4 Tips for Client Retention

September 17, 2019

Retaining the 2-legged is important

As mentioned1, it’s cheaper to keep a client than to pursue new ones.  This is largely due to building the trust and relationship that goes into veterinary medicine. You don’t just take care of the animal, but also the person.

What are some good ways to take care of the people?

Here are four tips. While there are more out there, the key is to be intentional and focused on the person as well as the pet. View them as one entity rather than two separate beings.

Tip #1

First impressions are powerful.

lady on phone smilingHow do you treat the client on the phone or when he/she walks through the door?  The client coordinator (CSR or whatever term you wish) is the key player in this initial reaction by the client.

When on the phone, is the CSR smiling? Believe it or not, this simple act not only makes the CSR happier, but it can be “felt” through the phone on the other end.

When the client walks in the door, does the CSR greet that person immediately?  Even if the CSR is on the phone or dealing with another person, simple eye contact and a nod or smile is all that is needed.  The client isn’t imprudent – he/she can see that the CSR is busy.  All the person needs is acknowledgement that he/she is there.

It’s simple! Yet in our experience, immediate acknowledgment may be overlooked.

Tip #2

Does the team communicate appropriately? In other words, do they speak “client?”

The language we speak as veterinary team professionals is crucial to client understanding and patient care.2  Unless the pet parents happen to be in the medical field, speaking medical terminology won’t do much good when communicating with them.

In addition, we know that our veterinary patients can’t tell us directly what’s happening. The information comes from the pet parents, exams and diagnostics. Then, to ensure proper compliance, it is up to the veterinary team to provide clear medical direction for home care or follow up. Otherwise, we are doing a disservice to our patients.

Tip #3old man holding dog

Evaluate your hospital through the eyes of the client.

Have you ever visited a hospital as a client with your beloved pet instead of as a veterinary professional?

When a team provides an extraordinary client visit, it will exceed the client’s expectations. Going that extra step (literally and figuratively) to help clients and their pets feel welcomed, supported and understood is what will make the difference between ordinary service and an extraordinary experience.3

In addition to this blog, download and utilize the worksheet4 to evaluate your hospital through the client’s eyes.

Tip #4

Golden Rule – how would you like to be treated?woman high five with dog

We need to remind ourselves every now and then about the emotional attachment people share with their pets. Having empathy is key!

Empathy is defined as having the similar experience as another person and feeling the similar pain, anguish, joy, exuberance as they did. Empathy statements are the strongest ingredient in building relationships with people.5

When you and your team focus on the client as much as you focus on the pet, then a deeper relationship can be formed. This, in turn, helps with client retention, keeping them walking through YOUR door not the door down the street.


Now that you’ve read these tips, please send us ones that you’ve used and liked!

Email thoughts to [email protected].


  1. Addressing the need at the end of the leash. CATALYST VetPC. September 2019.
  2. Do you speak “client?” CATALYST VetPC. June 10, 2018.
  3. Through the Eyes of the Client. CATALYST VetPC. October 5, 2017.
  4. Through the Eyes of the Client Worksheet. CATALYST VetPC.
  5. Communication, Your Key to Success. CATALYST VetPC. March 1, 2019.