Who meets your veterinary clients first? Invest in training them

Posted in: Articles

Posted on: 10 October 2012

More often than not, it is not the vet who is the first person to have contact with the potential client. If the telephone in the veterinary clinic rings, it's probably the receptionist who answers. If someone comes through the door, the first person they're likely to see is also the receptionist or a vet nurse. These are the people who ultimately "win" the client at first contact.

First impressions are everything

We've all heard the old saying "first impressions are everything", and it's fair to say that a new client will likely develop an impression about your staff and your practice on their first contact with your personnel. Some of the things we are judged on are:

  • Professionalism
  • Friendliness
  • Knowledge
  • Helpfulness
  • Courtesy
  • Credibility
  • Confidence
  • Responsiveness
  • Appearance
  • Understanding

Depending on how your receptionist or veterinary nurse is perceived can determine the outcome of the relationship. Of course you want the outcome to be successful, i.e. the potential client likes your staff and your practice enough to want to register their animal with you!

Great customer service starts with your staff and training

As the vet or practice manager, it is vital to understand that great customer service starts with your staff and training. This training may be time-consuming and expensive, but it’s worth it and hopefully the rewards mean more clients for your clinic. Personal recommendation and word of mouth spread is the best marketing of all. The training should therefore pay for itself in time.

Don't forget to smile

When potential clients call, you need to be ready! Always say “good morning” or “good afternoon”, introduce yourself, take an interest in their pet (ask its name!) and offer an appointment (you'd be surprised how frequently this point is forgotten). Image is also vitally important. Ensure everyone is dressed neatly, smartly and appropriately - and ideally in clinic branded clothing. Consider name badges and don't forget to smile! If your clinic has email (and it should!), ensure you reply swiftly.

Many people notice not what you’re doing right, but what you’re doing wrong – so don’t slip up by making these simple mistakes.

The best client is a repeat one

The best client is one that comes back time and time again and that tells their friends about you. This is much more likely if they’ve been happy with your customer service, particularly on that first impression.

In the veterinary industry, first impressions are very important. People love their pets and want to know that they are in safe, caring hands. If your veterinary practice does not fulfil these basic requirements, you could well lose out to the competing practice down the road – the practice that has invested time in training its staff to deliver excellent client service and care.

There are a lot of veterinary clinics these days – invest in creating your edge and highlighting your assets!



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