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Spreading the customer service magic

Long Beach, California convention center

Incorporating some of Disney's customer service practices can improve the relationship between veterinarians and pet parents.

Sponsored by Pet Smart.

While attending the 2023 Fetch dvm360® Conference in Long Beach, California, Adam Christman, DVM, MBA, discussed how Disney’s example of customer service makes each guest feel like a VIP. Being a frequent visitor of Disney’s theme parks, Adam provided firsthand knowledge and passion that fueled his talk. “Every time I see Mickey, I feel nostalgic. I feel happy. It makes me and my partner feel more bonded together. I’m sure your family has these magical moments. All of these people make these processes and places come together.” Using Disney’s four quality standards—courtesy, efficiency, safety, and show—he explains their importance and shares with the audience how to implement them in their practice. “You and I are making magic happen every day with what we do.”

Examining the veterinary office

Some things to consider that make a better experience for pet owners and veterinary staff include thinking about how the office smells, if everything is cleaned up and put away, staff autonomy, and even squeaky toys for pets ready to go. Imagine presenting a Kong toy, which is a favorite for a dog, and suddenly they’re excited to be at the vet. “This is all part of customer service. You want [pets and pet owners] to have a positive experience when they come to see you,” said Christman.

Diving deeper into autonomy, Christman emphasized how speaking to someone face to face can make the difference. It is important to have a door open where you are able to make choices and have the right leadership available to you.

This same intention applies to the marketing of your practice. For example, Christman explained how people were disappointed that he went to a breeder for a Doxin, but they were unaware that he had three rescues at home and took care of a paralyzed Doxin for over a decade. “Be inclusive of your dogs, your cats, and your clients.”

With the end of the year approaching, he insisted it is a good time to find a handful of rockstar clients and send them a gift. Whether it is something nice or something that reminds them of their pet, it is a way of thanking them and letting them know you’re excited to see them in 2024. 

The compass

Another component of the Disney model is the Guest Compass Tool which, instead of directions, stands for Needs, Stereotypes, Emotions, and Wants. Needs refer to situational needs like preventative care, vaccinations, and so forth. Stereotypes are not exactly as they sound. Rather, they are the perception the client has of a profession, like thinking all veterinarians are overpriced. Emotions are a bit more straightforward but involve bringing compassion and empathy to every step of an exam, procedure, or difficult news. Lastly, want refers to what the client wants to gain out an interaction. They want their pet to be happy and healthy, which will motivate their vet visit.

Bringing the magic of Disney to the forefront will enhance not only the workday, but each client interaction.

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