The telephone is widely acknowledged as a key source of new clients and growth for vet practices, as it’s very often the first interaction potential new clients have with your business. In that brief, purely auditory encounter, they have developed an impression of your standards of care, your level of customer service, care for your patients, empathy and value for money. The person on the other end of the phone, whether a new or existing client, has no concept of what is happening around you during the call, and nor do they probably care. In that moment, they view themselves as your customer, and expect to be afforded your full attention.
In an ideal world, we would absolutely have sufficient phone lines and available staff to dedicate the time and attention needed to cater to every phone enquiry. We certainly wouldn’t have people waiting three deep in front of us, multiple lines on hold and ringing waiting to be answered and a vet out the back desperate for an extra pair of hands.
But that’s not reality. Reality is that practice life is busy and demanding and our resources are often limited. Which is why we need to work smarter, not harder when it comes to taming the telephone in our practice. We need to ensure we have the skills to manage multiple demands on our time, how to multitask when needed and prioritise our workload. Most importantly, we need to know how to be most effective and efficient once we are on the phone at engaging, enquiring and educating our clients.
Engaging and building rapport with clients is about acknowledging and showing genuine interest. Take a moment at the beginning of the call to find a connection with the client. Enquiry is a vital skill to ensure you are offering the advice and solving problem, never assume you know what a client needs. To ensure the best quality of life for our patients, we need to educate their owners. Proper client education will lead to improved compliance and better health outcomes. All of this contributes to the practice’s bottom line.
Want to find out more about telephone skills? Check out Taming the Telephone in our 2016 ProSkills Program. Register online: www.provetccg.com.au/proskills