Given the choice between coaxing a feisty stray from underneath a dumpster and explaining why clients should part with their hard-earned cash for Angel's blood work, I have a pretty good idea that most of you would be diving for the cat treats. Believe me, I understand. I also know some tricks that could make those sometimes challenging conversations go more smoothly.
At Metzger Animal Hospital in State College, Pa., we hear the same questions over and over again when we talk about in-house diagnostics. We've been offering these tests for a while, so we've had time to come up with pretty good answers to clients' funny, pointed, and often valid comments. Here's a look at 10 of clients' biggest concerns and the best responses.
THE COMMENT: "Do what's on the card I got in the mail."
THE CULPRIT: Lazy Linda wants you to do whatever's easiest for her. She came prepared to follow the directions on your reminder card, and that's all she wants, please and thanks.
WHAT TO DO: Make it easy for Linda. You probably already list fecal and heartworm tests on your reminder card. Adding an annual reminder for the senior blood profile or drug monitoring screen tells Linda to expect additional testing at the appointment.
Say it again
And you can make it easy for your team, too. Receptionists will simply add the reminders as clients check out after appointments, so you won't need to conduct a major record overhaul. Technicians and assistants can help by telling receptionists when to send reminders. "Mrs. Jones needs to bring Tracker in for a thyroid check in six months. Please send her a reminder in the mail" lets Linda hear the recommendation again and gives the receptionist the information she needs so she doesn't need to track down the doctor to finish the appointment.
THE QUESTION: "How much will it cost?"
THE CULPRIT: Reba Rebate knows the cost of a loaf of bread in Timbuktu, and she probably has a coupon for it, too.
WHAT TO DO: The secret to talking with Reba: Focus on value. Consider your last oil change. If you spent $25 but had to drop your car off, find a ride to work, and find a ride home, it seems like a lot of money for the effort. If you drove to the local Speedlube and they did the job in 15 minutes, that $25 feels like money well spent.
The same is true for lab work. If Reba has to make two trips or wait two days for results, the money she paid feels like it fell into a black hole. If the same money goes to running a senior profile before you vaccinate her 11-year-old Golden retriever, she sees the value of the blood work.
What's your role?
When Reba asks about price, be exact and include the cost of all the services her dog will receive. Then ask, "Would you like me to get started?" If Reba agrees, the doctor can show her the results and explain them before he or she recommends additional testing or treatment.