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6 Tips for Running a Successful Vet Clinic with Limited Staff

Updated: Feb 11

One of the most common concerns the team at DVMelite hears from struggling practice owners is trying to run a successful business with limited human resources. The fact is, when the budget is tight, hiring more team members simply isn’t always an option. Thankfully, there are things you can do to make managing a productive practice entirely possible, regardless of how many (or few) staff members you’ve got on your payroll. Here are six tips to get you started.

Huddle Up

It may seem counterproductive to schedule a meeting every single day, but at the right time and in the right context, morning catch-up sessions (or “huddles”) with the entire team can be very beneficial. Take a few moments at the beginning of the day, before you unlock the door and begin the hustle and bustle of daily work duties to define goals, set priorities, discuss concerns, and just get on the same page. This keeps everyone in the loop and can do wonders for your team’s productivity.

Get Organized

Assigning roles and setting expectations is essential, particularly in settings in which staff is limited. Identifying which team member will handle which duties each day (feel free to rotate) keeps everyone focused and on track to tackle everything on their to-do list. This ensures that the necessary tasks get completed and eliminates ball-dropping and finger-pointing, which can be toxic to your practice culture.

Share the Wealth

In line with creating work schedules, make sure that everyone on the team is pulling their weight and doing their fair share. Obviously, some tasks will be more in-depth, involved or skill-specific than others, but if you’re divvying up the work properly, everyone should be contributing equally. Having a rotating schedule can help ease some of the burden and create more of a teamwork mentality.

Use Technology Internally

Sometimes, the thing that will improve your practices’ productivity is simply finding ways to save time. Utilizing technology to improve communications and keep better track of everyone’s day-to-day schedule can be very helpful. For instance, at DVMelite, we use work management systems for tasking and keeping track of who is handling what. We also use an internal social network to make it easier and faster to access the information needed to complete tasks more effectively.

Make Your Website User-Friendly

When you enable features like online appointment scheduling and prescription refills right through your website, not only are you making life easier and more convenient for your clients, but you’re also improving efficiency within your practice. Every incoming web request means one less phone call that your busy staff has to answer, which frees your team to focus on more important matters, like creating a better client experience or increasing sales. (Not surprisingly, these types of user-friendly website features are part of the DVMelite practice growth process.)

Communicate Clearly with Clients

Another factor that can cause a practice with limited staff to go off the rails is client communication or lack thereof. For instance, without the right information provided upfront, a client could easily think dropping off for surgery means handing over the leash and leaving. As a result, “traffic jams” can easily occur at the front desk, sending already overloaded staff into even more of a tizzy. Set clear expectations with clients about things like filling out paperwork or going over discharge instructions. This will help set their expectations and also keep your practice running much more smoothly, which is better for everyone.

At DVMelite, we’ve helped practices with as few as just one or two staff members develop and implement strategies that have made them as successful as any of their larger competitors (sometimes even more so). We’d love the opportunity to do the same for you. To schedule a free 15-minute business consultation with one of our experts, please click here.

Our Advice on Running a Successful Vet Clinic with Limited Staff in 2024

Why is assigning roles and setting expectations crucial in a vet clinic with limited staff?

Assigning roles and setting expectations in a vet clinic with limited staff is crucial because it ensures clarity and efficiency in operations. It helps each team member understand their specific responsibilities, reducing overlap and preventing tasks from being overlooked. This organization optimizes using limited resources, maximizes productivity, and fosters a cohesive team environment where everyone knows their role and how it contributes to the clinic's overall success and the quality of patient care.

How can technology improve internal operations and productivity in a vet clinic?

Technology can significantly enhance internal operations and productivity in a vet clinic by streamlining appointment scheduling, facilitating efficient patient record management, and automating inventory tracking. It enables seamless communication within the team through work management systems, reducing time spent on manual tasks. Additionally, technology supports telemedicine services, allowing for remote consultations, which can expand the clinic's reach and improve client satisfaction, all while optimizing the staff's workload and enhancing the clinic's overall efficiency.

Why is clear communication with clients vital for the smooth operation of a vet clinic with limited staff?

Clear communication with clients is vital for the smooth operation of a vet clinic with limited staff because it sets proper expectations, minimizes misunderstandings, and reduces unnecessary back-and-forth communication. It ensures clients are well informed about their pets' care procedures, appointment protocols, and any required preparations, streamlining the check-in and discharge processes. This efficiency is crucial in a setting with limited staff, as it allows the team to focus on delivering quality care without additional stress or disruption.

What are the benefits of using work management systems and internal social networks within a vet clinic?

Using work management systems and internal social networks within a vet clinic offers several benefits, including improved team coordination, streamlined task delegation, and enhanced communication. These tools facilitate real-time updates on patient care, inventory levels, and daily schedules, reducing the risk of errors and ensuring everyone is aligned with the clinic's priorities. They foster a collaborative environment, making sharing knowledge easier, addressing concerns quickly, and maintaining a cohesive team, ultimately leading to better patient care and a more efficient workplace.

What strategies can help a vet clinic with limited staff avoid common pitfalls like "traffic jams" at the front desk?

Strategies to help a vet clinic with limited staff avoid front desk "traffic jams" include implementing online appointment scheduling and prescription refill requests, encouraging pre-visit paperwork completion, and utilizing digital communication for updates and reminders. These measures streamline client flow, reduce wait times, and minimize congestion. Clear communication about procedures and expectations can also prevent bottlenecks, enhance overall efficiency, and improve the client experience in a resource-constrained setting.

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