A great curbside experience: Dos and don'ts to guide your approach
Whether it’s a client you’ve known for years or a client you're meeting for the first time, a curbside visit could be a whole new experience. As practices have adapted and perfected workflows, there are some things their teams are doing (and not doing) to deliver a positive experience, every step of the way.
BEFORE THE VISIT
- Communicate & educate! Tell clients how the new visit experience works so they're prepared. Do they call or text when they arrive? Are masks required? Will they go inside? Wait or leave? How does payment work?
- Maximize digital tools. Your website, social media and email are powerful ways to offer details, including payment options. Consider creating a video to help clients visualize the visit.
- Add financial care. Show your commitment to budget-friendly care by offering links to payment solutions and financing options.
- Assume clients understand curbside service.
- Forget to reinforce the value of your care.
- “Wing it.” Make a plan and work it.
WHEN THEY ARRIVE
- Make it easy and comfortable! Answer clients phone calls or texts as quickly as possible. Tell them who's coming to get their pet and how long they should expect to wait.
- Offer to let them participate. If available, ask if they'd like to participate in their pet's exam via video. If this isn't available, let them join on speaker so they can hear what's happening.
- Expand opportunities to educate. Turn phone hold time into helpful on-hold messages. Offer "edutainment" with a printout of educational pet sites or content to enjoy while waiting.
- Keep them waiting. Even a few minutes can seem like an eternity.
- Forget to be personal. Use names (theirs, the pet's and yours) as you pick up the pet.
- Blindside them with the fee. Describe the treatment planned and cost upfront.
IN THE EXAM ROOM
- Let clients be "in" the room. Help them feel connected through Facetime, Zoom, video chat
or on speaker.
- Communicate and educate. Share your recommendations and encourage questions.
- Discuss cost and payment options. Establish a protocol for when, where and who will communicate fees and payment options.
- Surprise them medically or financially. Be transparent about treatment and payment options.
- Be camera shy. Face value is invaluable!
- Underestimate the importance of reinforcing value.
WRAPPING UP THE APPOINTMENT
- Return the pet with care. On the phone or curbside, review the treatment performed. Provide a list of conveniences offered (e.g., online pharmacy, payment options).
- Follow Up. Check on their pet by email or phone. Send a "thanks for coming" message and ask them to post a review on social media.
- Miss the opportunity to offer support.
- Forget to respond to requests for information.
- Overlook scheduling a follow-up visit.
These simple steps of reassurance can help make a big difference for clients who might be experiencing uncertainty in their lives.
By Brian Conrad, CVPM
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