The Coronavirus 19 pandemic has had a huge impact on all business sectors, including veterinary medicine. What was originally portrayed to have a short-term impact on our lives is now running into the eighth month of turning our lives upside down. The uncertainties associated with the pandemic have created more stress for everyone; clients included – leading many veterinarians to notice an increase in unhappy or frustrated clients. Help improve your client satisfaction with these tips regarding common client complaints in today’s operations.


Client Complaint: Disregard for Clinic Policies COVID-19 Mitigation 

Your clinic has probably experienced some resistance to whatever mitigation techniques you have in place, ranging from clients that don’t want to wear a mask to those who do not stay home when feeling under the weather. 

Client Satisfaction Strategies:
  • Let clients know what to expect: Post your clinic’s policies on your website homepage, pin them to the top of your social media sites, and mention them in your appointment reminder email or phone call. If clients have a forewarning of what to expect, it decreases the experience’s stressfulness and allows them to prepare appropriately. 
  • Post reminders on your front door: This could include a mask reminder, city or state ordinances stating the requirement, and the phone number clients should call to check in to their curbside drop off. If clients need to fill out forms or pay online, include a QR code that helps direct clients to these websites. 
  • Enforce your policies for all clients: If clients are only allowed inside the building for euthanasia, don’t make any exceptions. If one family receives special treatment, others will soon be expecting the same. 


Client Complaint: Concerned about letting their pet go inside alone

Many clients are worried about letting their pets go in for their appointment without them. While this is seldomly due to the client not trusting their veterinary team, it is often related to the client worrying about their dog behaving during the examination. 

Client Satisfaction Strategies:
  • Encourage the client to walk to the door or into the lobby with you. This will encourage their dog to walk rather than pullback towards the owner, increasing owner stress. Additionally, this has the added benefit of walking a more cooperative dog (less likely to get loose in the parking lot!). 
  • Equip one (or multiple!) exam rooms with a video camera and possibly a microphone, then invite clients to zoom into their pet’s appointment. This can reassure them that their pet is comfortable without them in the examination room. 
  • Keep their pet inside for the minimum amount of time. If a client seems especially concerned about letting their pet go inside alone, ensure that your veterinary team is prepared to immediately examine their pet and allow the pet to return to the owner in the parking lot while reviewing any blood work or completing any checkout paperwork.

Client Complaint: Decreased Communication With the Veterinary Team

With an increase in curbside service, clients often feel that they don’t receive a full picture of their pet’s health or cannot ask all of their questions. 


Client Satisfaction Strategies:
  • For wellness examination appointments, provide the clients with a form in advance or at the time of check-in, which allows them to write down any specific concerns or recommendations they have about their pet. 
  • If clients leave with questions or think of additional questions as soon as they get home, consider implementing a telemedicine chat line. This can be especially helpful for post-surgery patients whose parents may have extra concerns. Implementing this can be as simple as offering clients to reach out for a given amount of time via Facebook Messenger, emailing a “rechecks” notice address for the clinic, or texting a clinic mobile form. Full-service telemedicine options can also be explored. Before implementing this service, be sure to discuss with all staff members what types of questions will be answered in this manner (i.e., specific follow up questions related to an appointment vs. all veterinary related questions). 
  • When on the phone with a curbside client to provide examination findings or review diagnostic options, compliment their pet or use (appropriate) humor in your conversation. 
  • Provide clients with a printed or electronic, physical exam report card. This should include all components of your physical exam and a section for the pet’s behavior to increase the Veterinary-Client-Patient Relationship.
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