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The culprit behind the increase in phone calls

We can all agree the phones are ringing nonstop. During the day, at night, on the weekends, they never stop ringing. But why? Adopting, fostering and purchasing new pets during the pandemic meant a pronounced increase in need for services.

According to a new poll from the University of Michigan¹, about 10% of all U.S. adults between the ages of 50 and 80 adopted a new pet between March 2020 and January 2021. Maybe this doesn’t sound like much, but when you do the math the result is nearly 5 million people who adopted, rescued or purchased an animal.

Another interesting, yet not really surprising, stat is this one noted by Mark Cushing², founder and CEO of the Animal Policy Group. He states that pet ownership in America now approaches 70% of households, and it’s led by Millennials and Generation Z.

Another survey done by GeniusVets³ found that call volumes have increased by 104% at practices across the country.

All of these pets need to see a veterinarian, which results in more phone calls into the practice. So in short, this increase in phone volume results from:

  • More new patients that need exams and routine preventative care
  • Owners working from home interacting with their pet more frequently and noticing problems
  • Additional transitions for our pets as people begin to return to office life, and pets are forced to adapt once again

To compound the problem, the phone calls are increasing while veterinary staff is increasingly hard to find, and turnover rates are at an all-time high⁴.

The result:

  • Overwhelmed front desks
  • Swamped practices and frustrated clients
  • CSRs stuck on the phones triaging
  • Technicians getting interrupted with questions
  • Doctors dealing with questions from the CSRs, and technicians answering the phones Is there a solution?

How can we help our front desk, answer all of the calls and still keep clients and staff happy?

Getting help from a virtual triage partner can help. The right triage partner can help with daytime overflow support, after-hours coverage, exam follow-up calls, appointment confirmations, or callbacks.

With summer coming, let’s better equip our teams to provide excellent customer service, streamline more efficient hospital workflows and feel less overwhelmed and happier.

Katherine Donahue, DVM, serves as the Veterinary Medical Director at GuardianVets. A proud two time Michigan State University graduate (Go Green!), Donahue is also an associate in a general practice with an emphasis on canine reproduction.

Sources:

  1. https://ihpi.umich.edu/news/one-10-older-adults-have-gotten-pandemic-pet-poll-finds
  2. https://partners.pennfoster.edu/blog/2020/december/top-vet-industry-predictions-for-2021
  3. https://www.prweb.com/releases/geniusvets_to_host_defeating_the_phone_frenzy_webi nar_to_help_practices_improve_communication_during_covid/prweb17351746.htm
  4. https://todaysveterinarybusiness.com/shortages-and-excesses/

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