A Guide to an Excellent Veterinary Customer Experience
Caring for pets is not just about medical expertise; it’s also about ensuring a positive and comfortable experience for both the pets and their owners. From the moment they step into your clinic to the time they leave, it’s essential to create an environment that puts both clients and their furry companions at ease. In this guide, we’ll explore key strategies for keeping your customers comfortable from the waiting room to the exam room and back home.
Put Customer Service First
Did you know about 1 in 5 customers in the U.S. will walk away from a business after one bad experience? The foundation of a successful veterinary practice is outstanding customer service. Your clients are not just customers; they’re pet parents who want the best care for their furry family members.
To provide exceptional customer service:
- Greet Clients Warmly: A friendly and welcoming greeting sets the tone for the entire visit. A warm smile and a simple “Hello, how can we help you today?” can go a long way.
- Actively Listen: Listen to your clients’ concerns and questions. Make them feel heard and valued and encourage them to share any relevant information about their pets’ health and behavior.
- Communicate Clearly: Explain medical procedures, diagnoses, and treatment options in a way that clients can understand. Use simple language and avoid industry jargon.
- Follow Up: After a visit or procedure, check in with clients to see how their pets are doing. This shows that you care about their well-being beyond the appointment.
Ensure Vets Are Well-Informed
Informed veterinarians are crucial to the well-being of your patients. Imagine how a worried pet owner would feel if their veterinarian didn’t know who they were or why they were being seen. The pet owner may become frustrated and feel like they’re not valued. Here’s how to make sure your veterinary team stays well-informed:
- Make Sure Your Staff is Prepared: Before seeing their first patient, your staff members should look at an overview of their schedule and the reasons for each appointment. This gives the vets time to prepare for their day, mental space to process complex cases, and the energy to give each client the attention they deserve.
- Keep Track of Patient Records: Maintain detailed and accurate records for each patient, including medical history, allergies, and previous treatments. This information ensures that vets have all the necessary data to make informed decisions.
- Regular Training: Keep your vet staff updated on the latest research, treatments, and best practices. Continuous education ensures they provide the best care possible.
Provide a Hospitable Environment
Creating a welcoming atmosphere in your clinic can help alleviate anxiety and stress for both pets and their owners. Consider these steps:
- Create a Comfortable Waiting Area: Make the waiting room cozy with comfortable seating, especially if patients may be waiting for a long time.
- Offer Refreshments and Entertainment: Everyone needs water, right? Offering water bottles and having water bowls and treats for pets ensures that everyone feels catered to. And for your clients specifically, play calming music and offer magazines and educational resources.
- Keep Certain Species Separate: If your space allows, have a separate area for cats and dogs so pets can remain as calm as possible.
Review Your Booking, Check-In, and Check-Out Process
A seamless process can significantly enhance the client experience. Here’s what to consider:
- Ensure Instructions are Clear: Provide clear instructions for check-in and check-out procedures to eliminate confusion and make the process as straightforward as possible.
- Get Someone to Test Your Process: This could also be done by a close friend, but having a customer experience expert or another business owner would be ideal. The goal is to have feedback you can use to improve your process.
- Offer Online Booking: Offer online booking options, allowing clients to request appointments conveniently.
Manage Your Time Wisely
Whether you run a mobile veterinary practice or operate in a brick-and-mortar, you know that your days don’t always go according to plan. Late arrivals, a crowded calendar, and unexpected messes can cause days to go off the rails. To decrease the risk of stress in you, your staff, and your patients, implement these strategies:
- Minimize Wait Times: Veterinarian clients wait an average of 17 minutes to be seen, yet most become irritated after only 15 minutes. Efficient scheduling and timely appointments reduce wait times, which can be stressful for pets and their owners.
- Make Your Calendar Work for You: Instead of trying to schedule as many visits as possible, utilize your practice management software to highlight your busiest and slowest days, and base your open appointments on that data and your staffing capabilities.
- Relay Appointment Delays: If your office is running behind on their appointments, call or text your clients about the delays and suggest that they come later. This shows they your clinic respects the time of your patients. And rather than being angry with your clinic for the inconvenience, they’ll appreciate the notice.
- Take Client Information in Advance: With DaySmart Vet’s current online forms feature, practices can now send their clients pre-made or customized forms prior to their appointment for things like new client intake, surgery consent, and more. Forms can be sent through text, email, or in the client-facing PetCare mobile app. Not only will this decrease the amount of time clients spend in the waiting room, but it will also create a seamless check-in process and allow your clinic to go paperless!
Catering to the needs of your pet patients and their owners is a cornerstone of a successful veterinary practice. By focusing on good customer service, ensuring your vet staff is well-informed, providing a hospitable environment, reviewing your processes, and practicing good time management, you can create a comfortable and welcoming experience that sets your clinic apart. Keep in mind that a positive experience not only ensures the well-being of the pets but also fosters client loyalty, ultimately benefiting your business and DaySmart Vet offers tools and features to help you do that. To get a better scope of how our software could assist you further, schedule a demo or watch our latest customer experience workshop.