The clinic is a hectic place these days. One of our Uncharted Community members, Dr. Maggie Brown-Bury, shared a fantastic story of turning her veterinary receptionists into the heroes of pet owners' stories. It made all of us smile, and think about how we can share the wins with the whole team!
“So, I know we are all finding clients seeming angrier lately. It has been discussed in a lot of places. I am trying hard to focus on the clients that do appreciate us and let us know, and I thought I would share an experience I had this week.
My ER had an extraordinarily busy week and our average wait time was 5 hours. We had clients get really abusive towards our receptionists over this, and even had a few every night who would give up on the wait after 1-2 hours.
But, every night there were 1 or 2 dogs who by the time I examined them seemed TOTALLY fine. When this happens I always worry the client will be mad (I know this is foolish but it has happened…), but invariably this week they have been SO GRATEFUL.
There was a 1-year-old Beagle that came in before my shift started. He apparently was very ataxic and lethargic. Once I got to him, he seemed completely fine.
How we are operating now is when the client arrives, we take the pet in the building to be triaged and the client waits in the parking lot or goes home to wait. A receptionist calls the client when a doctor is ready to do a consult. The client can come inside or opt for a phone consult. With this Beagle they chose to come inside. I went to the exam room with the dog who is now acting like a normal, bouncy Beagle. He ran into the room and the owner squealed and said,
‘Oh my God, you fixed him! This was worth the 4-hour wait!!!' and was actually crying.
(I did let her know I didn't do anything but let him rest in a kennel for a few hours )
Since the reception team gets the brunt of the impatient complainers, if the client chooses a phone consult, I let them know I believe the symptoms have resolved and suggest they come back. I will prepare discharge instructions but we will have them come inside and if they feel the issue has not been resolved we can have another discussion. Then, I have a receptionist bring the pet to the client so they can get that hero worship.
We had a little Frenchie who came in for a swollen face who 100% had no swelling when I saw him (another that arrived before my shift). They chose to have a phone consult, so when they came back to pick up the dog, I asked the receptionist to bring the dog to the client and let me know how it went. He came back, without the dog, with a huge smile and said,
‘That was the best thing I have done all week. They are SO happy!'
We have been lucky to have one of these a night, and I am getting better at ignoring the clients who think the wait is “unreasonable” and just remembering the ones who were so glad their pet was okay they were grateful for the wait.
It used to be one bad client who ruined a shift… so I am trying to flip it around so one good client can save the shift. “
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