August 26, 2016
Brendan Howard, Business Channel Director

Brendan Howard oversees veterinary business, practice management and life-balance content for, dvm360 magazine, Firstline and Vetted, and plans the Practice Management track at all three Fetch dvm360 conferences.Brendan has proudly served under the Veterinary Economics and dvm360 banners for more than 10 years. Before that, he worked as a journalist, writer and editor at Entrepreneur magazine and a top filmed entertainment magazine in Southern California. Brendan received a Masters in English Literature from University of California, Riverside, in 1999.

7 tips for a client focus group to give you and your veterinary practice truly actionable (and inspiring) feedback.

This quick tip from a CVC Kansas City lecture we just sat in on comes courtesy of exotics veterinarian and soon-to-be-bestselling memoir author Laurie Hess, DVM, DABVP (avian practice), owner of Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford Hills, New York.

In a session about lots of creative client compliance ideas, Hess pitched tips for a great focus group. I mean, if you want to know what clients like and don't like about your practice so you can highlight successes or fix problems, why not start with you, y'know, your clients?

A great veterinary client focus group ...

> Is offsite. They won't be as candid if they feel like they might be heard by you or your veterinary practice team.

> Needs a moderator. "Not everything is going to be positive, and not everything is going to be negative," Hess says, but you need someone to balance out any Negative Nancies.

> Doesn't include you. The moderator can't be you.

> Involves new clients as well as clients from years past. Focus not just on new clients, but long-standing clients with a historical view of what you've been doing over time.

> Leads to you making adjustments and giving credit. They're giving you feedback-act on it. And give credit to the helpful focus group if you publicize a new change.

> Gives you positive points for practice promotion. Hey, they gave you positive feedback! Share that as anonymous quotes in brochures, in social media or on your website.

And, last but not least, buy your focus group lunch. Or dinner.

"Feeding people makes them happy," Hess says. "They'll be more likely to contribute things in the discussion."