It's easy to overlook the problems that come with making clients wait. We think, "Hey, it comes with the territory." We make excuses. And we hedge our bets, knowing most clients only grow dissatisfied when they wait more than 30 minutes. But that approach won't wow clients. In fact, even a short wait may leave clients disgruntled. So it's an issue you should aim to manage.
"We all want our staff members to work together as a team, but it's hard to ask this of your staff unless they know the steps to take," says Julia Culbreth, the practice manager at Jefferson Animal Hospital in Louisville, Ky.
Data shows that if your clients arrive during a busy time, their average wait for check-in and check-out can hit 21 to 29 minutes during a 42- to 49-minute visit. That's almost half their time at the practice.
At our practice, we have an inventory team that handles ordering and tracking of drugs, lab supplies, food, and so on. But we still struggle with inventory accuracy. Would establishing an incentive program for the inventory team help?
Of course, you use keys and locks to keep valuables secure, but you lose some of the benefits if you don't control the keys. Think about these questions to decide whether you need to tighten up security:
Barton Heights Veterinary Hospital saves time and money by using a simple design for informational letters on such topics as flea and tick products or Pet Dental Health Month. The practice team uses a copy center to reproduce and tri-fold the letters on colored paper, says practice manager Lynette Ott. The single, tri-folded sheets don't need envelopes and can be mailed without taping or stapling, saving the practice time, labor, and money, she says. She offers these other simple tips.
Recently, a veterinarian in the process of hiring a new practice manager asked me "What are the 10 things a practice manager needs to know to be effective?" What a great question! It took a little thinking to narrow the "must-know" list to just 10 items. But whether you're an owner-veterinarian, a practice manager, or the owner's managing spouse, I think you need to apply these strategies to manage the practice effectively.