Why practice owners should copy hotels for inspiration

April 4, 2018

Loving owner with a Yorkshire terrier in the office of a veterinarian

You’ve probably had the experience of eating out at a restaurant where the food was great but the overall experience was terrible. You were seated 30 minutes after your reservation time, the server was aloof and, at times, rude, and the kitchen got your original order wrong—and then stuck it on the bill before you pointed out the error. It doesn’t matter that the steak you ended up eating—the offering you actually paid for—was cooked and seasoned to perfection, tender to the bone, and delicious; at the end of the meal, you walked away feeling like you’d had an extremely negative experience and, chances are, you thought twice about ever returning to that restaurant again.

The veterinary service you provide your patients is, in many ways, no different from the service you get when you eat at a restaurant—at least when it comes to customer experience. While your patients come to you for a specific service (veterinary care), just like you went to that restaurant for a steak, their overall judgment of the value of that service will be determined just as much by their overall experience and the way they were treated as by the quality of care they receive.

You probably spend a lot of time and energy getting patients into the door. You spend money on staffing, supplies, and training all in an effort to ensure you’re delivering on your core promise. But, just like the restaurant spends money on prime ingredients and yet can still manage to alienate a customer, there may be aspects of your customers’ experience that are driving them away.

To accurately assess the overall experience you provide your patients, you must take time to walk a mile in their shoes. Merely thinking about it or taking a cursory glance around your practice is not enough. You need to walk through their entire experience from the start—and not just of the appointment. If you’re starting with the waiting room, you’re skipping crucial touch points and the impressions they impart.



The client experience starts before they even step foot in your office.



How are patients greeted when they walk through the door? Try taking inspiration from the hospitality industry and have reception greet your patients warmly and immediately as soon as they arrive.



If the procedure is emotionally trying (euthanasia, grave prognosis), does your patient have to walk back out to reception in front of other patients to settle up? Or can you accept credit card payments in your exam room to complete in-exam room processing[2]?

Ryan Pirkle is director of marketing at Gravity Payments[3].


  1. [Image]: https://www.veterinarypracticenews.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/client-experience-online.jpg
  2. in-exam room processing: http://www.gravitypayments.com/veterinary
  3. Gravity Payments: http://www.gravitypayments.com/veterinary

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