Over almost two decades as a vet, manger and hospital owner I’ve witnessed a lot of bad behaviours in the exam room. Things that stop animals getting the treatments they need. It often looks like we unwittingly shooting yourself in the foot.
So here are the top five ways vets (and nurses) sabotage their good intentions leading to bad outcomes for patients and practice. And I’ve dropped in some tips on how to improve and have fantastic appointments.
#1 – We destroy trust before we open our mouths.
Leaving syringes, needles and dust bunnies lying around the exam room is bad enough. But wearing sweat soaked scrubs and a blood stained face mask takes things to a whole new level of gross. Remember, “clients don’t care how much we know until they know how much we care”. So create a clean, safe and smell-free exam room space that shows you care about their experience.
#2 – We cut to the chase too quickly.
Not stopping to say hello and shake a client’s hand or greet their pet by name/give a liver treat is a massive waste of a chance to build rapport. Sounds simple but so many vets cut straight to the chase rather than build up some rapport first.
#3 – Running behind schedule.
We’re busy, I get it. But so are your clients and they won’t forgive being late each time they come to see you. Respect their time by running on schedule.
#4 – We try to look clever, but only succeed in making them feel stupid.
Big, fancy “vet words” may make you feel and look clever, but I guarantee you they are alienating your clients. It’s a classic medic-mistake to try to look clever by showing off your profound knowledge of a topic. But bear in mind that the average reading age of your client is likely to be lower high school. Not tertiary education.
All your big words are doing is making them feel stupid. So be sure to talk in plain English if you want to get your message across clearly.
#5 – We think they won’t want to pay for our services.
If you see lots of clients where “cost is an issue” then I guarantee you than you have a problem. This is very common problem because vets generally think about 60% of clients see price as an issue. But AHAA studies show that the number of clients that actually have real price concerns is closer to 5%. If you believe your clients won’t pay, then guess what – this will be your frustrating reality. But trust me, if you take pride in and believe in your skills, plus make clear, confident recommendations then people will follow your advice willingly.
I’ve seen all of these mistakes a few more besides in the course of my research into exam room communication.
And is it any wonder? Vets are not taught very much about communication skills at all. Instead this vital element of clinical success is left to us (as students) to pick up when we are out there watching other vets in practice.
So why is it a surprise that we have a profession trained to perform a thousand subtle acts of sabotage?
It doesn’t have to be like this and it’s not really your fault that this has happened. But it is a huge issue affecting pet health outcomes and business performance. So it is our job as caregivers to fix this.
This is something that I’m 100% fixated on helping us to remedy. So I’ve created a short ebook which if you implement then you’re going to see beneficial changes. No doubt about it.
To get your copy of this ebook (it’s 10 pages of solid business dynamite) just click here.
I’m not going to make this one available for free forever as it’s kinda all of my secret exam room sauce (distilled into one package. But for now it is freely available from this link.
So go ahead and have it with my compliments.