Customer Service In Good Times And Slow Times
We’ve made our way through a few of the wildlife exhibits here on the safari, and it may be time for a snack. So let’s stop for a minute at the concession stand. While we’re waiting in line, I have been pondering a question I was asked not long ago.
Due to the slowdown in some veterinary practices, the focus has turned to the delivery of excellent client service. A clinic needs to keep every client who comes in the door, because they may be few and far between these days, and frankly, staff has the time to do a good job taking care of their clients. So, won’t clients become annoyed when things get busy again, and now there isn’t the time or inclination to deliver that level of service? Good question.
In a practice that is delivering excellent client service to begin with, the clients won’t necessarily notice the change; they have ALWAYS been treated well, and will continue to be. So if there is that much discrepancy between what you can do now and what you did when you were busy, then you have a problem that’s deeper than the economic meltdown.
But let’s give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say you have put into place this excellent client service now, and sure enough, when you get busy you won’t have the time to keep up this level of service. Start planning now to keep this level of service permanently.
This may mean teaching everyone how to deliver excellent client service even when busy. For instance, it’s pretty quiet here in the concession stand today. So we’re getting the royal treatment: the cashier is smiling and friendly, the “cook” has delivered our order right to our table, the janitor is keeping the place really clean, and we’re happy with the service.
Fast forward to the weekend: It’s crowded, kids and people everywhere, and we expect that things will be moving a little slower at the concession stand. But still, the cashier flashes us a smile, we don’t mind coming up for our food because the “cook” smiles and says hi, and even the janitor can be spotted working just as fast as he can to keep up with the mess.
We forgive the fact that we weren’t treated quite as well this time, because we know how they really WANT to treat us when they’re not so busy. This may describe your practice when things pick up, as long as everyone is still focused on doing the best they can with the time they have to deliver excellent client service.
Another option to consider is keeping someone in a position to focus on client service permanently. While it’s been kind of slow, there’s been one person on the team who has really flourished when it comes to dealing with clients. She has shown a real knack for it, and seems to get a lot of job satisfaction from the new duties.
It may be time to define that person’s job as a client liaison or client advocate, and hire in someone else to perform her previous duties when the business picks up again. Client service, after all, is what will set your practice apart from the rest.
07/21/2009 - Lost in Back: The Elusive Kennel Assistant
07/15/2009 - Bad Boss, or Porcupine in Disguise?
07/09/2009 - Welcome to Staff Safari