Make your veterinary team your No. 1 client

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Consider this advice to treat your team members as important clients.Telling your team to treat clients well isn't enough. Instead, try to see your team as your most important client. Treat them the way you want them to treat your clients. How well you treat them has a major impact on how well they treat others. Use these three steps to put your team first:

Telling your team to treat clients well isn't enough. Instead, try to see your team as your most important client. Treat them the way you want them to treat your clients. How well you treat them has a major impact on how well they treat others. Use these three steps to put your team first:

1 Educate your team members. Spend at least as much time and effort to educate team members as you do with clients in your exam rooms. More than knowing what services you provide, your team needs to know why the doctors believe the services are important and the benefits they provide pets and their owners.

Educate your team members on your preventive care protocols because these are the things they will talk the most about with clients. Make sure they know why they are important for pets' health as well as how to explain them in clear, client-friendly language.

Why not give your team a peek in the exam room? Role play a client interacting with your doctors and assistants as they take the client through an exam. To make it fun, have the client do silly things that real clients do in the exam room. The point is to help team members who normally aren't in the exam room see how the clinical team discusses things with the clients. Be sure to do a dog visit and a cat visit to address species-specific issues. Use real pets to show how the doctor works with the pets and raises different pet care issues throughout the exam.

2 Tell team members  what's going on first. These are two commonly overlooked areas: 

• Let your team know before you post on social media so they're prepared to respond to client questions and comments. 

• When running promotions or making changes tell team members what's going to happen before it starts. It helps them feel in the loop and cared for.

3 Model the behavior you want by treating team members with the respect you give your "front door" clients. Being attentive to their needs, showing appreciation and saying please and thank you helps them feel cared for. Be a model for the way you want your team to treat others in and outside the practice.

Karyn Gavzer, MBA, CVPM, is a practice management educator for veterinary practices. She originally wrote this piece for CareCredit.

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