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Disconnect Between Clients & Clinic

December 18, 2019

Do you have a disconnect between what the clients hear and what the clinic speaks?

Utilize the tool “Top Ten List of Services” for Consistent Messaging

This past year I have had the awesome opportunity to meet with veterinary teams throughout the country on various topics. One common thread, unfortunately, is the disconnect between services offered to clients and how the veterinary team talks about them.

One example is when I ask team members (all from the same clinic), “What is your protocol for heartworm testing and prevention?” often their answers are varied and not consistent.  This makes for confusing messaging to both the clients and the team members.

Another example is it surprises me how many team members don’t review their hospital’s website. This creates a disconnect between the information clients are viewing readily on the website and what the team understands.

Do you see similar scenarios within your team?

If yes, then read on as there are tools available that leverage success. One is by creating a “Top Ten List of Veterinary Services” to use for training and consistent messaging.

Defining Top Ten

During a meeting, ask your team, “What are the Top Ten services we provide?” Generally, they will rattle off 1) vaccinations 2) wellness and 3) surgeries, but then the responses trail off.

You can generate a Top Ten list in a few ways:

Chances are, in small animal hospital, the list will look something like this:

  1. Dermatology
  2. Ear Infections
  3. Gastrointestinal upset
  4. Urinary conditions
  5. Dental procedures
  6. Hyper or Hypothyroidism
  7. Diabetes
  8. Wellness Exams
  9. Vaccinations
  10. Surgeries

If you are in a mixed animal practice, your list may include lameness exams and reproduction. Possible other services may include holistic, rehabilitation or emergency.

Great! Now you have a tool targeting training, client education and consistent messaging. “How?” you may ask…..

Since your team is seeing these conditions day-in and day-out, it makes sense to focus on them to create a consistent experience between the client, patient and team.

Consistent Messaging  

Here is one way to establish consistent messaging. Divide your team into smaller groups. For each of the top ten services you identified, have each group answer the following questions. Set a deadline for answers and provide times for the groups to have discussions.

Questions to answer:

  1. As a team, how can you educate the client regarding this service?
  2. If general anesthesia is required, what needs to be expressed and educated?
  3. What is the benefit to the pet?
  4. What is the benefit to the pet owner?
  5. Why is it important for your veterinary hospital to provide this service?
  6. What makes this service, at your veterinary hospital outstanding?
  7. What literature/handouts can you provide to the client?
  8. How will the records reflect having the educational discussion with the client?
  9. If you were the client, what else would you want to know that is specific to this service?

Then once they submit their answers, collate them and POOF! You have consistent messaging! Well, it may take more than a POOF, but it is a GREAT START!

During all-staff meetings, the group can discuss the answers and consolidate into workable talking points. By having everyone contribute, it creates ownership which leads to united adoption.

Having a disconnect between services offered to clients and how the veterinary team talks about them can be corrected. By utilizing tools such as the “Top Ten Services” list, consistent messaging can be created. This leads to better representation of the hospital’s services and ultimately enhances the client, patient and team experiences.

Rebecca Rose, CVT

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