Print full article

Word Makeovers can Boost Compliance and Grow Revenue

I shadowed exams to determine why clients weren’t accepting treatment for their pets.

i5 Studios

Suggested Veterinary Products

While consulting at a practice where dental compliance was 17 percent, I shadowed exams to determine why clients weren’t accepting treatment for their pets. The first exam revealed answers.

After the veterinarian explained his diagnosis of grade 3 dental disease, he said, “The girls up front will give you an estimate when you check out.” After the client paid, the receptionist said, “Here’s your dental estimate.” The client left without scheduling the procedure.

Extreme Makeover

A communication makeover would significantly improve client compliance, patient care and hospital revenue. Taking the practice from its current 17 percent dental compliance to the AAHA benchmark of 38 percent 1 could bring $274,561 in additional revenue over the next 12 months (see Table 1).

Five communication shortcomings were the cause in this practice.

First, employees used the term “estimate” instead of “treatment plan.”

Second, treatment plans were handed to clients without interactive conversations.

Third, clients received treatment plans in the public lobby. Would you feel comfortable asking medical or financial questions with an audience?

Next, front-desk employees gave clients treatment plans. Technicians, who perform dentistry, would be more skilled at explaining treatment plans in exam rooms.

Lastly, collecting today’s payment first may be causing clients to hesitate to schedule follow-up procedures.


The client service team needs to practice schedule first, pay last.

Say, “I see that Max was diagnosed with grade 3 dental disease today, and Dr. Smith needs you to schedule a dental treatment. Dr. Smith can do the procedure this Wednesday or next Tuesday. Which works best for you? Then we’ll get you checked out for today’s services.” Another bonus of schedule first, pay last: The appointment reminder will print on today’s receipt.

When presenting diagnoses and treatment plans, your team needs to use language that clients will understand. Post the word-makeover chart on your employee bulletin board.

You May Also Like  Behavior basics for the emergency clinician and technician

Good communication skills encompass positive, proactive words. Consider the difference you can make in patients’ health and clients’ satisfaction when you change some common terms into friendly phrases.

Wendy S. Myers owns Communication Solutions for Veterinarians and is a partner in Animal Hospital Specialty Center, a 10-doctor AAHA-accredited referral practice in Highlands Ranch, Colo. She helps teams improve compliance and client service through consulting, seminars and webinars. You can reach her at wmyers@csvets.com or www.csvets.com.


Leave a Comment



Sign-up for your account with Veterinary Practice News. Your account gives you unlimited free access to our Newsletter Archives and our Digital Editions of Veterinary Practice News.
Please check the box below to confirm you would like to be added to Kenilworth Media’s various e-mail communications (includes e-newsletters, a survey now and then, and offers to the veterinarian industry*).

Leave this empty:

*We do not sell your e-mail address to 3rd parties, we simply forward their offers to you. Of course, you always have the right to unsubscribe from any communications you receive from us, should you change your mind in the future.