To avoid potential difficulties and stresses, veterinary teams are now using proactive client communications as pandemic restrictions continue to ease.
Easing restrictions across North America have placed some veterinary clinics in a potentially difficult situation. While some clinics are preparing to welcome clients back into waiting rooms and exam rooms, other clinics are taking a more cautious approach and remaining with curbside appointments and other COVID safety protocols until further notice.
To such clinics, the Ontario Veterinary Medical Association (OVMA) recently offered caution.
As more people in Canada and the U.S. look forward to public health restrictions being dropped and life returning to normal, the OVMA wrote in its Feb. 18, 2022, NewsHound newsletter, “Clinics should be prepared for increased pressure from clients wanting to return to normal in-clinic visits with their pets.”
So, how do you reduce the potential for such pressure, which can only exacerbate time constraints, staffing challenges, and other stresses for your veterinary team?
The first step is understanding there are two kinds of pressure:
- Direct or implied pressure, where pet owners let you know directly or indirectly that your clinic should be operating as it was pre-COVID.
- Perceived pressure, where pet owners simply want clarification about your current COVID protocols, but clinics interpret the contact as pressure to change them.
Addressing the second simply involves making your safety protocol information as available as possible to clients so they don’t have to call, which saves your staff valuable time.
Addressing the first involves a bit more information to answer the why question. Pet owners may want or expect your clinic to operate free of restrictions, but only because they don’t know why you’re not operating normally when other previously restricted businesses like restaurants and movie theatres are.
Roncy Village Veterinary Clinic in Toronto serves as an example of how clinics are proactively answering the why question.
On their COVID-19 Updates & Current Clinic Policies page, the clinic writes that their safety protocols remain in effect because they previously had to close for a few weeks due to COVID exposure. “Our team is so specialized and works so closely together,” writes the clinic, “that if we have a single COVID-19 exposure, almost the full team will be exposed and have to quarantine.” To ensure this doesn’t happen, the clinic adds, “We are taking precautions to ensure we can stay open to help pets in need.”
In other words, the why answer is clear. Addressing any pressure that still may result, the clinic takes a human and relatable approach, adding, “Please be kind to our team—operating under these restrictions is difficult for us as well.”
The trick is to proactively use your client communication system to get ahead of client questions before they become phone calls or other stresses.
Posting your current COVID safety protocols to your website and social channels is certainly important. However, social posts quickly disappear and don’t get seen by all your clients. Unless clients actively seek out your COVID policy page, they won’t find the information and still may call.
“Communicating your clinic’s visit process ahead of appointments,” writes the OVMA, “will help to manage client expectations.”
If you’re currently using ALLYDVM Client Communication + Retention Software, you have many time-saving options to easily manage effective proactive client communications, including:
- Mass communication templates to save time creating communications
- Automated communication scheduling to reach clients with the right information at the right time as your protocols change
- Alerts notifying your team of missing client information, which better ensures your communications are reaching all your clienttafs
- A practice-branded PetPage® Patient Portal mobile app, giving clients a direct line of communication with your practice while enabling your staff a better way to manage and schedule responses.
- Add-on two-way texting to expand the reach of your communications.
And much more.
If you aren’t using ALLYDVM, click here to find out more.