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7 Tips for Better Client Communication

Updated: May 4

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.

Be Clear

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.

Be Honest

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.

Be Open

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.

Include Them

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.

Be Human

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.

Our Advice on Tips for Better Client Communication in 2024

What specific training or resources can veterinary practices provide to their staff to help them develop and maintain strong communication skills?

Veterinary practices can offer training sessions focused on client communication like role-playing exercises to practice empathetic listening and clear explanations. Webinars and workshops by communication experts can provide insights into managing sensitive conversations and educating clients about complex medical information. Staff should also access online courses and reading materials that cover effective ways to handle challenging clients or break difficult news with empathy. Encouraging cross-disciplinary knowledge-sharing between veterinarians, technicians, and receptionists can further improve consistency and ensure a high standard of communication across the team.

What role can technology play in enhancing client communication and engagement beyond in-person interactions?

Technology can significantly enhance client communication and engagement beyond in-person interactions. Client portals provide 24/7 access to medical records, appointment scheduling, and test results, empowering pet owners with information. Mobile apps offer reminders for vaccinations, medications, and follow-up visits, ensuring better compliance and proactive care. Telemedicine enables timely consultations for non-emergency concerns, reducing stress for clients and pets alike. These tools streamline communication, make critical information accessible, and create a seamless client experience that strengthens trust and fosters long-term relationships.

How can practices gather and act on client feedback to continuously improve their communication and service quality?

Practices can gather client feedback through post-appointment surveys or follow-up calls, asking specific questions about the quality of communication and services received. Monitoring online reviews provides additional insights into recurring concerns or positive highlights. Organizing focus groups with diverse clients allows for in-depth discussions on improvement areas. Once data is collected, practices should analyze trends, identify action items, and implement targeted changes. Regular staff training based on feedback ensures consistent improvement, while transparent communication of implemented changes fosters client trust and demonstrates a genuine commitment to quality care.

What are some best practices for communicating with clients in emotionally charged situations?

In emotionally charged situations, best practices for client communication include starting with empathy, acknowledging their emotions, and offering reassurance that their concerns are understood. Maintain a calm and gentle tone while explaining the situation clearly, avoiding medical jargon that may confuse them. Be transparent about treatment options and potential outcomes, providing honest yet compassionate guidance. Allow clients time to process the information and ask questions. Offering follow-up support and resources, such as referrals or written instructions, helps to build trust and maintain a strong relationship.

How can practices tailor their communication approaches to meet the diverse needs and preferences of different client segments?

Practices can tailor communication approaches by first segmenting clients based on factors like age, lifestyle, and pet ownership experience. Younger clients may prefer text or social media updates, while older clients might appreciate phone calls or printed materials. New pet owners benefit from detailed educational resources, whereas experienced owners may require concise updates. Multilingual clients can receive materials in their preferred language, enhancing understanding. Gathering feedback through surveys or focus groups helps identify these preferences, enabling practices to adjust their communication styles accordingly for better client engagement.

For more practice management tips, tricks, and expert advice, bookmark the DVMelite blog and check back often for fresh content.

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