer Extreme Client Service. Have each member of your staff do the following:

4. List the duties and requirements of your job

5. List the choices that you have that will help you take care of the client

6. List the options that best fit you, your personality and how you work

7. List the reasons for your options and how they can work for you and the practice

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