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Treating the Pet AND the People! Secret to delivering great service to your veterinary clients?

Posted in Client Service @ Jun 4th 2016 - By Judy Gillespie
Treat The Pet And The Person

This is Part 2 to last week’s blog post ‘Once Upon a Time...Except This is Real Life!’.  I hadn’t intended on writing on this topic again but some comments left on the blog made some excellent points that I felt were definitely worth sharing and more importantly, continuing the conversation. (I hope Lisa & Liz don’t mind me sharing their comments!)

Lisa made some great points, one in particular that made me think:

“It's so often the little "moments of truth" that make all the difference. It's what happens when we treat the pet and not the people, and, unfortunately, so easy to forget to look at things from an "outsiders" perspective. Put it all together and our care and passion shine through, get careless and the only people who know how much we care are our families.”

'..treat the pet and not the people....'

Is this the mistake that some veterinary practices are making?

So how do you treat the pet AND the people?

You all know how to treat the pet – that’s what you’re an expert in so I’m not going to comment on that one

Treating the people?  Now this is where I AM an expert!  I’m a person and a pet owner (this also means that every one of your clients is also an expert in this area but they’re not the one’s writing this blog post!)

So how do you need to treat me?

I want information...and lots of different formats.

I’m a very visual learner (as are approximately 65% of the population) – this means when you talk to me about things I will look intelligent, nod at the appropriate time & possibly even ask clever questions.  I will then walk out of your consult room and remember 10% of what you just said. (Maybe... could be less if I was also trying to remember to buy something for dinner)


So... of course you need to talk me through your diagnosis but you also need to SHOW me what you mean – I like pictures and diagrams, preferably in colour and not your hand drawn diagrams either. As an artist – you make a good vet!


I need handouts as I just can’t take in everything you’ve said in one go.  You’ve spent years studying to develop your knowledge – this may be the first time I’ve ever heard of something.  I need the handouts to be clear, easy to read and professional looking.  I need to feel I can trust your professional expertise and as I can’t judge your surgery or veterinary skills the only thing I can judge is  you and the ‘Brand’ of your veterinary practice.  Your practice brand is the promise you make to me as a client and if you want to know more about it then take a look at ‘Your Veterinary Practice Brand – the Unspoken Promise to Your Clients’.  So if your handouts are unprofessional, old and hard to read then I might start to think these descriptions also apply to your veterinary practice.


I’d also love it if you could email me a copy of the handouts or even better an eBook because sometimes I lose things so having a copy on my computer would be a great help.

An Authoritative Website! 

I need to know that you’re the veterinary expert, the ‘Go-To’ person for anything veterinary. This means I need to be able to go to your website to find authoritative information in the form of blog posts, handouts I can download, and links to useful information. Errr... this also means you have to actually have a website!

Follow up phone calls!

I need to know that you care for my pet – a phone call after surgery or as a follow up can make a huge difference to me.

See – as a veterinary client I’m not asking for much am I? 

But if you can deliver ... if you can treat my pet....and treat me, the person...then I’m not so likely to question fees or prices. In fact, I’m going to tell everyone how fantastic you are and how reasonable your prices are because all of my needs are being met – as well as those of my pet!

I thought it would be good to finish off with another comment from last week’s blog post from Liz who is obviously a pet owner....

“I recently had a similar experience. I had been taking my dogs to a local clinic for a number of years despite not being entirely happy with the level of service nor care my animals received. The final straw came on a Monday afternoon when I was told they have no appointments available to see my dog which was having trouble breathing, "Can you bring her in Thursday, we have appointments available then" It was not the first time, emergency care had been refused. My new vet is a little bit further away but they are superb. When one of the dogs underwent surgery to complete what the first vet should have done, I had a phone call a couple of days later, checking on her recovery. I was astounded, as not once had the other vet ever called. I love it that every phone conversation begins with them asking after my animals. It shows the depth of care that the vet and in fact all the clinic staff feel for their patients. I know where my business will be staying.”

So do you agree that the secret to delivering great veterinary service and building s successful business is to treat the pet AND the person?

Or am I on totally the wrong track? Tell me in the comments section below.


Carmel @ Sep 20th 2013 3:11pm
I totally agree. Much of what I do as a rehab practitioner is educating owners on how best to exercise (or not) their pets. If they are not 100% comfortable and on board with the regime then it shows in the results... or they drift away. The first thing I check at the re-visits is how the owners are coping. Helping the patients starts there.
Judy @ Sep 20th 2013 4:29pm
Hi Carmel, Thanks for your comments - I guess it's better to suggest a less effective but simpler program over an awesome complicated one!

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