Don't forget you love what you do as a veterinarian—so show it
It sounds a bit cliché, but clients really do want to know how much you care before they care how much you know. We as veterinarians have done all sorts of things—from sending cards (and not just during the holidays) to hand-delivering free turkeys to our best clients. But you can show you care without leaving the exam room. Here are four ways to strengthen your relationship:
Always run out of time in the exam room. I use every second, and when there aren't anymore, I tell the owner, "I have prioritized and gone over the most important instructions. Do you mind if I contact you later by phone or email and fill you in on the rest?"
Praise people for how well they're caring for their companion. Tell pets they're lucky to have such a caring owner. Tell clients it's an honor to serve them.Always make the next appointment before the client leaves the current one. Sometimes low-tech is better than high-tech. Ask the client to fill out a postcard for their next appointment. Who doesn't respond to postcards written in their own handwriting?
Let clients have a look. At my practice, we do free dental radiographs. It's an eye-opener when clients can see for themselves what a deteriorating tooth looks like. We explain what a diseased mouth is like for a pet—for instance, "It hurts like a toothache." They appreciate the comparison, and it helps them to not be in denial about what's going on with their pet.