What message does the appearance of your clinic send? And what message do the doctors, technicians, and support staff members send when they interact with clients? For a real eye opener, ask your clients these questions, using surveys, focus groups, and casual conversations during appointments. And don't forget to ask new clients and staff members why they chose your clinic. Their fresh eyes can offer valuable insights into the first impressions your practice makes.
Asking questions about your image is easy; deciding what to do with the answers is more difficult—but just as important. For example, I stumbled onto a new sprinkler system company two years ago. Every chance company representatives had—through their on-hold message, answering machine, newsletters, and in person—they told us they'd changed their focus to superior customer service. They challenged clients to tell them if the company failed to meet these commitments. They were so confident in their message that I really believed them.
Then the test came: They goofed on a repair to our system. True to their word, they fixed the problem in a day or two, and the manager called to make sure we were completely satisfied. Now that's what I call making a change for the better—and keeping your promise to clients.
You could take the same approach. Tell clients you're focused on being the best, then back up your message by providing memorable service. Exceed clients' expectations at every opportunity, with follow-up calls, birthday cards, get-well packages—whatever it takes to show that you're committed to being the best.
Dr. Jeff Rothstein, DVM, MBA
Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, is the president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group, which owns and operates hospitals in Michigan and Ohio.