Sample script: Sidestep bill blow-ups
Dissatisfied clients are a fact of veterinary practice life. How upsetting this fact becomes—for you and the client—hinges on how you react. Think of dealing with upset clients like disassembling a time bomb: Stay calm, keep wires from getting crossed, and disconnect the tick-tick-ticking before anyone goes off. The next time you're handling a pet owner's heated complaint about a bill, remember this script from Nancy Potter, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and the practice manager at Olathe Animal Hospital in Olathe, Kan.
Client: "Have you seen this ridiculous bill? I'm going to tell everyone I know not to come here. You're just trying to get my money!"
You (keeping your cool, which is critical): "Mr. Simms, you know we're trying to give Boz the best possible care. To do that, we need to run lab tests that will give us an overall picture of his health. The equipment and supplies necessary to run these tests aren't cheap, but the results will help us help Boz."
Client: "But this costs so much! It's like highway robbery! How can you charge that much?!"
You (sounding sincere and understanding): "I understand that this may have come as a surprise to you, which I know had to be unpleasant. But I also promise you that we're doing only what's necessary to ensure Boz receives the right kind of care. I know how carefully you take care of Boz, and we want to be sure you both get the care you need. Going forward, we'll make sure we call you with an update of the cost of care, so this type of charge doesn't catch you off-guard again."