A recent report even stated that 90% of Americans use customer service as a factor in deciding whether or not to remain loyal to a company. The collective set of policies that govern how you and your staff interact with your veterinary clients, from greeting them in the lobby to handling service complaints, can impact not only their experience at your business, but also your bottom line.
We’ve included tips below for you and your staff to make sure your veterinary practice offers the best customer experience possible.
High-quality customer service training programs make sure that your staff have the necessary skills they need to have successful interactions with customers. These include listening skills, crisis management, empathy, and knowledge about your products and services.
Think about instituting training that helps prepare your staff for all sorts of client interactions. What system do you have in place to manage angry or upset pet owners? How can your staff seize opportunities to better communicate the value of their services? What tools are you giving employees to help them have hard conversations with clients about their pet’s health?
Make sure your customer service training is holistic, from onboarding new employees thoroughly to providing continued learning opportunities for existing staff.
Any visit to the vet is typically accompanied by a deluge of information, from vaccine requirements, nutritional recommendations, fitness regimens, to postoperative pet care. Whether or not a client is visiting you for a scheduled routine appointment or an emergency visit, the sheer volume of new information can leave them overwhelmed, especially with a sick or new pet. Make sure your staff is familiar with the material in these brochures so that they can help answer any specific questions your clients might have and better inform them about their pet’s health needs.
As part of training your team, help them understand how the information itself is important, how it is communicated matters more. Patience, warmth and confidence while educating a pet owner is essential.
Providing brochures is a simple and effective way of offering the information your clients need, whether they’re sitting in your lobby before an appointment or following up on your advice at home afterwards and can find the equivalent information on your website. Brochures can serve as an important patient education tool, breaking down complicated procedures and addressing basic animal health questions work as a supplement to the care you and your staff provide.
The American Veterinary Medical Association offers professional-quality brochures covering a range of topics (for a price), but if you’d rather create your own, there are plenty of examples online to serve as inspiration.
Veterinary clients lead busy lives, and while there are many reasons to miss their pet’s appointment, oftentimes it’s simply because they forget they scheduled it. In such a situation, appointment reminders are useful to help them keep track of their scheduled visit’s details.
Whether it’s via text, an automated phone call, or a personal phone call by one of your staff, appointment reminders are an important tool to help get your clients through the door. Reminders allow clients to receive advanced notice allowing them to cancel or reschedule if needed, and offers patients on the waiting list an opportunity to fill an open spot rather than go to a competitor. According to some research, less than 5% of scheduled appointments are canceled after a client receives a text reminder.
Whether you choose to send automated text message reminders or conduct in-person phone call reminders will likely depend on your budget, staffing needs, and client preferences. Whichever option you choose, it’s important to communicate the logistics your clients need to access your goods and services.
Feedback is important. According to a recent survey, acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer, and increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. So it’s important for you to understand what keeps your clientele coming back for more, and what drives them away.
A veterinary practice that listens and incorporates customer feedback can improve the quality of their products and services, create new business development opportunities, and grow their bottom line. In the digital age, there are many ways that you can not only get your customer’s opinions on their experience at your business, but also act on it to better meet their needs. You could utilize an online survey, an in-person survey, email marketing, or calling your customers post-visit to learn more about their experience.
Depending on what type of feedback you receive, you can pursue different approaches to act on it to improve your veterinary practice. The important thing is that your customers feel that they’re being heard, and that your staff is aware of the areas where they’re excelling – and where they could do better.