Veterinary Articles

Solve Problems For Clients

By |May 27th, 2014|

Despite your team’s best efforts, there will be times when service errors occur or clients become disgruntled about something.  Empower your staff to address and handle problems for clients when they occur.  Clients will be happier and impressed if your employees can quickly take action to resolve lapses in service or help them with their problems.  For example, if a client needs to pick up or drop off their pet outside the regularly scheduled time period, they will be thrilled when a team members works to accommodate their schedule.  Likewise, when breakdowns in communication occur, clients appreciate an apology and actions to improve communication.

Efforts to create an exceptional client service experience and promote a service-oriented culture are on-going.  Assess your service on a regular basis and formulate action plans to improve service when needed.

Differentiate Your Veterinary Customer Service

By |May 12th, 2014|

Service standards can elevate the level of veterinary customer service and differentiate your business.  Create standards that help to create a positive memory for the pet owner.  Start with a few standards at a time and train everyone on the team to meet the standards.  Develop standards for the most common client interactions such as on the phone, in the exam room and during check-in and check-out times.  Include the entire team in dialogue about standards to capture great ideas, facilitate training and to ensure buy-in.

Avoid creating standards that are scripted phrases which lack authenticity.  For example, train team members to use appropriate phrases such as, “Hi!  This must be Josie-she’s so cute.  Tell me more about what’s going on with her” rather than merely asking “How can I help you?”

To further differentiate your practice with client service, brainstorm ideas with the team on how to cater to the needs of clients and how to exceed client expectations.  This [...]

Client Engagement: Connect With Clients

By |May 1st, 2014|

The first step to enhancing client service is to become a client-centered hospital and make it a goal of the business to consistently deliver exceptional service while always striving to exceed the needs of clients.  Next you must hire employees with positive attitudes who are motivated to provide outstanding service.  Then focus on the following 3 key areas to ensure success in achieving your goal.

Veterinary Client Engagement: Connect With Clients 

One of the best ways to provide tailored, sophisticated service is to connect emotionally with clients and recognize their unique needs.  Don’t lose sight of the client’s perspective when communicating with clients.  Remember to focus on what clients are feeling and what they need from the healthcare team as well as what their pet needs.

Give clients compliments.  Everyone likes to receive compliments so look for opportunities to say something nice to clients.  Always praise clients about how well they take care of their pet because this will reinforce your position [...]

Should You Be Discounting Your Services?

By |April 14th, 2014|

Targeted discounts may help you build your practice, but a culture that permits uncontrolled discounting will have a negative impact on your “bottom line”.  Targeted discounts are designed to drive more business into your practice and often are associated with internal and external marketing strategies.  For example, if your practice is a “start-up” and you want to build your client base quickly, you might offer a free exam to new clients in your first six months of operation to get folks in your community to try out your practice.  If these new clients bond to your practice you will see a revenue stream from this external marketing strategy going forward.  Discounts also can be offered through well-conceived internal marketing strategies such as puppy and kitten preventive care packages or through more complex health care plans, including those for adult and senior pets.  These bundles of services typically are designed to increase client compliance with recommended wellness services and to [...]

Weathering your Slow Season

By |March 14th, 2014|

It has been a very tough and slow winter for many veterinary practice owners.  If your veterinary practice is subject to seasonal fluctuations, no matter when they might fall, you’ll need to prepare ahead and make adjustments to ensure your practice remains cash flow positive.  First, consider your cash reserves.  During your busy season, set aside enough in reserves to cover at least one month of operating expenses.  Next, focus on proper expense management.  Can you avoid bringing on new employees or offering raises until business will pick back up?  As you set your team schedule for the seasonal downturn, can you ask a little more of some of your team members and trim staff hours?  On slow days, you may have to ask team members to go home early.  Finally, manage your inventory expenses well throughout the year.  It always is a good idea to keep no more than a 15-30 day supply of product on your shelves [...]

Winning Strategies for Effective Inventory Control

By |March 6th, 2014|

Winning Strategies for Effective Inventory Control

Presented by: Karen Osborne, CPA, MBA
Lacher McDonald & Co., CPA’s
Courtesy of: Live Oak Bank

Talking to Clients About Treatment Plans and Fees

By |September 17th, 2012|

Discussing fees with pet owners can be an uncomfortable and frustrating interaction for members of the veterinary healthcare team. Staff and veterinarians alike tend to let their concern for the client’s ability to pay interfere with discussions regarding medical services. Sometimes veterinarians are conservative in treatment recommendations, eliminate services from the treatment plan, or discount services if they are concerned about an owner’s financial constraints. To increase client compliance, don’t focus on whether clients can afford care but instead remain committed to providing the best care possible to pets and focus on communicating the value of all your services to pet owners.
The Fee Discussion

Develop an organized, standardized approach to presenting treatment plans to pet owners. Discuss treatment plans and fees with clients in an exam room or consultation room. This gives clients privacy and will help make them more comfortable asking questions. If staff members routinely present treatment plans, make sure they are trained to handle client questions [...]

Construction Loans on the Rise

By |May 1st, 2012|

Lenders dedicated to the veterinary community say construction loan requests are up in the first quarter of 2012—in some cases double that from the first quarter of 2011. This increase is in part attributed to veterinarians’ need for additional space and lack of existing practices for sale.
Not only are more veterinarians asking about loans, but more banks are willing to lend. While criteria for loan approval differ among lenders, experienced veterinarians able to prove a potential for profit are given consideration. “The down economy has forever altered the criteria by which veterinarians are approved,” says Annemarie Murphy, senior loan officer for Live Oak Bank of Wilmington, N.C. “A big difference is that lenders previously willing to give practitioners who filed bankruptcy a second chance, now are not. But strength of the individual to pay bills that would be acquired with a new practice on the amount of revenue currently generated is a good start.”
Murphy says some who [...]

Financing a New Building in This Economy

By |January 1st, 2012|

The current economy has given rise to many questions about how a veterinarian should go about financing the construction of a new facility. The buzz in the marketplace is that construction costs are not coming down, appraisers are approaching the market conservatively and banks have tightened credit standards for real estate lending.
All these statements are true. But many veterinarians just don’t have enough space to continue to grow their businesses and need new facilities. Will all this news prevent a veterinarian from securing the needed funds to build her building? It doesn’t have to. There are different financing options and one of the scenarios can work for your situation.
The market has three primary products available forveterinarians looking to construct or renovate their facilities: conventional bank financing, SBA 504 loans and the SBA 7(a) loan product.
The best loan type for your project depends on the appraisal, cash equity injected into the project, current business cash flow, size [...]