Communicating Tips For Not So Easy Going Clients 

As a veterinary professional, you know that communication is key to almost every situation. There are instances, however, that require a bit more of a negotiation. There are always the few that come to mind when thinking or learning about communicating tips for “not so easy going” clients. Communicating with these clients can be more like fine art than just regular communication. 

Things to Remember

Stay Calm (or rant in private)

People are oftentimes looking for a reaction from the person they were talking to. For example, if they say something that makes you upset, sometimes you just instinctively want to make a remark back. Staying calm. Keeping a respectable tone of voice and body language is best when dealing with a ‘not so easy going’ client. 

 Examples of “I’m Irritated” mannerisms: 

  • Crossing arms 
  • Fidget 
  • Sighing – or deep breathing 

While it is not advised to ask the person to calm down, generally speaking. If you remain calm and collected, it is more difficult for the other person to become defensive. 

Communicating Tips

Active Listening

When a customer is explaining their thoughts and feelings to you. First, respond with an example of why or how you understand what their concern is. Show that you are listening by responding with: “I understand your concern for this matter, let’s see where we can go from here.” OR “I understand your concern for this matter, let me look into why this happened and get back to you.” These responses have a better outcome and can help alleviate client frustration allowing you time to get a quick, more in-depth, response back to them. 

Beginners’ Mindset 

When you are very well educated in the subject sometimes it is difficult to explain certain situations without technical terms. Pet owners tend to get upset quicker when they don’t understand the situation. This is especially during this already emotional time for them and their pet. 

It may also help to use simple language in your conversation with the client. Sometimes, if the client does not understand what you are saying, they will become defensive. Often times they stop listening. Their tone will change and they become reactive instead of listening. 

Make Responding a Priority

As soon as a client raises a concern, make it a top priority to clear up the concern. If they don’t get an immediate or timely response, agitated clients tend to just get more frustrated. This being said, a quick response isn’t always what is best for every situation. Sometimes a response of, “thank you for your concern, we will check up on why/how this happened and get back to you.” 

In-person responses can also be different than responses via email or a “text” where you can’t always interpret how that person is speaking. These can be even more challenging. and sometimes require a bit more thinking as well. Determine which situations require an in-person response from your team and which ones would be acceptable for a written response.  

Thank Them

Your clients brought the condition of their pet to your knowledge. This is because they care about the well-being of their pet. They ultimately do trust you, even if it doesn’t always seem that way. 

Send a Follow-Up

This may not be needed in every situation, there are some instances that a follow-up is beneficial to maintain or mend the relationship. This doesn’t have to be a long response about the situation, as you don’t want to re-open the situation for debate, but something showing that you are sincere.  

Reflect Back

After the dust settles with the client, reflect. Reflect on how the situation arose, as well as how it was resolved. Maybe there are things that could change so the next person that comes in or purchases your product doesn’t have the same issue. 

Friendly Communicating Tips

There isn’t always a set answer for the communication barriers that occur in the workplace and with customers. It is common for the immediate reaction to become defensive or reactive. Using the communication tips with “not so easy going” clients could make or break the collaboration you have with that person. 

These tips can also be useful if you are one that is frustrated with a client about something. Pet owners need the trusted guidance of a professional when taking care of their pets and making decisions. Remember that most pet owners have a beginner’s mindset when it comes to the animal health industry. 

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