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Clients & Their Mobiles - a Problem for Your Veterinary Practice?

Posted in Client Service @ Aug 14th 2012 9:12pm - By Judy Gillespie
No mobiles!

I came across a dvm360 blog: Put Rude Behaviour on Hold the same week I noticed these signs at my local butcher & bakery (not sure about the candlestick maker! ;-)  ) and I wondered if clients and customers using their mobile phones right in the middle of being served was becoming a problem everywhere?

Is mobile phone usage by clients during consults an issue at your practice?

The author of the dvm360 blog, Dr Melody Heath, offers a couple of interesting suggestions of what she would like to do when a client is on their mobile phone during a consult, including:

  • Putting up multiple signs stating the practice is a mobile free zone (sounds like a sensible idea)
  • Confiscation of phones at Reception (Could you just imagine??!)
  • Leaving the client to continue their phone conversation and handing them a card asking them to contact reception when they are free (Makes the point!)
  • Leaving the client to continue their call and ask the receptionist to call the client on their mobile – hoping they will pick up the call using call-waiting (Bet they wouldn’t answer!)
  • Removing the pet from the consult room & take it ‘out back’ (Apparently they get off the phone to find out what’s happened to their pet)
  • Continuing on with the examination and treatment of the pet, but adding an ‘aggravation’ fee into their account (I like this one – cheeky!)
  • Getting clients to sign an agreement that they will be charged for the extra time they spend on their mobile phone calls during the consult (hmmm).

Dr Heath then admits that none of these solutions are actually viable (shame!) and what she really wants to do is teach a course on mobile phone etiquette.  I’m sure we’d all like to teach one of those but it’s probably not going to solve the problem in the short term.

My initial thought was: could clients talking on a mobile during a consult possibly turn into a legal issue for you?  If their attention is taken up by their phone call they may not be giving you all the information you require and they are certainly not capable of listening to your diagnosis and treatment advice.

So maybe that’s the solution – signs around the practice advising that no mobile phone usage is allowed as it could potentially negatively impact on the quality of care you deliver.  In other words, in order to provide the best care possible for your client’s pet you need 100% of their attention during the consultation. 

So what do you think?  Is this an issue in your practice?  I’m interested to hear what you do if a client starts talking on their mobile phone during a consult.  Do you have a clever way to deal with the current lack of mobile phone etiquette?


Mai @ Nov 26th 2012 2:54pm
for me, as a pet owner, i would never anwer my phone during a consultation with my vet! The health of my animal is way more important.The whole point of a veterinary consultation is to talk about your pets health...not talk on the phone. you can do that any time!! Mai.
Judy @ Nov 26th 2012 10:43pm
Thanks Mai :) I'm sure every vet & vet nurse wishes all clients were as polite & focused as you! I often wonder if it's a generational thing - younger people are more used to being connected to their phone 24/7 - but then I see older people doing the same thing, so who knows??
Gillian Shippen @ Feb 7th 2013 4:44pm
most of our clients are poilte enough not to answer.... I worry about putting isgns up because I think people tend to "see" too many signs and not actually take them in....signmania

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