At about the six-minute mark, clients begin to feel forgotten. That was the take-away from a business conference for Dr. Ryan
Steen, owner of Frey Pet Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. He tucked that nugget of information away until he bought his own
practice. Now he credits that piece of information with keeping his clients connected while waiting.
"My staff members tease me about my love of timers, but we use them all over the practice to make sure clients never feel
abandoned," says Dr. Steen. When a staff member leaves the exam room, he or she sets a timer for six minutes. Usually, a doctor
will enter the exam room quickly, but if for some reason the timer goes off before the doctor arrives, a staff member re-enters
the exam room to touch base.
The team member offers a drink and reassures the client that the doctor will be along shortly. The timer is then reset for
"The timers are a constant reminder that a client is waiting," he says. "We never let a client hear the timer—we keep it in
the back out of ear shot. We want them to think we're checking on them ourselves, not because a timer tells us to. It's just
a simple reminder to keep the client in mind."