Clients nibbling away at your good mood?

Clients nibbling away at your good mood?

When veterinary clients take a bite out of you, use these tips to retrain their most challenging behaviors.

Even the best-intentioned clients sometimes nibble away at your good mood. And every once in a while, you meet a pet owner who mounts a full-on attack. You'll find tips from the Firstline Editorial Advisory Board members below on how to manage your most difficult client interactions—and guidance when the rare out-of-control client strikes.

Rachael Simmons
Rachael Simmons, head receptionist at Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Spokane, Wash.

Debbie Gair
Debbie Gair, CVPM, a management recruiter and coach with Bridging the Gap in Sparta, Mich.

Kyle Palmer
Kyle Palmer, CVT, practice manager at Silver Creek Animal Clinic, in Silverton, Ore.


Compassion starts with kindness and good listening skills, and it's a critical component to build stronger relationships with pet owners. Consider these activities for your next team meeting to cultivate a compassionate team attitude toward clients:

> Discuss how you treat clients at your practice.

> Practice dialogues to understand how you sound when you talk to clients. Find a list of sample scripts to improve client communication at

> Discuss how to welcome clients to your practice. When clients walk through the door, you should make eye contact, stand up and greet them with a smile—even if you're with another client. Then say, "Let me finish helping this client and I'll be right with you."

> Practice activities to promote good listening skills. Start by rehearsing the listening skills at


Moods are contagious, and if you're grumpy from an uncomfortable call with Mrs. Demanding, other clients may pick up on it—and reflect that bad mood right back at you.