Recipe for (veterinary practice) success

October 9, 2019
Peter Weinstein
Peter Weinstein

Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, is executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, co-author of The E-Myth Veterinarian with Michael Gerber and a veterinary coach at simplesolutionsforvets.com.

Its not a recipe for success for your veterinary practice unless other smart people cant pick up your systems and get the same results. Time to start building a client service and patient care cookbook!

(Zarya Maxim / stock.adobe.com)Most of the tasks performed on a daily basis in a veterinary hospital are repetitive. And you'd think that repetitive tasks would be performed the same way each time, every time, without fail. And that all people performing those tasks would perform them roughly the same way.

But that isn't the case. If you were to call your veterinary practice multiple times during the day, you'd probably get different greetings and answers depending on who picks up the phone. They'll range from first class to no class. When you open a spay pack on Monday, the organization will probably be different than Wednesday, depending on whose job it was that day. And the cages that were clean on Tuesday are a mess on Friday.

Now, think about how many of us choose restaurants-because of the service they offer and the food they provide. We go a second time if the first visit was memorable. However, we choose to go back again and again because both the food and the service are consistently good every time we go. How do they get that lobster so great at every dinner?

Think about the repetitive tasks in your hospital like a recipe in a restaurant-with the right ingredients combined in the right order with the right tools, the outcomes should be predictable and consistent, no matter who does them. What's your recipe for success? How about creating a recipe (or process) that clearly defines how you want an action performed each time, every time, all the time, without fail?

I am not advocating for turning your veterinary team members into robots. I am suggesting that your recipe for success-your cookbook for everything you do and for world-class client, patient, staff and management experiences-starts with creating consistent systems for your most common tasks. The recipe (process) and cookbook (operations manual) for your practice tell everyone, “This is how we do it here,” every time, all the time, no matter who, without fail.

Just like a cookbook has chapters on appetizers, entrees, desserts, drinks and so on, you can break your operations manual into sections based on the zones in your hospital: client service, animal care, management, technical, clinical and so on.

Finally, in a restaurant or a cookbook, the recipe is only perfect when anybody-even those without special skills-can make the recipe as well as the person who wrote the recipe. Create your processes with enough detail that they can be used to train new hires and remind existing skilled staff members that this is how we do it here.

At this time, when competition for veterinary care comes not just from other veterinarians but from other businesses (vets in pet stores!), can you create awesome, predictable and consistent client, patient and staff experiences that make you the preferred provider of veterinary care in your community? If you create your own recipes and cookbook, you can-and you will.

Peter Weinstein, DVM, MBA, is executive director of the Southern California Veterinary Medical Association, co-author of The E-Myth Veterinarian with Michael Gerber and a veterinary coach at simplesolutionsforvets.com.