JumpStart! 22 – Keeping Clients and Staff Happy During Busy Times
Terra Shastri, Manager of Business Development – Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
During hectic times in your practice, staff and clients can get stressed easily. Here are a few simple steps that you can follow to not only keep clients happy, but to keep your practice team functioning well during busy times:
- Deliver a great experience no matter what. Clients do not know that this your busiest time. Their expectations do not change just because your hospital is busy – they still expect to be warmly greeted and promptly served like they do every other time. Heartworm season does not give clinics a “free pass” from a client, so be sure to give them a similar kind of experience they would get on a quiet day in January.
- Schedule a team break. Although it may seem like there is no time in the day to eat lunch, let alone schedule a block of time to do so, taking a break can help to re-energize everyone. The team is rushing around trying to keep up with client demands and this is exhausting. Schedule a pizza lunch or by initiate a team game/activity for 30 minutes, which will help to refresh staff so they can continue to provide the best client service during such a busy time.
- Remind the team to breathe. The stress of the season may cause team members to grow irritable with each other and with clients. Whether it is sending staff out for a brisk 10 minute walk to clear their heads or reminding them to slow down and take ten deep breaths when they start to feel overwhelmed, it can help to relieve some tension when the body is feeling stressed.
- Smiling is contagious; it boosts your immune system, it relieves stress and it can boost your mood. Psychologists have studied smiling for decades and the benefits are real. Stressful times can cause us to smile less, so make the conscious decision to turn that frown upside down especially when dealing with clients and other staff.
- Avoid reacting. Stressful times can cause managers and leaders to react to situations in a way that might negatively affect the overall team morale. For example, instead of raising your voice or snapping at a staff member who is late for their shift, wait to talk to them privately at the end of the day. Reacting to situations in the moment and in front of other team members will only put everyone on edge and can interfere with providing clients with a great experience.
- Appreciate the busy season. It’s busy, but would you rather the hospital be busy or quiet? It can be more stressful trying to fit all the clients in and keep everyone happy but remember that being busy is a good thing.