Sell veterinary clients on your service

Sell veterinary clients on your service

But you don't have to have butler-style service to win new clients and keep existing clients happy.
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Jun 30, 2014


THINKSTOCK/LISA ISON
When was the last time you received sub-par customer service? I recently ran into trouble with an online travel-booking service and ended up spending hours on hold. I traded emails with people who weren't willing or able to help me and ultimately swore I would drive across the country before I used that company again. In short, my experience was so bad that I've sworn off that company for good, and if I could hurt their website's feelings, I would. Did I tell my friends of my displeasure? You bet.

Now, think about the last time someone wowed you with customer service. For me, I was in a restaurant last month where the waitress treated me like I was the only person there. She explained what the restaurant was known for, shared what was popular and asked questions about the kinds of dishes I generally like. When the meal was over, I didn't want a to-go box—I wanted a job there.

I often tell friends about this restaurant and hope to get back as soon as possible. But here's the interesting part: The food wasn't particularly amazing. It was very good, but there are lots of restaurants with very good food. The way the staff there made me feel, however, was incredible. That's the power of outstanding customer service.

At its core, customer service is simply the pursuit of customer satisfaction. Studies have shown that a satisfied customer is more likely to become a loyal customer, which is important for two bottom-line reasons1. (Head over to http://dvm360.com/service for a list of references mentioned in this article.) First, the cost of attracting a new client can be as much as 10 times the cost of retaining an existing one2. Second, satisfied and loyal customers are more willing to pay higher prices than neutral or dissatisfied clients1. Not surprisingly, the cost of dissatisfied customers is high. While the average satisfied customer tells eight people about their experience, the average dissatisfied customer tells 222. Given this reality, it's worth investing some time in trying to ensure that pet owners visiting your practice feel as satisfied as possible.

Here are five tips, backed by customer service research, to help ensure your clinic is making a good impression on pet owners.

1 Communicate more

One study showed that the more people who positively interact and communicate with customers, the more likely it is that customers will feel satisfied with their experience3. This means pet owners who have positive interactions with two front-desk staff members, three technicians and two veterinarians are more likely to become loyal clients than pet owners who interact with one front-desk staff member, one technician and one veterinarian. Simply having everyone on your staff greet each person they meet can make a difference. A smile and a "hello" is all it takes.

You can get the ball moving on more and better interaction two easy ways. First, for team buy-in, explain this idea at a team meeting and ask for help. Second, simply lead by example. Greet staff members every morning with a positive attitude and encourage them to do the same to each other. This way when they interact with a customer, it will be something they automatically do, rather than something they need to think about.


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