Q: Clients sometimes schedule an appointment for one pet and show up with several. What should we do?
"It depends," says Karen Sabatini, a Firstline Editorial Advisory Board member and a receptionist at Ardmore Animal Hospital in Ardmore, Pa. "We usually handle these clients as we would drop-ins. Unless it's an emergency, we try to schedule an appointment that day or as soon as possible. We want to be accommodating, but we also want to be fair to pets and allow enough time to treat them properly."
Pamela Stevenson, CVPM, a consultant with Veterinary Results Management in Durham, N.C., agrees. "If you try to fit in three comprehensive exams, the rest of the patients that day suffer rushed exams," Stevenson says.
Instead, she suggests encouraging clients to drop off all three pets for comprehensive physicals. Or if it's late in the day, suggest another day and time, and describe it as a great time slot that affords the attention pets deserve. "Remember, you can't please everyone, and high-quality patient care is the top priority," she says. "Don't compromise your standards of care for one person. Many other clients will thank you by continuing to visit your practice."