Communication is the key for a thriving and prosperous business of any kind, and the veterinary practice proves to be no exception to this rule.
Without the proper emphasis on communication, a breakdown in the vitality of relationships between clients and professionals will inevitably occur. The successful professionals recognise this, which is why they employ various measures to ensure the communication systems and trends of their practices are held in high regard.
Here are some tips, based on how the very best operate, on how to better communicate with clients, for the Veterinarian.
Be mindful of language
Not everybody has spent the long years becoming expertly knowledgeable on the ins and outs of the academic veterinary field, so to expect clients to be well versed on scholarly or scientific jargon is nothing short of disastrous. It is a consumer industry, where the client is dealt with face-to-face by the service provider, which should give you an edge over other industries that do not share this luxury. It is an opportunity to build relationships and to communicate thoughts and ideas directly, so capitalise on it by speaking to clients in a tongue they’re more familiar with.
Jargon should be avoided as much as possible, and if, for whatever reason, the use of such language proves necessary, it should be supplemented with some form of explanatory process, so as to limit the misinterpretation it might otherwise cause. Clients faced with language they are uncommon with, may feel disconnected from the experience, and will feel disenfranchised from the service your provide. Be mindful of what your clients are more used to dealing with, and cater your language accordingly.
Compliment your meetings with visual stimuli
It’s not absolutely essential to use visual stimuli with clients, but it certainly can help get messages across easier than usual, especially if the concept that is being explained is complex. Diagrams are a great way to give clients mental impressions of what you’re trying to explain, and can get the job of making them aware of something, done faster than words can. Physical, 3D models can be pricey, but the pros far out way the cost, and are especially useful when you’re trying to demonstrate a procedure to the client, considering you can show a physical representation of their pets anatomy to them.
The key here is that they are aids, and aren’t designed to do the job of clear communication for you. It’s still up to you to express thoughts and ideas concisely and clearly to clients, but visual aids and stimuli are certainly useful.
Be active on social media, and have a noticeable online presence
Nobody’s saying you have to start a new life as a media personality, with an elaborate plan to become the Dr. Oz of veterinary. And this is exactly the problem: people overthink this aspect, and think it should be more than it is intended to be. You don’t need to be creating high-quality, day-time TV educational programs with intricate special effects and editing, you merely have to have a presence online that is strong, noticeable, and there. Being online means you’re contactable, and your clients have the ability to communicate with you even in the comfort of their own homes. You have the opportunity to answer questions, maybe put out an informative article every once and a while (even if it’s not your own, but one you’re simply sharing). These all go a long way in strengthening relationships with clients, and the communications aspect will be covered, even when you’re not there in person.
Dr Sue Samuelsson is a caring and dynamic vet in the Northern Territory, Australia who has had a profound effect on many remote communities around East Arnhem Land.Â She is the creatorÂ of i-Vet, an innovateÂ online service designed for pet owners. Away from her busy schedule she enjoys catching barramundi in the Daly River.