A new twist on an old form
Almost every veterinary clinic has one—a form to collect the pet owner’s contact information and a few important details about the pet’s medical history. But what about a form that asks pet owners how they want to be talked to?
Dr. Cindy Sellin, co-owner of River Valley Veterinary Service in Prior Lake, Minn., took this approach when she and her staff created a new-client form for their mixed-animal practice. Following advice from an old equine practice management notebook, Dr. Sellin and her staff decided the form should communicate three things to the pet owner: We are interested in you, we are interested in your pet, and we are interested in getting paid.
“We ask about the amount of information a client would like to get, because it makes them think about veterinarians as educators,” Dr. Sellin says. “It also allows our staff a chance to better match our communication style to our clients’ expectations.”
Dr. Sellin recognizes that some clients want to be very active in the decision-making process when it comes to their pet’s health care. Others are in a hurry or aren’t interested in a longstanding relationship with their veterinarian. But whatever communication style the client requests, Dr. Sellin is quick to point out that it’s still important to ask if the client has any questions at the end of the appointment.
“It’s interesting that many of the clients who wanted a brief explanation will have several more questions and eventually warm up to a much more comprehensive communication style,” she says.
All in all, Dr. Sellin says this approach has worked well for her practice—and her clients. By asking them ahead of time about communication preferences, Dr. Sellin and her staff ensure that they’re giving each individual client the kind of positive, personalized experience they want. Head over to dvm360.com/newclient to download a new-client form for your practice.