A disturbing e-mail arrived the other day: Hello, Dr. Bellows: I have a 5-year-old yellow Labrador Retriever that I have routinely cleaned her teeth (with enzyme toothpaste and a brush, recently using Sonicare). Despite all best efforts, she is building up tartar and I think may have a dark spot (cavity on a rear molar).
It's easy to overlook the problems that come with making clients wait. We think, "Hey, it comes with the territory." We make excuses. And we hedge our bets, knowing most clients only grow dissatisfied when they wait more than 30 minutes. But that approach won't wow clients. In fact, even a short wait may leave clients disgruntled. So it's an issue you should aim to manage.
Ever wish pets could schedule their own appointments and bring themselves in for care? The key to stopping client-created stress is to see your clients for the different breeds they are—and adjust your approach accordingly.
"Increased customer loyalty is the single most important driver of long-term profitability," say Scott Robinette, Claire Brand, and Vicki Lenz, authors of Emotion Marketing: The Hallmark Way of Winning Customers for Life (McGraw-Hill, 2000).
"I didn't like boarding my dog in a little cage," says Dr. Henry Inglesby, owner of Suwanee Pet Suites and Animal Care Center in Suwanee, Ga. Assuming other vacationing dog owners also hated the thought of leaving their precious canines in tight quarters, he decided to replace the cramped cages.
In 23 percent of practices, credentialed technicians are responsible for most of the client's education, according to a recent survey by VetMedTeam.com. In 52 percent of practices, veterinarians handle the bulk of education, while in 19 percent of practices, veterinary assistants take charge of this task. Here's a look at the percentage of respondents who say team members discuss these issues with clients:
Gary Morgan, a receptionist for Robert E. Lewis, a dentist in Overland Park, Kan., has a special talent: He remembers the name of most of the clients who walk through the door. And with more than 1,500 client records in the practice database, that's no small feat.