Who hasn’t had to sit a bit in a waiting room to see their doctor? We’ve all had to do this at one time or another, and a veterinary office is often no different. For example, when an emergency case comes into the office, all client appointment times get pushed behind. The extended wait won’t be a problem for some; but others, no matter the reason, will end up feeling frustrated. Since delays do happen, determining ways to make all clients recognize that they are important is the challenge.
The receptionist is the first person a client meets when they walk through the door, and a receptionist can make the wait time run smooth or turn into a disaster. Steps can be taken to help ensure that the receptionist is able to follow through on their role of welcoming and taking care of the client until their appointment time begins.
- Receptionists can ensure that each client has been checked-in and remains comfortable.
- The receptionist must know the boundaries of the information that can be given to a client about the veterinarian, their job and other patients.
- The receptionist can make or break a client’s reaction about having to wait for their appointment, as a friendly and calm receptionist can help to soothe an upset client.
- Receptionists need to be trained to diplomatically handle an annoyed and loud client in order to not make other clients feel uncomfortable.
- In emergency situations, receptionists need to be updated on the timing needs in order to give clients an understanding of the changes for an impending wait.
- In the event of an emergency, a plan should be established and receptionists should be trained to take care of client needs in case appointment times have to be canceled for the day.
- In the event of an emergency, and in lieu of a delayed appointment time, receptionists should be trained to handle referral needs when a client’s pet needs to see another veterinarian right away.
Waiting Room Needs
The appearance of the waiting room needs to be clean and tidy when clients enter their veterinary office. Rooms that are rundown, dirty or unkempt may make clients feel uncomfortable, especially if the wait is long. Clients will find it easier to pass the time in a waiting room area that has the following:
- Bulletin boards with current information on medical experiences
- Pamphlet rack that contains up-to-date information on any trending medical needs
- Reading materials that appeal to all clients
- Retail sales section
- New client section that welcomes patients and provides lists of necessary supplies and information that they might feel is informative
Available Amenities for the Waiting Client
- Clean restrooms
- Television set with subtitles turned on and with a low volume level so those interested can watch, but those wanting to attend to other business are not hampered
- Wi-Fi availability for those who need to connect with family, friends or work
- Beverage availability such as water, coffee or tea
And Don’t Forget the Pets!
The reason for the trip to the veterinary office is the pet. Staff members that work to help make Fido or Fluffy comfortable are going to make the client comfortable, also!
- Offer jars of healthy animal cookie snacks
- Provide a grassy walking area for anxious or energetic animals
- Establish an area that is to be used for pets to relieve themselves and provide baggies, paper towels and a trashcan for clean-up
- Provide a spigot or water cooler so clients can fill a water bowl for their pets
- Foreign smells can trigger anxiety or fear in some animals – use air fresheners to avoid this issue
- Some animals find it difficult to walk on slick linoleum flooring, provide slip-resistant rugs or decals for traction
Each client is important, so it is vital to have their wait as pleasant and as comfortable as possible. Setting the stage so that the client is taken care of by making their wait time unnoticeable is an attainable challenge. Contact your Covetrus representative today for more tips to make your practice run smoothly.