Updated: May 6
To be competitive in the veterinary industry, you must remain at the top of your game, and not just in terms of medicine. These days, poor communication simply won’t cut it. Not only does good communication improve the client experience from a service perspective, but it also aids in education, which results in happier, healthier patients. In other words, everyone wins! Let’s take a look at a few of the top ways you can optimize the client communication in your practice.
You and your team may be fine speaking to each other using industry jargon, but doing so with your clients can be confusing and frustrating. Use clear language that is easy for a layperson to understand. And always take the time to answer any questions to provide clarification if and when needed.
The foundation of good communication is listening. You may have a lot you want to say and a busy schedule to contend with, but if you’re not allowing your clients to speak and – more importantly – taking the time to truly listen, you might as well hand deliver them to your competition.
Despite your years of education and industry experience, you’re not always going to know all the answers to every question. When this happens, be honest about it. And if there’s a situation with a patient in which you feel you simply don’t have the expertise needed, be willing to defer to a specialist.
It’s not enough to just advise a client of a recommended treatment. You must also explain why you’ve decided to take that course of action. Ideally, you should provide a client with multiple options and help them make an informed decision. But if there’s really only one best option, help them understand why.
The truth is, not every treatment or procedure will be without risk. It’s imperative that you are forthcoming with clients about those risks, whether it’s the potential for side effects due to a medication or the likelihood of complications during surgery. This news may not be easy to share, but it’s critical.
Pet owners play a pivotal role in the health and wellness of their pets. Shouldn’t they be included in their medical decisions? We believe so. Always take the time to explain and educate. Make decisions together. Offer advice for home care. Treat your clients as the important part of the team they truly are.
Last, but certainly not least, remember that despite your role as clinician, you are a human and an animal lover first. Always demonstrate empathy and make yourself available as a source of support. Those personal connections will lead to better quality care and ultimately better your bottom line.
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