You’ve heard it before – the first and last interaction your clients will have at your veterinary hospital are the ones they have with your CSRs. That being said, your CSRs are a major factor in keeping your clientele happy, coming back, and even encouraging new clients to walk through your doors.
The Importance of Hospital-ity
The average full-time veterinarian produces roughly $555,000 to $600,000 in a year. In urban areas, where veterinary clinics are often a dime a dozen, competition to obtain this revenue is fierce. The level of hospitality, or “the friendly reception and treatment of guests” that your CSRs provide, will make or break their experience and either keep them coming back for more or send them running down the street to the next veterinary hospital.
Use patient and client names.
People love the sound of their name, so use it! Ask your CSRs to greet clients and patients by name. If it’s a new client, make sure to ask what their preferred nickname is on a new patient form. Being personally welcomed is the kind of thing that helps your hospital stand out.
Always, always greet your clients warmly.
You want to greet clients warmly when they enter the lobby. This should be done within the first 30 seconds. You can greet them warmly using words, a smile and/or eye contact when someone walks through the door. EVERYTIME. Ask your CSRs to make this a priority.
Monitor the clock and update clients if things are running behind schedule.
There are going to be times when things are running behind. If you realize a client has been sitting a few minutes longer than anticipated in the lobby, loop them in. You’ll find that when timing is out of step and is communicated to clients correctly, they are often very patient and understanding, and will appreciate being in the know.
Distribute new client packets and gifts.
Be sure each new client receives your hospital’s new client packet. Include a flyer about your hospital that tells a little about the history of the hospital and how they can get in touch. The gift part of the welcome packet is the fun part! Send your clients home with a coupon for a free nail trim, a resource teaching them to train their new puppy, a sample bag of treats, a piece of swag with your hospital’s name and contact info on it (this could be a pen, magnet, or whatever you want really) or even a free coffee from the café down the road. Everyone loves gifts. Your clients will appreciate the gesture. Bonus: the resourses you send home will keep your hospital top of mind.
Maintain a clutter-free and odor-free front lobby.
Let's turn to IGNITE’s resident veterinary hospital design guru and Ask the Hospital Designer group moderator, Brian Upp.
"We all want to maintain a clutter-free lobby! Here are a few solutions:
1. Provide bench seating with storage beneath the seats
2. TV monitors streaming Animal Planet or hospital information in lieu of stacks of magazines
3. Separate kids nook that keeps kids and toys out of the main footpaths through the lobby
4. Built-in area to house the scale so it doesn’t become a trip hazard
It goes without saying that most of our practices have our fair share of accidents in the lobby from excited dogs. I think most owners want to help us keep our lobbies clean and free of odors. We find the best solution is to make cleaning stations available to them so they can clean up after their dogs as soon as possible."
Ask your CSRs to keep the front desk neat, organized, and free from clutter.
People (and pets) might not remember what you said or did, but they’ll remember how you made them feel. If your CSRs are practicing daily rituals of hospitality, your clients will feel special, heard, and keep coming back – and recommend their friends!
The content of this blog was sourced from IGNITE’s first-of-its-kind CSR Certification Program. With IGNITE’s CSR Subscription, your CSRs can take online courses that focus specifically on developing skills their as a veterinary front desk all-star. Your team will explore topics such as Phone Etiquette, Appointment Scheduling, Cash Handling, and so much more.