Dr. Marty Becker: How to treat clients like they're #1

Dr. Marty Becker: How to treat clients like they're #1

'America's Veterinarian' addresses attendees during the CVC in Washington, D.C.
May 06, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Treat every client like he or she is #1—that’s what Dr. Marty Becker says should be your goal in the exam room. At a special “Healthy Pets Visit Vets” presentation at CVC in Washington, D.C., Dr. Becker said that you should strive to make clients feel like theirs is the only appointment you have today. And yes, he knows you multitask—but clients shouldn't be able to tell.

"We must tap into the special connection people have with their pets," Dr. Becker said on stop 10 of his 30-city, 45-day Big Bus Tour to promote the veterinary profession and his new book, Your Dog: The Owner's Manual—Hundreds of Secrets, Surprises, and Solutions for Raising a Happy, Healthy Dog.

So how can you foster that connection? Follow these easy practice tips from the trenches.

1. Be confident. When you enter the exam room, raise your head and drop your shoulders. This displays an air of authority.

2. Start quick. Introduce yourself to the client first thing—try to do this before he or she starts speaking to you, if possible.

3. Apologize if needed. If you’re late for the appointment, always apologize and explain why. Appointments are a form of social contract, so be honest.

4. Make friends. Talk to the pet and get that tail wagging or cat purring!

5. Ask why. Always ask why the client is there. Yes, we know the technician already asked this, but it reinforces your relationship with the client—and you often can get more information.

6. Be thorough. Conduct a tip-of-the-nose to tip-of-the-tail 3D exam and explain to the client what you’re looking for along the way.

7. Smile. While talking with the client, connect and show signs of friendliness such as smiling, raising your eyebrows, and nodding. And if you give expressions of empathy and genuine concern, a client is much more likely to accept your professional recommendations and have more satisfaction and find more value in the visit.

8. Give praise. The overwhelming response Dr. Becker has heard so far on his Big Bus Tour is that pet owners don’t want to visit the veterinarian because they always think they’ve done something wrong. So be sure to find something the client is doing right and give a compliment. Then you can follow it up with what to work on.

9. Don’t fidget. If you’re a fidgeter, the best thing to do is to rhythmically stroke the pet.

10. Take photos. Ask if a technician can take a photo of you, the client, and the pet together and post it on Facebook so that people can follow and share in the experience. Then from your collection of photos, display the current day’s patients on a digital photo frame in the reception area—and watch your clients beam.

For full coverage of the Big Bus Tour, visit dvm360.com/beckerbustour.