Get client compliance back on track


The recession may have derailed your compliance numbers, but you can take steps to stay on top of your game.

With relatives coming to visit recently, I was given the task of ridding the guest bedroom of my voluminous collection of veterinary journals. One issue from 2003 discussed client compliance. This has always been a hot issue, but it seems to have died down over the past few years. However, now is the time when compliance matters most.

Practices can take several steps to hop back on the compliance wagon. First, compare how you're doing to the last year or two. Most software systems can quickly calculate your last few years of vaccine, fecal, and heartworm test compliance rates, as well as parasite preventive sales.

Chances are, compliance is down a bit at your practice. But there are several ways to combat these gaps once you're aware of them.

Your second step is to involve your medical team in educating and motivating clients to adhere to your recommendations. Many clients' budgets are tight, so they need to understand the importance of your services. This means you need to give them a consistent message from front to back.

Finally, don't try to tackle the whole issue at once. Instead, take one or two services and make these your improvement initiatives for the month or quarter. For example, we tracked our fecal acceptance rate at one of our clinics, and the results stunk (no pun intended). We expected a 75 percent to 85 percent compliance rate but found it was only about 50 percent.

Once we realized the problem, we brought in a vendor to teach our team about intestinal parasites. We then asked all clients to bring in a stool sample. For clients who didn't bring one, we sent them home with a sample cup and charged in advance for the test. We also set weekly fecal compliance goals and gave rewards for reaching these levels. Our numbers are now back to respectable levels in just a few months, and we learned a valuable lesson: Never let your guard down.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is president of Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals in Michigan.

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