Learn to Share
Veterinary teams deserve more than a paycheck. Employees need to know the financials, be thanked, and hear what they can do to improve the practice’s performance and their own.
Going into the pandemic, I expected that veterinary hospitals would be financially devastated. Clients would not bring in their pets, practices would close and employees would be let go. Well, I could not have been more wrong. Veterinary practices are doing very well financially. In fact, many are seeing increases in income like never before. […]
The Client’s Perspective
Talk the Talk
Five specific communication skills can help the veterinary team maintain a strong connection with pet owners, especially during difficult times.
I recently took my long-haired dachshund, Gidget, to a veterinary hospital because she needed treatment for atopy. Because I had moved a short time before, I didn’t have an established relationship with a local veterinarian. My first thought when I scheduled the appointment was, “Are they going to let me be with her?” My next […]
Steer Clear of Trouble
Protect and Defend
Practice owners need adequate insurance coverage when transporting pets and when employees are on the road.
Insurance coverage and risk management remain a hot topic during the pandemic. This is the second in a two-article series highlighting the most frequently asked COVID-related questions I have received from my insurance clients. Q. What are the liability risks if my hospital offers a pet taxi service? A. You must consider two major exposures. […]
Find a Happy Medium
Some people are career-oriented while others place greater value on time away from work. Practice leaders can support both.
We have all heard about work-life balance. Over the past few years, though, a new phrase has been tossed into the mix: work-life integration. Is there a difference, or has the old phrase been given a fresher name? The short answer is that the idea of work-life balance has evolved into the more holistic concept […]
Nurture the Bond
The pandemic upset client relationships, but you can still provide good customer service.
Connecting with clients is a crucial part of the bonding equation. We strive for lasting relationships between the veterinary team and clients and do whatever we can to build and maintain the bond. The goal has always been to dissuade clients from stopping at another practice in town as they drive to ours. We achieve […]
Staff Strife, Instagram Envy and More
Opening Shots columnist Dr. Ernie Ward answers your questions.
Q: My best technician of 10 years is loved by our clients but hated by our staff. She’s patient and kind with pets but condescending and rude to other team members. I don’t want to fire her, but the situation is destroying my team. What do I do? A: Unlike Bigfoot and the Loch Ness […]
Assisting From Afar
Telemedicine allows veterinarians to communicate with homebound clients, observe patients in a relaxed state and even suggest alterations to the pet’s environment.
I don’t think a single veterinary colleague of mine would disagree that 2020 has been one of the most challenging years professionally and personally. Abrupt changes to workflow, curbside appointments, the immediate need for instant digital communication and the exponential pet explosion involving many first-time owners have all occurred at once. The typically slow-to-change veterinary […]
Less Ringing, More Appointments
Facebook, Google, Instagram and even business review platforms can streamline the booking process and free up your staff.
Your clinic’s phone rings again. Email notifications pop up. The Messenger tab flashes. You haven’t checked your app dashboard yet. Everybody wants an appointment. You throw back coffee, take a deep breath and respond to clients by flipping back and forth on the appointment calendar, offering time slots and sending confirmations. Client A responds to […]
Mercenaries and Missionaries
Consolidators who push profits first leave veterinary teams feeling neglected, leading to less-than-optimal pet care and reduced profits.
Consolidation, a normal part of the economy, has come to our profession. Consolidation tends to occur in any successful, fragmented, profitable, healthy industry that will benefit from investment and continued growth. Recent human health care examples include growth investments in urgent care, hospice and medical devices. I’ve had the good fortune to work in both […]
A Lasting Impression
A manager who delegates properly will create a veterinary team that performs autonomously and confidently.
My tenure at Daniel Island Animal Hospital is drawing to a close. (More on my impending move in future articles.) As I work to organize the practice for success in my absence, I look for ways to enhance my teammates’ involvement, empowerment and motivation. My skills in organization and delegation are being stretched. I have […]