Forget "us vs. them"

Forget "us vs. them"

Stop thinking of employees outside your group as rivals. When you break down these barriers, you'll reap rewards.
Oct 01, 2009

Greg Paprocki

Veterinary team members' turf wars often mimic fights between dogs and cats—or cats and mice. It's time to unite with your natural enemies for the good of the practice, patients, and your own well-being. Check out these three common rivalries, along with ideas for how to make working together a real treat.

Front vs. back

The receptionists and technicians are constantly irritated with each other. The technicians don't respond to the receptionists' request for help and the front desk requests it at inappropriate times.

Starve alone

"The phone is ringing off the hook. Where's the receptionist?"

"A client has a question, but there's not a technician to be found."

Feast together

Start meeting in the middle with this example of how to handle phone shoppers. Receptionists initially field these important calls. When a potential client asks, "How much is your spay?" the next step in a practice without proverbial walls is for the receptionist to forward the call to a surgical technician. Why? While a receptionist smiles and waves at clients standing at the desk or watches line No. 2 blink with another in-coming call, the phone shopper only gets half her attention. And if you ask to call back later, you lose the impact and, probably, the potential client. So a technician who can fully focus on the caller should explain the procedure and the excellent medical service you offer, then give the price.

When should a receptionist avoid asking for help from technicians in the back? When the front-desk area is slow. Even if the front desk is busy, receptionists should ask long-term clients with nonemergencies if they can call back to answer questions later in the day.