Error of Omission

Are you failing to extend common courtesy to your clients?

Usually, when we get in trouble for something, it is because we DID something.  An error of omission is different, though, because the trouble is about the thing you did NOT do that you should have!  It can often take the shape of delivering less than stellar common courtesy to others.

For example, we had a fence installed around our backyard (so our dogs could run “free” … Joy just keeps eating the plants, and Georgie has since become blind—well, technically “eyeless” with surgical removal of both—so I’m not sure we met our expectations), but that’s a different story.  Anyways, the fence company needed to make a return trip toward the end of the installation to permanently affix the three gates. They told me, upon leaving the first day, to expect them the next.

Fortunately, I work at home so I did NOT have to take the day off to meet them but, nonetheless, they never showed.  I called their office, asked when they WILL be at my house, and mentioned to the phone representative that it would have been nice to have at least gotten a call, so I wasn’t waiting around all day.  She did seem sorry.

However, the next day when the fence dude showed back up, he did not feel sorry in the least and shrugged it off to “our other job took longer than we thought.” OK, that’s fine, I understand these things happen, but still, they omitted to call me, omitted to extend some basic common courtesy, to remind me that client service in ANY profession is critical to its success.

In my experience, in the veterinary world, the most common act of omission is simply asking if the client has any other questions, or needs anything else, before they depart. It happens all the time. We work with a client, think they are just about out the door so we can take care of the next several clients waiting for us, so why in the world would we welcome and actually encourage a client to spend longer with us? Are we technically doing anything wrong with NOT asking? Well, that depends on the level of client service you want to deliver. We also need to realize that if the client has needs, requests, questions, we will still have to make time for them later. They will layover at the front desk when they remember a question during check-out. They will call once at home and need to talk to someone, and feel they also need to tell someone all about their pets’ issues before asking a sometimes simple question. 

The point is to be proactive. I believe that sometimes we truly do know we are omitting some information or “cutting corners,” especially with some of our “higher maintenance” clientele. Chances are they have become “high maintenance” because they feel like they always have to fight for our attention. In other words, what we don’t give, they will take, and neither of us should have that challenge during the delivery of excellent client service. 

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