Don't lose sight of what's important to clients

Don't lose sight of what's important to clients

Sep 01, 2007

Dr. Jeff Rothstein
Every year or two I have some reason to get a new pair of eyeglasses. Either I break them or scratch the lenses, or the prescription changes. I dread changing them because every time I do, I struggle to adjust to the new pair. It seems like it takes three to six months before I'm used to them, and then before I know it, the whole cycle starts again.

This last time around, as usual, the adjustment was difficult and after a number of visits, the optometrist informed me that I might want to consider a better-quality lens. The cost for these lenses? An additional $100. My bill with the new frames came to $200, which I had to pay up front since it was a special order.

Imagine my surprise when I picked up the new glasses and the salesperson refunded me $100 dollars. He had taken it upon himself to print out an online store coupon that I knew nothing about.

The new lenses made all the difference in the world—but I'm upset that I wasn't offered the best quality in the first place, especially since this could've saved me much grief over the years of getting used to inferior lenses. The new lenses didn't cost that much more, but no one at the optometrist's office mentioned them, probably because they assumed that most people would choose the cheaper pair to save money.

Of course, there are important parallels between veterinary and optometric practice. This experience reminded me how important it is to always offer the best care regardless of price. After all, the client assumes you're giving him or her the best advice.

Here's another lesson I learned: When you give a client an unsolicited discount, it's almost the same as not charging for a service. If your clinic sends out coupons from time to time, be sure your front desk team isn't handing those coupons to clients as they walk in the door.

Practice open-book management so your team members understand your practice's financials. If they're aware of the thin margins on which a practice operates and understand that it needs to be reasonably profitable to increase compensation, upgrade equipment, make facility improvements, and so on, they'll be less likely to give away the store.

Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein is president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management Group in Michigan.

Hot topics on dvm360

Dog of Dallas Ebola patient will not be euthanized, authorities say

Health officials have quarantined and will monitor dog and amid concerns surrounding deadly virus.

Video: How to perform a belt-loop gastropexy

Prevent GDV in your at-risk patients with this simple technique.

Stretch your skills to earn more in veterinary practice

Finding new tasks could be the key to generating more income for your practice—and boosting your pay.

Veterinary community stunned by Sophia Yin's unexpected death

Prominent veterinary behaviorist died of suicide Sept. 28.

Study shows sustained salary slump for veterinary support staff

Since 2009, technicians paid by the hour have experienced a bump in pay, but pay for other team members has stayed stagnant, according to data from the 2014 Firstline Career Path Study. Here’s a look at changes in team pay from 2009 to 2013.