What Do Our Clients Seek in a Veterinary Practice?
As Vets in Practice, we strive to do our best for our Clients and their pets.
From time to time it’s right that we survey our clients’ needs and wishes , to ensure that we provide the best of service and care that we possibly can. We can try to improve upon any short falls which are highlighted and find out where we are getting things right.
Our Client Survey Findings.
During January and February 2012, Abbeyfields Veterinary Centre in Rocester surveyed our Clients who visited the Practice.
A sealed box, complete with survey forms was placed within the waiting area and clients were free to complete the survey at any time. All responses were anonymous, including any written comments. Clients also had the opportunity to speak to us about any particular concerns whilst at the Practice. We are pleased that all discussions were positive, with no one feeling the need to bring any significant concerns to our attention.
We surveyed 2 situations –
Clients’ opinions based upon their last visit to the practice
Factors important to Clients when choosing a Veterinary Practice
Here’s what people felt…
We scored 100% on our Customer Services like politeness and helpfulness of staff, convenient appointment times and ,importantly, treatment and care given to your pet.
We are pleased that everyone who responded would recommend the Practice to a friend and that no one had any complaints.
Our Survey tells us that some clients are waiting too long for their appointments (8%), once they have arrived at the Practice. This may reflect involved cases that are being seen when you arrive with immediate concerns, but often it is the older Vets chatting with our great Clients, we are sure!
We have taken these comments on board, split consultations between Vets with greater spacing to allow for over runs and advised the nurses and reception staff to monitor time keeping by the Vets. Our computer system has a facility to keep an eye upon waiting times, so we hope to improve our efficiency in this area.
Our Survey also indicated that some Clients didn’t feel they had received good value for money.
For this perception we would certainly like to explain and advise any client to speak to us with such concerns. We will try to communicate the Team work for your pet more clearly. Our consultation fees may well be higher than neighbouring Practices, but they are built upon a foundation of Veterinary costs, equipment and costs for great staff who continuously update their skills. They are very loyal to your pets and will go the extra-mile to assist in the treatment of your pet. We also purposely have a minimum 15 minute consultation time, which is much longer than the national average, to try to get our diagnosis and treatment plan right first time. Follow up examinations and tablet checks are at reduced cost.
We understand value for money isn’t all about cost and whilst we can help you with fixed price procedures, the Abbeyfields Practice in Rocester tries to give added value to the client with easy access to Vets, longer consultations, regular follow up and phone calls and the latest approach to care or referral 1st time.
Here are some client testimonials….
“Our pets feel more relaxed when they are greeted by name. Very pleased with Abbeyfields”
“Have the greatest respect for all the Staff for the care and attention they give my cats”
“Have always received service that is 2nd to no one. Excellent Vets. Would recommend”
“Wonderful bedside manner for owners!! Thank you for tolerating over anxious parents!”
“I am told by friends that other Vets are cheaper but always had total trust in Julie and her team, so haven’t even wanted to check whether this is correct. This is the best for me and my dog!”
“Keep it up!”
“We have always had Excellent care for our pets from the practice and are very grateful for that”.
What Makes a Good Veterinary Practice???
Read on to find out how Vets and Client ideas differ….
When questioned, our clients rated friendliness of staff, individual care for their pet, services provided, and knowledge of the staff as the factors most important to them when using a Veterinary Practice. This is on a par with what most pet owners across the UK think also.
An interesting discussion, which featured in our professional journal, “The Veterinary Record”, in June 2011, asked a group of clients and then vets, what criteria were most important to find a good Veterinary Practice.
We, as Vets, are perhaps too caught up in diagnosing pet conditions and treating, when our clients want other things with greater priority.
Compare what Clients sought most against what Vets thought was most important…
We have colour coded each criteria to allow a comparison and instantly it is clear that the two sectors of people vary considerably; the most important things for clients are to find knowledgable Vets, who can be seen to handle their pets really carefully and are compassionate to do the best for the pet. Vets, in general, however, guess that the ability to talk to the client and compassion for the client and the pet are most important, ahead of being friendly and handling pets with care.
At Abbeyfields, we do our best to understand what clients seek. We keep up to date with a range of Continuing Professional Development (CPD), including meetings, visits from Drug and Petfood Companies, local Veterinary meetings, on line Veterinary courses, in house training and residential courses to keep our skills up to date. We are aware how important handling a sick or distressed animal can be and follow guidelines on pet handling, sedating your pets with you if appropriate, always sedating any pet before putting it to sleep, making use of dark and quiet zones, or anti anxiety sprays to create calm environments. We try to take your pet’s situation and your wishes on board when we develop treatment plans, making sure our approach to care is what you are comfortable with. One thing that is particularly important at Abbeyfields is to ensure proper conclusion to all treatments. So we encourage follow up checks to ensure recovery, or follow up phone calls a week or 2 later, and proper diagnostic testing before treatment if at all possible.
We know families with sick pets want us to give a prognosis and not a diagnosis – they want to know if and when their pet will recover, rather than a long, technical diagnostic word. They want us to be decisive in our treatment plans and guide them to the correct options for their pet.
But overall we realize our clients want to be able to leave the care of their pet to us, knowing they will be given all the options for treatment or referral, and be given an honest opinion upon recovery, whilst in the meantime knowing the Vets and Nurses will work as a Team and treat their pet as one of our own.
At Abbeyfields in Rocester, we feel the balance is almost right. We may welcome you to an old, cosy building, but behind the scenes are operating theatres and diagnostic rooms with a full complement of equipment. Our Vets and Staff want to care for your pets and when more specialist care is needed, we have some great specialist practices whom we hold in high regard to help us with this care at the highest level.