How To Respond to Complaints About Your Practice in a Professional Manner: 5 Tips for Veterinary Professionals
1. Be Patient, Genuine, and Calm
2. Document the Complaint, Investigate the Facts, and Follow Mandatory Procedures
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Admit Your Mistakes
4. Compromise To Resolve the Problem
5. Follow Up With the Pet Owner
Effectively Handle Complaints With These Five Tips
May 19, 2023 · 3 min read
Complaints and unhappy pet owners are an inevitable part of running a veterinary practice. Here are five tips on how to best handle these situations.
Complaints are a fact of life in the practice of veterinary medicine. Of course, realizing that a pet owner had a negative experience at your veterinary practice never feels good. You may even feel upset or angry. However, it’s critical to address complaints promptly and professionally. This helps minimize the damage to the reputation and credibility of your veterinary practice.
Nobody enjoys criticism. Hearing pet owners complain about your skills requires patience, grace, and open communication. Establishing communication in vet clinics among veterinarians, administrative staff, and pet owners is one of the best ways to address and resolve concerns.
Even if you feel like tearing your hair out or snapping back at a pet owner — and let’s be honest, complaining pet owners can often be quite rude — it’s important to utilize emotional intelligence and maintain emotional and verbal control.
At all costs, avoid escalating into a tense confrontation. This makes you look unprofessional or, even worse, aggressive.
Instead, take a deep breath, count to ten, or do whatever helps you calm down, even if that means removing yourself from the situation.
Every client has the right to complain about their vet or veterinary practice. A verbal or written complaint on a feedback survey is minor; sending an official complaint form to your state’s VMA is serious and could result in disciplinary action. If one of your clients makes an official complaint, be sure to collect related records, document the allegation in detail, and investigate the facts.
If the board does discipline you, avoid another potential violation by strictly following their sanctions. Remember, substantiated complaints are public record. The best way to prevent the serious consequences that could result from a client complaint is to provide top-notch care, follow state laws and regulations, keep meticulous records, and ensure that every client has a positive experience at your practice.
One of the best ways to build stronger relationships and show a client you feel genuine remorse regarding their negative experience is to remain humble and admit your mistakes. Of course, every situation is unique. So, what if you believe you didn’t make any mistakes? Well, it’s not always black and white. You might say, “I’m sorry you had a bad experience. We greatly appreciate and value your business and want to make things right. What can we do to resolve the issue at hand?”
Like any other problem, compromise is often the key to a successful resolution. However, that doesn’t mean you’ll always be able to compromise. Some pet owners are determined to be unhappy or feel that you’re not offering enough. However, don’t let anyone take advantage of the situation or your willingness to resolve the situation.
Start the resolution process by collaborating with your staff and the pet owner. Be sure to listen carefully and empathize with their feelings. Before you mediate with the client in person, start with a brainstorming session, which can help you develop potential solutions and compromises.
One mistake veterinary professionals often make after handling client complaints is neglecting to follow up. Take the time to personally follow up and communicate with the pet owner, whether it’s by phone, email, or in person. Maintain a professional tone and calm demeanor, and listen carefully to their words. In some cases, you may be able to keep them as a client. Sweeten the pot by offering discounts, free annuals, etc.
At Chckup, we know how challenging it is to manage a thriving veterinary practice, and dealing with unhappy clients and complaints only adds more pressure.
With these five tips, you can effectively manage dissatisfied pet owners to minimize the damage to your reputation and business. Schedule a demo with us today to learn more about the innovative tools we offer veterinary professionals and how they can benefit your practice.
If you're in the veterinary field and you're interested in giving your practice the extra hands it desperately needs, book an 8 minute demo with Chckup. Our platform helps busy practices handle call overload, boost revenue per client, and increase client satisfaction by providing actionable insights and easy-to-use technology to help you stay on top of everything.Book an 8 minute demo