Team Tactics: Fixing Bad Customer Service


If you find your veterinary practice struggling with less-than-stellar customer service ratings, these 6 tips can help get your team back on track.

Client centricity is vital to providing exceptional all-around care in your practice. And it’s often the little things that make the biggest difference and keep clients coming back. If your practice is struggling with poor customer service ratings, we can help. Here are 6 tips to help you better serve your clients.

Tip #1. Set standards with your team.

Have you set practice standards for customer service, and are those standards clearly communicated to your team? If your answer to either question is ”no,” then you have a bit of work to do.

Having set standards can help bring balance and structure to your practice and make sure customer service is always top notch. For example, make sure your receptionists know that the phone should be answered after no more than 4 rings, or provide them with a set telephone greeting they should use. When you have set (and stated) standards throughout each department of your practice, you leave much less room for error.

Tip #2. Show your team what great (and not-so-great) customer service looks like.

Maybe your employees are giving bad customer service because they have never experienced good customer service themselves. A great way to open their minds to the idea is to show them first-hand what good and bad customer service looks like. Have them pay attention to how they are treated the next time they go to a store or restaurant. What made them feel satisfied? What did they notice was lacking in the employees they met?

Tip #3. Use the right language.

When speaking with clients, make sure you alter the language you use so that you don’t come across as demanding or critical. Taking the word “you” out of any sentence is usually a great first step toward achieving this goal. To teach your team to modify their language, try writing down examples of phrases they should—and should not—use.

  • Instead of saying “You need to…” employees should say, “We find it usually works best when…”
  • Instead of saying “Please hold…” they should say, “May I place you on a brief hold?”

Tip #4. Make your services more available.

Clients can get very frustrated if they are unable to reach you during a pet emergency. For most practices, staying open 24 hours is not feasible, but offering an emergency on-call contact number is a great solution. If you simply cannot afford to be on call, try ramping up your self-service options instead. (See next tip.)

Tip #5. Have simple questions answered on your website.

It takes a load off your receptionists (and you) to have an FAQ page on your website to answer those questions clients ask again and again. This will allow shorter wait times for phone calls and more time for your employees to focus on other important tasks. Remember to keep the FAQ page updated, and list your address and hours of operation prominently on your website.

Tip #6. Seek out and destroy places where you fall short.

Where are you and your team dropping the ball? Find that area and attack it. If you find it difficult to keep up with the flood of emails your practice receives, maybe you can dedicate one employee to responding to them. If you are failing to notice customer complaints or bad online reviews, do whatever you can to allocate more time to that area. Remember, small errors can build up and quickly turn into major problems for your practice.

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