The one (small) thing 

What is the one small thing Veterinary Practice should be doing to deliver better pet care?

Imagine it’s been a long day treating patients at the Practice. 

You’ve just finished with your last patient for the day and call to make a reservation for you and a friend at the new French restaurant on the other side of town.  A disgruntled woman picks up the other end of the line, “you’ll have to be here in the next five minutes because we close soon”. She hangs up the phone before you even get a chance to say thank you.

When you and your friend arrive at the restaurant, the hostess can’t find your reservation and something about her demeanour makes her seem annoyed.

You find yourself waiting for table water for a full twenty minutes. You’re starving, grumpy and just about ready to leave when a sweaty, unkempt waiter scrambles to the table and asks you what you’d like to eat. It turns out that your first choice, the filet mignon, is no longer available, so you end up stuck with ‘just a salad, thanks’.

You have to ask several times where your meal is. By the time your food comes out it’s been almost an hour of waiting. Fed up, you hovel down your meal, promising yourself that you’ll leave a bad Google review and tell all your friends to avoid ‘that place’ at all costs.  

End scene.

We’ve all experienced this type of scenario at least once in our lives and it’s a classic reminder of why good customer experience is important.

Although there was nothing inherently ‘wrong’ with the experience – you still got your dinner – the way the whole experience was delivered has left a sour taste in your mouth that you just can’t shake.

In fact, the experience feels so terrible it makes you want to actively advocate against the restaurant to your friends, on social media, Google and even your mum – because when we pay for a service we expect the best and want everyone to know when a provider falls below this standard.

The same can be said of customer experience when it comes to your practice –while seemingly small errors might be happening, they can quickly add up leading to a client having a poor experience and making a swift judgement to never use you again.

From the moment a pet owner Googles your practice to the moment you discharge your furry patient, customer experience is being evaluated by pet owners at every step of the way.

If your customer care team is annoyed or disgruntled when they pick up the phone, it’s likely that the pet owner won’t trust you anytime soon to take care of their sick pet baby. If you’re rushing the patient out without giving due consideration to questions about aftercare, you can bet that they won’t be back. They are also likely to spread the tale of Busters bad experience at ‘that horrible vet’ with their Sunday doggy playgroup, which can mean more prospective clients cancel you from their consideration list too.   

Now instead imagine a scenario where a pet owner is desperately searching for a vet to see her sick kitty. The owner can easily find you on Google – and you’ve got some great reviews to boot. She decides to phone you and your receptionist picks up the phone with a pleasant greeting. The receptionist asks who the owner is, what breed their pet is – even their pets name, age and past history. They then closes the call, offering the pet owner in for an appointment within the next two days – and even provides some helpful parking tips for when they arrive.

Two days later the kitty comes in and her owner is feeling optimistic despite her worries about her pet being sick. Your receptionist greets her pleasantly, takes her into your consult room. You listen intently to the issue, she feels heard and you are able to save the day with a quick and easy fix for her cat.

Both owner and pet leave the surgery happier than when they arrived, with the owner promising to tell all her friends about how you took good care of her darling Whiskers and even finds time to leave you a five-star rating on Google reviews.

While you may not always be as lucky to have a quick and easy fix for a patient as the above example, you can take small steps to ensure that you consistently deliver the same level of winning customer experience.

A little bit of empathy and understanding with vet customers can go a long way, helping you to build a loyal customer base by differentiating you from your competitors and supporting the long-term sustainability of your vet practice.  

Over the next few months, we will explore how you can create, manage and measure good CX in your company. If you would like to know what your clients experience now when they call your practice click here www.vetcx.com.au/letsgetstarted or if you have any questions, please call our friendly team on 1300 770 014 or by emailing info@vetcx.com.au.