Best Practices and up to the minute news on Customer Experience Management and Service Excellence

7 Ways to Improve Client Communication at Your Veterinary Practice

Great communication goes a long way towards building client loyalty and trust.

Client communication is key to providing a positive guest experience at your veterinary practice, according to veterinary practice software provider VETport. Good communication among veterinarians, staff members and clients leads to better patient outcomes and customer satisfaction and builds trust, says VETport.

It’s not just the veterinarians at your practice who are tasked with communicating with clients, either. Everyone on your team, from front desk staffers to nurses and vet techs, should be trained to communicate with each other and your clients to provide a positive guest experience.

“You might be a bona fide horse whisperer or a veritable Doctor Dolittle, but if you can’t communicate effectively with your human team members, you’re going to quickly run into problems,” according to veterinary practice software provider VetRadar.

Ready to improve your veterinary practice staff’s and your own communication skills? Here are seven tips for building trust and loyalty among clients with better communication.

1. Set the tone with a warm greeting

Set a welcoming tone by greeting patients and clients by name, making sure not to confuse the pet’s gender, which can put off some clients. “Focusing on details leaves the impression that you remember they were going to visit you and you care for the patient,” says VETport.

2. Offer thorough explanations

“Give [clients] all the necessary details on why such treatment is required or why the medication is suggested,” says VETport. “Don’t just listen and draw conclusions. Involve your clients in the process to better understand the case.”

3. Pay attention to body language

Body language cues abound when it comes to staff interactions with each other and your clients. You already know that pets give off some obvious body language cues such as yawning and/or stiffening or backing away when anxious, nervous or feeling threatened. But don’t forget to pay attention to your staff members’, clients’ and especially your own body language, too.

“When you’re feeling fatigued or dealing with a high-pressure situation, it’s easy to unconsciously give off negative nonverbal cues,” says VetRadar. “Be mindful of how your body language can be interpreted by those around you and be sure to clarify your thoughts, feelings, and intentions to clear up any ambiguous nonverbal (and verbal) behavior.”

4. Avoid using industry jargons and acronyms with clients

Just because you and your staff are well-versed in veterinary terms and acronyms doesn’t mean you should use the same terminology with your clients. They may be reluctant to ask for further explanation and subsequently walk away without understanding what you’re trying to say, why a treatment is necessary or what outcome to expect.

5. Be empathetic

“Put yourself in your client’s position and then treat them the way you would have wanted to be treated,” says VETport. “Make them comfortable. Win their confidence.”

6. Employ veterinary practice software

In addition to scheduling appointments and sending appointment reminders and follow-ups and  easily accessing patient records, VetRadar recommends using veterinary practice software such as a “digital whiteboard” as an alternative to handwritten notes.

“Digital whiteboards help unify communications across the practice by enabling every team member to track hospitalized patients and access critical information, including treatment plans, schedules, patient notes, inventory and more from their devices.”

7. Respond to reviews and complaints

If someone writes a negative review, respond to the review with an apology for the unpleasant experience and let them (and everyone else reading the review) know that you plan to address the issue. Also acknowledge good reviews, saying you’re glad the client had a good experience and you appreciate the review and their loyalty.

When a client calls or emails your practice to complain about guest or patient service, get back with them right away to learn more and address their complaints to their satisfaction.