Even though veterinary services are mainly about pets, the success and growth of your practice largely depends on the satisfaction of pet owners. Much as you’d like to please everyone, it may not always be possible to avoid upsetting a client.
No one likes to hear criticism, but not hearing about a bad experience and losing a client because of it is no better. To make matters worse, you may not even discover a client was dissatisfied until you find their negative review on Yelp.
Unhappy customers are bad for business, plain and simple. Pet owners want to know that their beloved pets are being well cared for, and client expectations for quality customer service are understandably high. So what happens when those expectations aren’t met?
Studies show that clients are two times more likely to share a bad customer service experience than a good one, but only 4% of disgruntled clients actually tell you they’re dissatisfied.
When it comes to agitated pet owners, their bark can often be worse than their bite—but it’s essential that you do whatever you can to respond to their concerns in a timely, professional manner. That said, how can you address unhappy customers if 96% of them haven’t come forward?
Client satisfaction surveys are an easy, non-invasive way of inviting pet owners to tell you about their experience at your practice, whether positive or negative. Businesses from restaurants to car dealerships have been doing this for years, with positive results. While not every customer will complete the survey, sometimes all it takes to get the feedback you need is to go and ask for it.
Still unconvinced about introducing client satisfaction surveys at your veterinary clinic? Read on to learn how these nifty little surveys can improve customer service and boost business at your practice.

Benefit #1: Make things right.

When you read about a negative experience through a client survey, you’ll have an opportunity to pinpoint exactly what went wrong. If there was something your practice could have done better, you’ll have an opportunity to apologize and make things right. Or, if the issue arose out of a miscommunication, you’ll get the chance to clear things up.

Benefit #2: Learn from your mistakes.

Owning up to any potential mistakes made at your clinic is a bold move, but also a beneficial one for your reputation. While that may seem backward, clients will be much more receptive to your business if you are human and transparent.The only real way to learn from your mistakes is to admit them first. Once you’ve done that, you can find new ways to streamline processes in your practice, which benefits both you and your clients.

Benefit #3: Earn a second chance.

Sometimes, when a pet owner disagrees with your recommendations or disapproves of your advice, the miscommunication may result in a negative client survey response.
Tempting as it may be to dismiss non-compliant clients, surveys can shine a light on these red flags and provide a second chance for you to explain yourself another way. This can lead to increased compliance and better care for pets.

Benefit #4: Provide a private space for clients to vent.

When clients are upset about the service they received at your veterinary practice, they may not come forward for fear that their opinion isn’t valued. For some, this assumption will simply silence them and you’ll lose a client. For others, not having a place to vent their frustrations can lead to negative, public reviews online—which can deter many clients.
Sending client satisfaction surveys is a great way to remind pet owners that you want to hear from them. Plus, they provide space for clients to air their frustrations privately, so you might just avoid a bad online review altogether.

Benefit #5: Gain valuable insight.

When you write a client satisfaction survey, you have the freedom to ask whatever you want to know about how your practice is performing. Getting specific answers from targeted questions can provide valuable insights into your strengths and any areas of growth for your practice.
Armed with this knowledge, you’ll learn to identify things like whether further training is required for some staff. Plus, you might find opportunities to make better use of certain skill sets you may not have known about within your team.

Benefit #6: Brainstorm new services and revenue streams.

Aside from identifying hidden talents on your staff, client surveys can also reveal patterns of needs that pet owners have that you may not currently accommodate.
Maybe you’ve noticed an increase in small animal patients, but you only have a part-time specialist on staff. Satisfaction surveys can help highlight the need for additional services that may also open up extra revenue streams at your practice.

Benefit #7: Find satisfied customers, and feature their reviews.

Not all responses to your client satisfaction survey will be negative. When you come across the positive ones, try reaching out to the pet owner with gratitude.
Receiving good client feedback gives you an opportunity to ask if they would be willing to post a positive review online, on social, or on your veterinary website.

Benefit #8: Reaffirm your strengths.

Sure, it’s great to get a pat on the back for all your hard work, but the benefits of receiving positive feedback far exceed the well-deserved ego boost! Surveys also help to reaffirm what your practice does well, so that you can continue to build on your strengths.

Benefit #9: Find new ways to improve.

With so many qualified veterinarians offering the same services at competitive prices, it can be difficult to stand out in your area. Conducting satisfaction surveys can help you identify new ways to improve your facilities, services and customer service so you can be the best at what you do.
So, if you’re ready to improve the way pet owners view your veterinary practice, try sending out some client satisfaction surveys! Great customer service is the start of any brand awareness improvement, and can surveys can help you get there faster.

Looking for more ways to take your brand awareness to the next level? Find out how a WebDVM website can help improve brand recognition with pet owners for the continued success of your veterinary practice.

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