The right questions to ask clients


These three types of questions help you start the discussion-and keep it going.

Save your close-ended, yes or no questions for the history. To really build a relationship with your client and patient, you need more than a one-word answer—which means you need to ask an open-ended question. Then you can ask follow-up questions using either method, depending on what has piqued your interest. Beware of asking yes or no questions too soon, though. You could cut the conversation short, leaving you with an incomplete evaluation.

1. Rapport building

These questions help you get to know the client and pet and get a clearer picture of the pet's general environment.

  • How did you decide on your pet's name?

  • Tell me about Fluffy's typical day.

  • Tell me a bit about your household. What activities do your family members do? Who lives there? What other pets do you have?

  • Tell me a bit about where you live. Are there stairs? A fenced yard? Where does Fluffy sleep?

2. Probing the client's needs

These questions help you find out what the client is looking for. For example, does he or she want peace of mind, comfort, or a financial estimate?

  • What concerns you the most about Fluffy?

  • How does Fluffy's problem affect the activity and living conditions in your home?

3. Probing the pet's needs

With these questions, you're pinpointing changes in the pet's life. What does the animal need now? These questions also help clients understand that their pet goes through life stages, too.

  • What changes have you seen in Fido in the last year? Eating habits, activity level, sleeping habits, playfulness?

  • What are Fluffy's favorite foods?

  • What does Buster do for exercise? Have you seen any changes in his energy level?

  • Does Fifi come in contact with other people?
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