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Team members make strong recommendations


Use these strategies to harness your team members' power to drive client compliance and revenue—and improve your patients' health.

You told Mrs. Smith that little Jasper needed to have his teeth cleaned last year. And the year before that. What do you have to do to get through to her?

Tallying the products team members recommend

The truth is she may not be hearing you clearly. And the best way to make sure she hears you the next time is to get your team more involved. Use these four strategies to make sure you're getting your message across:

1. Prepare your team to educate clients. Your wellness care recommendations for many pets will be the same. And when your team members know what they are, they can reinforce your message. After all, clients may have more contact with your team members than they do with you. Maximize that exposure! (See "Quantifying Team Members' Contact With Clients" for more.)

2. Find more opportunities during the visit to reinforce your key health messages. Studies show people may need to hear the same information five to seven times before they act on it. Can you give a basic recommendation for care that many times in a visit?

Repetition could hold the key to getting commitment from a client who's waffling about a dental prophy or a change in diet. So tap your team and make these basic care recommendations when the client checks in, when your assistant takes a history, when you complete your exam, at check-out, and at any other opportunity.

Quantifying team members contact with clients

3. Make sure you don't leave the client with unasked or unanswered questions. Uncertainty is the enemy of agreement. Some strategies that can help:

  • Train your whole team to use simple language, models, handouts, and any other tools that help explain the problem and the solution you propose.

  • Ask whether the client has other questions. Watch for visual clues that the client may be confused. A furrowed brow is a sign you need to back up and try another explanation.

  • Train your team to ask clients whether they have more questions. Sometimes pet owners feel more comfortable asking someone besides the doctor when they have concerns.

  • Make sure you don't signal that you're in a hurry. If pet owners aren't sure you'll listen, they won't ask. So make sure no one on your team leans toward the door, puts a hand on the doorknob, or glances at the time or the next client in line when they ask for final questions.

4. Follow up. Build in systems that let your front-office team know what you recommended to the client, so they can reinforce your recommendation and schedule any follow-up care before the client leaves. Then, to catch anyone who slipped through the cracks, ask a team member to pull records and look for recommended care that wasn't provided, so you can follow up with clients and give pets the care you know they need.

You can also orchestrate opportunities to talk to clients about your general recommendations between visits. A practice newsletter, a quarterly client e-mail update, and even your reminders give you a chance to talk about how to maximize pets' health.

Stronger recommendations lead to better client compliance. That leads to healthier pets. Which means your team members feel more satisfied with their work—and more job satisfaction for you, too. Everybody wins.

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