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Free webinar: Coming back from COVID

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The COVID-19 outbreak has forced veterinary practices to modify how services are being delivered—from curbside service to telemedicine—and continues to put immense pressure on practices medically, financially, and culturally.

Learn how your practice can survive and thrive in these unprecedented times during a free webinar, Coming Back from COVID: How to Ensure Your Practice Emerges Stronger than Ever, on Tuesday, May 26, at 3 pm (PST). The webinar, offered by AAHA Preferred Business Provider GeniusVets, features three leading AAHA-accredited practice owners who have figured out how to adjust their approach to staffing, service delivery, and business processes to remain strong during the COVID-19 crisis.

One of the presenters is Michele Drake, DVM, CVA, owner of AAHA-accredited The Drake Center for Veterinary Care in Encinitas, California. A veterinary consultant and GeniusVets chief veterinary officer, Drake says the webinar will teach practice owners and managers strategies to help them stay focused on the job at hand during a time of constant change. She gave NEWStat a preview of what attendees can expect, including three things practice owners should be focusing on right now.

“The first thing is obviously the safety of our staff and our clients,” she says. But, she adds, what’s not so obvious is taking the time to keep reminding staff what they need to be doing to stay safe, including wearing masks, maintaining social distancing, and washing their hands. Drake says you can’t overstress safety measures. “We need them to keep themselves and our clients safe.”

Another key priority is to make sure your staff has the tools they need to do the jobs they’re meant to be doing. “That’s all changed with how we do business now. So we’ve had to realign who’s doing what job and the processes we’re using [while determining] what’s been effective and what hasn’t been effective.” Per Drake, this involves “constantly asking yourself, as the owner and manager, ‘What do I need to give my staff? Do I need more staff in certain areas? Do I need to move people around?’”

The most important thing you can give staff, she says, “is good, solid direction”—which means constant communication. Always be asking yourself, “What are the issues we’re having, and how are we addressing them?”

The third area to concentrate on is client experience. For example, how are clients handling curbside service? For Drake, it’s been a process that involves continual fine-tuning.

One way Drake has smoothed out curbside service was by adopting a texting app that improves both the customer experience and staff efficiency. When the client pulls into the parking lot, they text the word “arrived” to the practice. The app immediately begins gathering information from the client, such as their name, the pet’s name, the reason for the visit, and where they’re parked. And all without having to call the receptionist.

Drake says that before using the app, her practice was fielding more than 150 phone calls a day just to deal with curbside service. The app eliminated the need for calls on arrival, so calls immediately decreased. “It was amazing, the immediacy of it,” she says.

Aside from these important foci, the webinar will center on practicing good leadership, and the effect it has on mitigating staff anxiety. Drake says it’s about communicating before there’s a need to communicate.

“It really decreases people’s anxiety when they see that you, as the boss, have things under control,” Drake says. “They can relax and just do their job.”

Register for Coming Back From COVID: How to Ensure Your Practice Emerges Stronger than Ever

Photo credit: © iStock/svetkid