Terra Shastri, Manager of Business Development – Ontario Veterinary Medical Association
What’s one example of inconsistent service? Recently, my usual stylist at my hair salon moved to another salon nearby. When I went for my next appointment at the salon, it was a completely different experience than I’d had in the past. All of a sudden, salon staff were bending over backward to make sure I was happy at every point during the appointment, handing me samples and freebies and conveying to me how much they appreciated my loyalty. It didn’t take long for me to figure out that they were desperate to make sure that I did not follow my stylist to the other salon. I couldn’t help but wonder why they hadn’t been treating me like this since day one. Why wasn’t my business worth then what it obviously was now?
A significant lesson can be gleaned from this experience: always manage your business as though the competition is right next door to you. Be sure remember, from the perspective of most clients, all veterinary hospitals have the same equipment and offer the same services; it will be your team and the overall experience that you provide to your clients that sets you apart from the competition.
At your next team meeting, brainstorm ideas about what you can do throughout a client’s visit to make it an experience that will set your practice apart from others. Set expectations as to what each team member should do throughout their entire interaction with the client, both during their visit as well as any follow-up. For example:
- Team members will always greet clients with a smile, addressing them by name.
- When a client drops off their pet for a surgery, a team member will contact the client before and/or after the surgery to keep the client updated and put their mind at ease.
- Follow-up on any testing done on a pet by emailing the results to the client, then by calling them to highlight any pertinent information.
- Help clients out to the car, especially when their arms are full.
Ask team members to really think about why they choose to do business with certain stores or service providers. What makes them return to the same place? What businesses make them feel special? This will help guide them and see things from a client’s perspective in regards to service and value.
Putting these measures in place now will help you and your staff to deliver outstanding client service, every time.