Really? A decline in professionalism?! Puttin’ on the RITZ!

January 31, 2017

Puttin’ on the Ritz!

Have you sensed a decline in the professional habits of veterinary team members? This past week I have spoken with not just one, but three veterinary hospital managers on this exact topic! Apparently there is a decline in professionalism, not only in the veterinary community, but in most industries.

Think about it. When was the last time you went to a restaurant and received a great experience? While having lunch with a veterinarian owner and two managers, this became a unique topic of discussion. Our conversation drifted from “those millennials,” to “what has happened to customer service in general?”

Most often we frequent a “Big Box” for home supplies and food. Not much of a “customer experience” there! Or sit in the car to pick up a quick lunch through a window in which you can barely see a person’s face. Not much of a “customer experience” there!

How many of your team members have sat down to a 5 Star (or even a 4 Star) meal? When was the last time you paid attention to the customer experience you were receiving from an acclaimed, eclectic restaurant?

Is it any wonder we have a disconnect when speaking with our team about offering an extraordinary client experience when they have never experienced it themselves, anywhere?

Whose job is it to educate a young person on manners, professionalism and being attentive to the needs of a client? The parents? Elementary or high school? Colleges or universities? The employer? Where does this learned behavior blossom and grow?

In the study, Professionalism, the Decline of a Critical Set of Behaviors, we may find answers. Patrick Miller, Ph.D., has this to say, “Businesses, themselves, will have to contribute the greater proportion of the solution. Making professionalism an explicit part of the orientation and training of all new hires is a step that most businesses have failed to take.”

So, there you have it! Teaching and training professionalism falls on the shoulders of the small business owner and managers!

Ironically, what I have experienced in teaching professional programs over the years is that people have a difficult time defining professionalism, but don’t have a problem recognizing an absence of it!

Have you ever considered taking your team to a well-known 5 Star (or 4 Star) restaurant as a training exercise?

Wait, hear me out! Before you attend, engage in a conversation about customer service, professional attitude and the feeling you experience when someone is so attentive to your needs that you feel an “Aaahhhh” moment.

Help the team recognize extraordinary customer service: the waiter pulling your chair out, placing a napkin laid on your lap, the water glass constantly full, the plates removed with grace when empty and much more. Help them to identify the timing in the delivery of the meal, the taking of the order and the attention to detail in plate presentation, lighting and ambiance.

This could be an AWESOME exercise in improving your team’s understanding of client service and professionalism. Get dressed up. Get picked up by a Lincoln Town Car. Get all decked out and have fun with it!

Yours in 5 Star Service,

Rebecca Rose, CVT

headshot of Rebecca Rose






Zeb Smith, CPA, commented on this Blog:

Great article and initiative!
I like how the tone changed from ‘finger pointing’ at today’s younger generation to a much more proactive ‘it’s on management and leaders’ to battle this paradigm.