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Abby Suiter, MBA, CVPM

Column: Take Charge

Abby Suiter is the practice manager at Daniel Island Animal Hospital in Daniel Island, South Carolina.

Abby Suiter is the practice manager at Daniel Island Animal Hospital in Daniel Island, South Carolina.

Family first

Take Charge

Rather than look at maternity leave and parental needs as impediments to business, see the bigger picture and adopt a practice culture that communicates empathy.

While I have always respected the roles that mothers play in society, it was not until I became a mom that the breadth and depth of the job sank in. I have the tremendous fortune of working for a true servant leader, a working veterinarian-mom of three who is sympathetic and accommodating to the demands […]

From manager to momager

Take Charge

How becoming a mother changed my perspective on clients, co-workers and protocol.

In our DINK (dual income, no kids) years, my husband’s and my parenting efforts were channeled solely on our dog, Marlie, an 11-year-old, gentle, playful chocolate Labrador. We took her on vacation, to the beach, on the boat and out for drinks. We invested in training, Tempur-Pedic bedding and annual preventive dentals. After we had […]

Resolve to solve

Take Charge

Client relationships can fracture if you and your staff don’t address complaints properly.

I will not go so far to say that I enjoy handling client complaints, but the assignment is something I have developed a knack for over my years in management. The less time I spend in the practice, however, the more I realize this is a skill the entire support staff should possess at some […]

Filter your applicant pool

Take Charge

A structured hiring process and adjustments made inside the practice can be big factors in reducing employee turnover.

As I write this, Indeed.com shows over 40 active job postings for veterinary receptionists, technicians and assistants in greater Charleston, South Carolina. All the employers essentially are looking for the same applicant. Frustration with short staffing and turnover can be felt at times in any practice, even those with better-than-average employee satisfaction rates. The reality […]

Get the best out of your team

Take Charge

Take short, focused steps to shape the desired habits and behaviors of employees.

My attitude and energy toward managing employees can ebb and flow as quickly as the tides, depending on the degree of heat I might be feeling from the perpetual daily fires. At my worst, I am angered by apathy or pettiness and wonder why people can’t just show up, do their jobs and get along. […]

A better way to budget bonuses

Take Charge

Are you looking for a bonus pay system that is fair and sustainable? Start by incentivizing performance and encouraging cost savings.

When bonus pay becomes an end-of-year entitlement instead of a reward for a job well done and motivator for continued improvement, it’s no longer a bonus; it’s a gift. This year, consider an alternative program 
that is lucrative for hard-working employees and protects practice profitability. A core value of the hospital I manage is to […]

Turn hardship into fellowship

Take Charge

Start a charity or work closely with one to ensure that the pets of a financially challenged client get the care they need.

As veterinary professionals, we are charged through personal compassion, moral conviction or even social pressure to care for animals in need when owners lack financial resources. As business owners and managers, we understand that we can’t allow our hearts to lead the way to negative financial consequences. To strike a balance between the two, many […]

How to launch and profit from a rewards program

Take Charge

Properly managed incentives can boost client loyalty, improve patient health and lift the bottom line over the long term.

Our best veterinary clients — the ones who have come to us for years — are compliant with our recommendations, inherently trust all members of our team, choose to support our small business by utilizing our ancillary services despite less expensive alternatives, and promote our hospital in the best light to all their friends and […]

Plot a career path in practice management

Take Charge

Networking, education and certification can help with professional advancement.

Like the parade of preteens who shadow our doctors each summer, I too wanted to be a veterinarian at that age. Growing up in my parents’ practice, where my mother was the owning veterinarian, my father managed the business and I pitched in wherever needed, I experienced the realities of the field. And unlike many […]

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