Why clients leave
"The waiting area smelled of urine and pet odors."
"The surroundings were dirty and depressing."
These are just a few of the responses we received when Veterinary Economics surveyed pet owners across the United States to ask why they left their veterinary practices.
They forgot their compassion
One morning I sat next to a couple and their dog in the waiting room. They were called into an exam room, then emerged several minutes later crying and carrying the euthanized dog in a black garbage bag. It was extremely disturbing to me and the other two people who were in the reception area.
How you can do it better
"Sending a pet home in a garbage bag sets a negative tone for the practice," Grosdidier says. "Clients notice it, team members notice it, and it ultimately affects the care you give. Remember, respect is what you do more than what you say."
A tasteful box or shroud demonstrates a higher level of professionalism, Dr. Felsted adds. Consider these tips to demonstrate you care:
Be discreet. For example, if Mrs. Johnson arrives at the end of the day to euthanize her pet, the receptionist might tell the technician, "Mrs. J is here for the procedure listed in the appointment book." This keeps private information from traveling around the reception area.
Review your euthanasia protocol. If you don't have one, create one. This document outlines details of the process, such as what time of day you schedule appointments, the preparations, and how much time to plan for the event. It also explains how to handle the client's experience compassionately and discreetly, like planning a different exit from the practice so clients don't have to walk back through your reception area where other clients may be waiting—and watching.
Click herefor a sample euthanasia protocol.