What colors are your clients?

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Nov 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Canine Colors isn’t just for building more effective team relationships. You can also use it to improve your interactions with clients. At the Goshen Animal Clinic in Prospect, Ky., staff members are encouraged to evaluate clients according to the Canine Colors model. A colored sticker on the client’s check-in sheet lets other team members know how to approach that client. (The team plans to eventually move the client color-coding system into its veterinary software for ease of use, Dunbar says.)

“This process helps us to better serve clients in the manner they prefer,” says David Dunbar, hospital administrator. “It means no more routine, scripted appointments that frustrate the client or the staff.”

Help clients adopt wisely

In addition to describing human temperaments, the Canine Colors program offers a system for identifying dogs’ character traits, also expressed as colors. This system enables certified Canine Colors coaches to open a new service area within the practice: helping clients with pet selection, beginning with the client’s own temperament and needs.

At the Goshen Clinic, clients interested in adoption soon will find choosing a pet with the appropriate temperament even easier. And the team has an idea for marketing the service. “We will be adding color-coded door signage,” Dunbar says. The signs will offer a natural way for staff to bring up the subject of Canine Colors typing with clients. “The best vehicle for communicating this information is the staff,” Dunbar says. “They are leading the program for us.”

Counsel clients on pet behavior

Another way a Canine Colors coach can help clients is by providing basic behavior counseling. As a coach, you can help a client discover both her own and her dog’s color spectra. If you discover a mismatch between the client’s personality traits and her dog’s temperament, Canine Colors can help you explain it and address it.

Imagine a client who expresses that her dog is experiencing separation anxiety. You could guide the client through discovery of her own color spectrum and her dog’s colors. “It doesn’t replace other methods or treatments, but is another tool I can use when working with veterinarians and their clients,” says Brad Phifer, CPDT-KA, director of pet behavior services at Broad Ripple Animal Clinic in Indianapolis and a master certification coach for Canine Colors.