Q: Is there one type of client who's harder to please?
"No. All clients can be difficult or annoying, depending on the nature of the team member who's handling them," says Debbie
Allaben Gair, CVPM, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and president of Bridging the Gap in Sparta, Mich. What may frustrate one team member may
not even make another blink, so the thing to do is prepare every team member to work effectively in difficult situations.
How? When a tough pet owner comes in the practice door, remain calm, be patient, and listen. It's important to stay positive,
look for a solution, and pursue options in which all parties win, Gair says.
Debbie Allaben Gair
For example, if a client shows up an hour early to his appointment and insists that you, not he, wrote down the wrong time,
don't play the blame game. Instead, depersonalize the problem and ask yourself how you can adjust your style of communication
to meet the needs of the situation, Gair says. While you might want to bring up the fact that he confirmed the appointment
just yesterday and that he'll need to wait the full hour, instead ask him to wait while you see what you can do. Then check
the schedule to see if there's a way to move up his appointment. A can-do attitude can make the difference between a difficult
situation and an opportunity to problem solve, she says.
Another way to create a successful outcome is to end each visit by saying, "We're honored you chose our veterinary hospital."
But say it only if you mean it, Gair says.