Algorithm: Can you help this pet owner pay?

Algorithm: Can you help this pet owner pay?

Veterinary clients want the best for their pets, but sometimes their financial situation gets in the way. Here's the path I travel with pet owners when they complain about price, seem hesitant to comply with recommendations or say, straight up, that they're under a financial strain.
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Sep 27, 2018

Even when you communicate well, some veterinary clients will always be dissatisfied that you don’t treat animals for free. We truly cater to pet owners, but when it comes to the payment part of a visit, we can sometimes feel like criminals because of the way we’re treated. How can we give great customer service and amazing care and still discuss payment without coming across as heartless? It's all in the timing and approach—and answering crucial questions in careful conversations.

Could this algorithm help your team develop new communication protocols when walking through client payment conversations in your veterinary hospital? To find out, click here or on the image below for a PDF version.

Helping A Pet Owner Pay

The author's algorithm is an excellent document showing a common sense approach to difficult financial discussions with distraught pet owners. Unfortunately, it cannot be assumed that every veterinary team member, who may be in a position of discussing fee payments, is blessed with common sense. Nor is it appropriate for a team member to refer to this very detailed chart to guide a payment conversation with a pet owner. I can't help but wonder how that complex algorithm would be abbreviated if the first question asked was "is your pet insured?" A recent study revealed that the primary reason why veterinarians are not proactive about discussing the importance of pet insurance with their clients is they "don't have time". Taking the time to discuss pet insurance when the pet is a puppy or kitten will save valuable time later. Unfortunately, when the client will not authorize a treatment plan, the only acceptable plan will probably result in economic euthanasia, the loss of a patient, and the traumatic destruction of a human/animal bond.