Don't hate, communicate with veterinary clients

I checked the inbox and there it was: My first piece of hate mail.
Dec 01, 2011

Ashley Barforoush
The day had come. I checked the Firstline inbox and there it was: My first piece of hate mail. Ironically enough, the negative feedback was in response to last month's column, "Praise like you should". This reader definitely didn't have any praise to offer. He didn't like my ideas—or my face:

Your Front Desk article exemplifies what every pharmacist must endure during a workday -- customers who don't want to take responsibility for their own behavior. If you bothered to look at the prescription label you might notice the number of refills remaining and the expiration date of the prescription. Of course, to do that would require intelligence and personal responsibility. Res ispa loquitur.

The pharmacist is under no obligation to inform you about the expiration date of your prescription. You stated that the pharmacist made you feel like an idiot. That's because you ARE an idiot. In fact, from your picture, you even look like an idiot!

Stop trying to blame others for your own lack of responsibility. Rest assured, the pharmacist who did nothing wrong in your encounter won't miss you. She sees morons like you every workday! -- Name withheld

The problem was: He missed my point. You shouldn't make your clients feel dumb even when they mess up. So what do you do when a miscommunication leads to a personal attack? It was hard not to take his words to heart—and even harder not to shoot a not-so-nice e-mail right back. Instead, I accepted the fact that not everyone is going to be respectful. You can't change their minds, but you can control how you respond to the situation. After all, there are many ways to get your message across. Click here to learn the best way to communicate.

Then I want to hear from you. Have you ever been verbally attacked by a team member or client? Share your experiences at If anything, you'll make me, the "idiot," feel better.

Ashley Barforoush, Associate Editor