"Tactfully identify your clients' language needs at check-in or when they call to set up an appointment," says Veterinary Economics Editorial Advisory Board member Dr. Jeff Rothstein, MBA, president of The Progressive Pet Animal Hospitals and Management
Group that owns and operates hospitals in Michigan. "Once you determine the approximate percentage of your clientele that
speaks Spanish, then you can implement a variety of communication strategies."
Dr. Rothstein says if 5 percent to 15 percent of your clients are Hispanic, it would be ideal to have one or two staff members
that speak a moderate degree of Spanish. If the range is greater than 25 percent, you'll want to consider having a Spanish-speaking
veterinarian on staff, too. "Accommodating Hispanic clients can also include Spanish-language magazines, handouts, and prescription
labels," he says.
Dr. Victor Contreras-Rodríguez, Dr. Rothstein's colleague, says that appealing to a particular demographic involves making
them feel their experience was worth coming back for. "When we answer the phone we ask for a last name, the pet's name, and
species," he says. "When the client comes for the appointment, I help him or her fill out the new-client form. In the exam
room, I speak Spanish constantly. Many Spanish-speaking clients speak English pretty well, but if you cater to them in Spanish,
they'll bond more closely with your clinic. Hispanics are physical people and like to shake hands and make eye contact at
all times. Finally, our word is our bond. Make sure you mean what you say."
Dr. Jeff Rothstein