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Could a Bad Phone Call Cost Your Clinic $13,000?

On a busy Saturday morning, a price shopper calls your veterinary clinic and asks, “How much are shots for a new puppy?” With three clients already holding, the frazzled receptionist says, “We’re really busy right now. Can I call you back in 10 minutes?” The price shopper responds, “No thanks, I’ll try another animal hospital." The caller phones a neighboring veterinary hospital with a friendly receptionist who answers questions and books the puppy’s first exam. Quick and welcoming service earned the second hospital more than $13,000 in lifetime preventive care for the puppy—and the new client has three dogs.

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How to Schedule More Follow-Up Care

Through blood-shot eyes, Mrs. Jones explains her sleepless night of listening to her dog scratch his left ear. You diagnose an ear infection and ask your technician to show her how to clean the dog’s ears and apply ointment. You tell Mrs. Jones that you will need to see Duke again in two weeks. She nods in agreement and goes to the front desk to check out. The receptionist asks, “Do you want to make an appointment for Duke’s recheck?” Mrs. Jones replies, “I need to check my schedule and will call you tomorrow.” Mrs. Jones forgets to call. Patient care and practice health may suffer from the lack of follow-up care. Only 4% of practices always schedule medical progress exams at checkout, while 35% do so often and 49% sometimes do. Every healthcare team member influences clients’ decisions to schedule follow-up care. Here are strategies to have your staff take a consistent approach.

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Increase compliance for preventive care with reminder improvements

Without regular checkups, patients could be exposed to diseases and parasites. Veterinarians also could miss opportunities to diagnose dental disease, obesity, arthritis and other chronic conditions. While checkups protect patients’ health, they also safeguard your practice’s financial health because preventive services and products generate 38% of income. Get tips on best practices for reminders and a worksheet.

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Why you should dress professionally

If you want to get paid as a professional, you need look like one. Your scruffy clothes or granola appearance could communicate a lackluster attitude toward personal hygiene, which could have implications for hospital infections, argues Dr. Stephanie Dancer, a consultant microbiologist at Hairmyres Hospital in Scotland. I agree. Here are faux pas that could hurt your credibility and leadership role as the veterinarian, whether you’re an associate doctor or practice owner.

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How to discuss costs of preventive care with your veterinary clients

Pet owners may not budget for routine preventive care and be surprised at the cost. Your healthcare team’s ability to confidently explain financial information to clients impacts their decisions to accept preventive care. When asked about price, 34 percent of pet owners say veterinary care is higher than they expected, according to the Bayer Veterinary Care Usage Study. Here’s how to handle financial conversations during preventive care visits.

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Does your service match your medicine?

Because pet owners choose where to seek veterinary care, your clinic operates in both health care and service industries. Pay attention to details the next time you go shopping and see which experiences you could copy in your veterinary hospital. Here are easy-to-implement ideas from the service industry.

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How to Support Your Veterinary Receptionists

Your receptionist is your greatest asset. Make their job easier so they can spend more time giving your veterinary clients the service they deserve.

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Are your clients hiding secret cats?

Don’t shy away from conversations about “secret cats” that you haven’t seen in years. Be a patient advocate and educate cat owners about the need for routine checkups. Cats are America’s most popular pet, with the total U.S. population estimated at 74.1 million, compared to 70 million dogs. Your goal is to see every patient every year. Here are three easy-to-implement strategies to get more feline patients to return for preventive checkups.

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7 Ways to Grow Sales for Flea/Tick Preventatives and Testing

Did you know that 77% of pet owners would buy products that you recommend? The majority of patients leave your hospital without flea and tick protection—71% of dogs and 86% of cats, according to a 2014 Communication Solutions for Veterinarians’ study. If clients leave without 12 months preventatives, you could be missing $200 or more per transaction.

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Getting More Clients to Accept Dental Treatments

Your team’s ability to confidently explain the dental diagnosis, treatment and fees will determine whether clients accept needed medical care. The average dental case totals $427, according to the AAHA Veterinary Fee Reference, 8th edition. Get scripts on how to present dental treatment plans so clients say yes.


Veterinarian examining a dog

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