4 Emotional Elements of the Doctor-Client Relationship
Most of us entered the veterinary field because of the special connection we share with animals. But it’s important not to forget about those human relationships too. After all, it’s the patient’s owner who ultimately make the decision of who will be their pet’s long-term doctor. Finding a way to connect and bond on a personal level requires tapping into certain emotional elements of client service. Here are the four most critical areas to focus on.
Just as you’re evaluating an animal during that initial visit, his or her owner is sizing you up at the same time. How do you handle their precious pet? How engaging are you with them? Are you friendly, warm and welcoming? Do you invite questions and take the time to listen and respond? Are you patient and receptive? The importance of good bedside manner cannot be understated – especially during the very first interaction, so make sure you are doing everything in your power to win them over right out of the gate.
Comfort Level / Trust
The key to client compliance is establishing a solid foundation of trust. When a pet owner feels comfortable asking questions and discussing their concerns, they’ll be much more likely to listen to your advice and follow your guidance. This serves two purposes: strengthening the connection between yourself and the client, and ensuring that your patients always receive optimal care, both in-clinic and at home. To that end, you should be focusing on ways to earn the trust of your clients and their pets and making sure every one of them feels comfortable while in your care.
At the end of the day, your clients could easily choose any vet on the block. The fact that they’ve decided to go with you should not go unnoticed. Always look for opportunities to show your appreciation and thank them for their business. One great way to do this – and grow your practice at the same time – is to implement a referral program. Whenever a client refers someone new, they get a credit on their account. This makes them feel appreciated and also brings new business through the doors, making it a win-win!
Every time a client takes your advice and does something you recommend, you should recognize it out loud. After all, who doesn’t love a good compliment? People take pride in how they care for their pets and it’s a nice feeling when someone tells them they’re doing a good job. Never miss an opportunity to compliment a client on their follow-through. This reinforces your partnership and increases the likelihood of continued compliance going forward. Again – it’s a situation in which everyone benefits.
The doctor-client relationship is just as important as the bond you share with your patients. By embracing and nurturing the emotional elements listed above, you can further strengthen that connection and ultimately build a more sustainably successful business in the process.