I believe every veterinary doctor aims to offer excellent customer services. For this to happen, there must be excellent communication between veterinary doctor and the pet owners. This leads to increased pet owner satisfaction, increased after-care compliance, and to top it all improved pet health. However, investigations into unethical conducts in the veterinary practice associate it with communication breakdown.
Even if we give pets the best veterinary care, the outcomes at times may not be good. A combination of adverse outcomes with poor communication eventually leads to increased complaints by pet owners. These complaints do not only cause emotional disturbance and stress to veterinarians but also make them question their ability to deliver quality care to these pets.
So, why is communication important in a veterinary practice?
I believe communication is important in a veterinary practice because it shows corncern and empathy, it help owners make the right choice, it increases owner compliance, and promotes costumer loyalty hence making the practice more fun to work in and the business healthier (along with the patients 😉 )
Risks surround the veterinary profession. However, acknowledging that communication breakdown is one of the greatest risks, can help veterinarians to develop strategies that can protect them and their practice. Below are some reasons why effective communication is key to a successful veterinarian practice.
It shows Concern and Empathy
Just like in human medicine, the friendlier the doctor is, the more we are likely to believe that he can offer high-quality medical care. The same case applies to the veterinary profession. According to statistics, more than 60% of pet owners think of their pets as family members. Because of that strong bond, these pet owners expect so much from us when it comes to the quality of services that we give.
Therefore, if we show genuine care for their pets, then the more we create clients who can easily understand the risky nature of this practice should anything terrible happen.
This reassures the pet owners that we indeed are concerned and sympathizes with them. If we show that indeed we are concerned about the welfare of their pets, then it will make it easy for them to grasp the instructions. This leads to increased customer satisfaction.
Good communication helps pet owners to make Informed Consents
Effective communication plays a huge role in ensuring that pet owners fully understand the perils and complications that comes with the corrective exercise. For example, a spinal surgery leading to paralysis or general anesthesia, causing death though it rarely happens are some of the risks.
Therefore, before we conduct any operation, we should always inform the pet owners of the risks at hand. A verbal or written explanation can help. For written communication, make sure that everything is clear with minimal usage of veterinary terms. Also, the instructions on feeding, medications, and restrictions should be self-explanatory.
Digital communications are easy and more convenient for pet owners to share with other family members or refer back to.
Effective Communication leads to Increased Compliance
With the sudden increase in the use of smartphones, pet owners are now highly linked. Offering digital treatment options will not only be convenient but also add value and make it easier for pet owners to refer back to.
Pet owners who get written information usually tend to comply more compared with the others. Enhanced compliance does not only enhance the pet’s health but also helps our business to grow.
The following practices can help to increase compliance:
- Verbal communication at each contact point either through the phone or face to face.
- Offering custom-made treatment plans.Issuing customers with handouts.
- Putting in place forward booking appointments strategies.
- Establishing Appointment confirmation and reminders mechanisms.
- Making follow-up phone calls.
Good Communication leads to increased Customer Loyalty
Research shows that, indeed, communication plays a vital role in strengthening the bond between the client and veterinarian. The relationship greatly determines the quality of the care pets receive. The pet-owners are concerned about the well-being of their pets, whereas veterinarians tend to concentrate more on the quality of services they deliver.
The veterinarian can show compassion and concern through communication, which helps to build strong relationships. This leads to improved customer satisfaction in the long-run. The clients also expect to be taught. They want veterinarians to give them guidance on how they can take care of their pets.
Only interactive and two-way communication can help them achieve this. It gives them a chance to listen and ask relevant questions. All this offers them an empathetic experience that ensures that they remain loyal.