Customers have higher expectations than ever before. The anonymity and speed of online shopping has given consumers a renewed sense of confidence and they are not hesitant to switch to another service provider if they feel disappointed with their experience.
Most times we only get one chance. We may not have done anything wrong, but if the client perceives poor service or indifference then the damage is done.
Most veterinary clinics I know have exceptionally high standards of service. But we’re all human, so what steps can we take to ensure that we don’t drop the ball when our work, health or personal lives intervene?
It’s impossible to predict every disruption to our workflow and our business, however implementing a few contingency plans will have you prepared to change tack at a moment’s notice.
1. Appoint backups for key personnel
An actor has an understudy whose sole job is to learn the role and be ready to step in if the main actor can’t perform due to illness or accident.
We can do the same in our vet practices by investing time in training our team members to fulfill the core functions of each other’s roles.
The show must go on!
2. Phone and email monitoring
If you only have one team member monitoring an incoming customer phone number or inbox, then the business reputation is exposed if that team member becomes unexpectedly ill. Use the same backups you have in place when that person goes on planned leave.
Everybody should understand how the workflow and their role will change should any team member be absent.
Draw up a plan, discuss it at your team meeting and make sure it is available to everyone in an accessible location.
3. Take Ownership – Even If You Won’t Be There
“I’m so sorry you’ve had that experience Mrs. Smith. My name is Donna and I’m going to look into this as a matter of priority.
Although I won’t be here tomorrow, I will ensure that our Practice Manager is made aware of the issue and I will personally follow up when I am back on shift on Monday.”
This tells the customer that you are taking responsibility and are invested in the outcome of their enquiry or complaint. They have your name and your commitment which reassures them that they won’t have to repeat their story all over again to a different person each time they call.
You all work so hard, going above and beyond to exceed your customers’ expectations.
By putting a few safety nets in place, you will ensure that your practice continues to respond effectively in a crisis, and you will maintain your reputation and a more stress-free environment for your team.