As we all know, veterinary medicine is a passion, a calling, but it is also a business. So when I’m out and about in the big world, I can’t help but compare our business to those businesses I visit. I notice things like the parking lot, the store cleanliness, the behavior of the employees, promotional marketing campaigns, and especially the customer service. When I come across sub-par customer service, I can’t help but think, gee, I hope “we” are doing better than this, with “we” being the entire veterinary profession! After all, we each represent our practice, sure, but we also represent the entirety of our profession and have the ability to affect a client’s opinion of veterinary medicine as a whole.
I was in a large-store-that-sells-everything the other day buying some pajamas for my daughter…she had grown, again. This is not a big budget item for us, knowing she’ll need more when it gets cold here in Wisconsin, and it’s likely that we parents will be the only one to really see her in them. So the garments I was buying were, well, “cheap,” in really every meaning of the word and that’s OK by me. Then as I’m checking out, when the cashier gets to the pj’s, I watch as he takes each garment, wads it up, and shoves it into a plastic “thank you” bag.
OK, so again, I realize these are not designer brand name pajamas, and I’m only paying $12 a pair, BUT I couldn’t help but think, if he would treat these better, as if they WERE more expensive, I would feel more value for those garments. Interesting enough, his entire demeanor was one that broadcasted, “I-can’t-wait-until-this-shift-is-over.” While he was on the clock, could he at least be present enough to make eye contact, smile and treat my items with some semblance of dignity? I guess I ask too much; but I did expect more for my $12.
Now, if I had been in a designer store, and bought items that were much more expensive, I would hopefully receive the level of customer service deserving of that brand. A great example is Coach purses, and yes, I’m a fan. When you buy a purse from Coach, the salesperson disappears behind the desk to the “back room” and returns with a custom branded bag, with a box inside tied up with a bow, where you’ll find not only the purse you purchased, but also a silk bag to store your purse in when/if needed. You FEEL like you’ve gotten your money’s worth, because they make it a whole experience!
So I challenge you to think of this in your place of business, when you’re greeting the next client, packing up a product, or pitching a service…they will only believe it is worth the cost if YOU act as though it’s worth the cost! Now you could be in a high-end practice with all the bells and whistles, or a low-cost practice that provides options to pet owners. The point is, take pride in your workplace, services and products you offer to pet families. If you can’t seem to muster up that pride, than perhaps you’re in the wrong place. Yet hopefully you’re here because you want to service pets and the people who love them, and you want to provide the best experience possible while reaching this goal.
Oh, and everyone should feel this pride, from the practice owner down to the part-time kennel help; it doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you know your part is important. An example is the message on the brown paper bags I use to line the kitty boxes, “Made with pride by Angel Welborn”…you GO, Angel!
http://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/images/vpn-tab-image/dr-reception-300px.jpg8/17/2012 3:01 PM