“ No duty is more urgent than that of returning thanks. ” – James Allen
In a world that’s moving this quickly, who really has the time to say “please” and “thank you”? We might think that our world is so constantly filled with stimuli, that maybe nobody would hear it if we said, “Thank you”, just a little more often.
It may feel like these tiny, syllable-sized gestures are antiquated or meaningless in our modern day environment. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, those precious two little words might be more important now than ever before. Scarcity solicits demand, right? We might be busier than ever before, but perhaps our need to express gratitude is also more prominent than ever. At Simply Done Tech Solutions, we believe this to be true.
Our need to express a heartfelt, “Thank you”, has never been more relevant or imperative, than it is right now.
Despite what you might have been told, this simple phrase is emblematic of a whole lot more. It can make or break a friendship, or even a relationship with your own clients. We are so dead-set on acquiring new clients, we hardly designate enough attention to tell our existing clients how much we appreciate them, and thank them for coming in. Now why would we work so hard to build our practice, market effectively, provide stellar service, and stop short of giving thanks?
A few simple phrases can help you to retain your clients, but even more importantly, create an ongoing, genuine bond of solidarity and trust. I recommend that you make saying the following few sentences a habit. You’ll thank me later:
“Thank you for bringing your pet in to see us. Thank you for being a wonderful pet parent, and most of all, thank you for choosing to trust us with your pets health care needs.”
This type of response to a new or established client may only take seconds to say, but can literally make a world of difference. Of course, it’s got to be genuine, and of course you’re busy and of course the phone is ringing again. Still, you can’t overlook the importance of gratitude as a cornerstone of building any healthy relationship.
The central point here is this; the effort really matters, because we really matter. Simply taking the time out each day to thank your clients and let them know explicitly of your appreciation and their importance can be surprisingly rare. In this fantastic 3-minute video, Dr. Laura Trice explains the importance of simply saying, “Thank you”, and how this relates to some of our innermost needs.
I used to work closely with a widely respected veterinarian, Dr. Eddie Garcia (no relation, I promise) who would call each and every one of his clients within 72 hours of their initial visit. He would do this with no ulterior motive or hidden reasoning. He would simply call to say “Thank you for visiting our practice. If there is anything we can do for you we are only a phone call away.” He strongly encouraged both positive and negative feedback, in whatever form it came. He would use this feedback to learn about the wants, needs and fears of his clients, and thank them if their visit was sub-par as well. I can hear you asking, “Wouldn’t this level of openness leave him vulnerable to hours of time-consuming critique?” While that’s a fair question, the kicker is this:
- A majority of phone calls were left on an answering machine (well, voicemail box now days).
- People were so excited about the calls they called him back just to thank him for him calling them.
- Garcia boasted a 90% success rate of retaining upset or displeased clients.
I watched Dr. Eddie Garcia make this type of phone call everyday for over 10 years (watch him in action). Yes, he really made these calls each and every day, and yes, they really did make a difference.
Calling both new and existing clients is equally important, and can’t be emphasized enough.
Whereas most of the time clients might simply express their grievance or general feedback to a spouse, if anyone at all, Dr. Garcia used their direct feedback to forge a bond, improve his practice and retain his clients in a single call. You can do the same.
When I used to ask Dr. Garcia what motivated him to go above and beyond to make these phone calls, he had quite a simple explanation: to stay true to his mission. In his mission he outlined that his veterinary practice “will meet and exceed expectation”. These phone calls were his little way of making sure that he exceeded his client’s expectations of what an attentive and caring veterinarian looked liked. And it did.
From phone calls to “Thank You” emails, there are plenty of ways to effectively implement gratitude into your veterinary practice. Here is a 3-step-solution to implementing ‘Thank You’ into your practice today:
3 Steps to Saying Thank You
- Implement a protocol to have your team print two reports at some point, consistently, each day. These should consist of two parts:
- New client report from the day before.
- Appointment schedule report from the day before.
- Decide in your practice who the appropriate person is to make the call. I usually recommend that associates call their own clients in order to create a genuine bond. If associates do not have the time to do so, the practice owner or medical director may make the call. I’ve recently heard the idea of practices delegating this responsibility to a receptionist or technician. The reason they do this is because they’ve express that pet owners are more likely to share a negative experience with the receptionist vs. the owner or associate. Choose the person who you feel would be great at taking this task on (there is no better person than another in my opinion).
- Begin by calling all new clients and only choosing 3-5 existing clients from the appointment schedule report from the previous day. You don’t need to call back every existing client to say thanks, but spot-check and call a few.
You can never be too thankful.
I hope that these tips will help you implement new and improved techniques for your practice, now and into the future. Thanks for reading, and until next time.