10 client turnoffs

10 client turnoffs

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Jan 01, 2007
By dvm360.com staff
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10 client turnoffs

You don’t need to work very hard to make clients feel uncomfortable, dissatisfied, or irritated. Here’s a look at 10 ways to chase off clients.


1. Call a pet by the wrong name or the wrong gender. How much confidence would you have in your doctor’s office if they couldn’t tell whether you were a man or a woman? “Many pet names aren’t gender specific, so we use pink or blue stickers on the front of the pet’s file to remind us,” says Sharon DeNayer, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and clinic manager at Windsor Veterinary Clinic in Windsor, Colo.

2. Ignore bad smells. Hospitals should look and smell clean. Bad smells make clients uncomfortable, and they may start to wonder how clean your practice really is. Once your practice sparkles, try creating a welcoming ambiance with potpourri or air fresheners.

3. Run late. Emergencies happen. But if you’re always playing catch-up, plan a staff meeting to discuss strategies for staying on track. Most important, when you do run behind, tell clients why.

4. Interrupt during appointments. Clients like to think that you’re completely focused on their pets. Frequent interruptions from the clinic phone, cell phones, or other team members poking in to ask questions are distracting and irritating.

5. Send pets home dirty. Never send hospitalized pets home with dried blood or dirt in their fur. It doesn’t give an impression of attentive care.

6. Don’t offer updates on hospitalized pets. Clients often feel anxious when their pets are hospitalized, and it’s worse when they don’t know what’s happening. Frequent updates inspire confidence in your team members.

7. Don’t show appreciation. Clients love feeling appreciated. Research shows it takes an average of four thank yous before they really register with clients, so thank them at every opportunity.

8. Don’t bother telling clients what to expect. Don’t assume clients know what you’ll cover during an appointment. Instead, greet them in a friendly manner and tell them what you’re going to do that day, even if it seems obvious.

9. Don’t help. It’s easy to stand on the sidelines and play shy, but it won’t win you any friends. Instead, look for little things you can do to be helpful and friendly. For example, if you sell a large bag of food, offer to carry it to the client’s car.

10. Send clients away without instructions. If the pet is healthy, it’s easy to simply dismiss clients after the exam is finished. But clients expect some direction. Always leave them at check out with instructions, even if it’s just to schedule a routine visit in six months.