When you go to a restaurant, what do you really want? Do you want amazing food, or do you want an amazing experience? For most of us, we are looking for the latter.
At first blush, eating out seems to be all about the food. It’s not hard to think of fine dining and imagine the inordinate importance of the chef in specific and the cook staff in general. After all, aren’t they doing the thing we actually came for?
I once took a group of people out for steaks at a swanky place here in Greenville, SC. I knew it would be expensive but I really wanted to impress these people and show them a good time. Well, the food was excellent… when it arrived 2 hours after our reservation time. The waiter was nice, but completely clueless about why things were so slow and delivered no information until it was dragged out of him by my hangry guests.
The food was excellent. I’m never going back.
Over the last 50 years, we’ve experienced a shift in the evolution of veterinary medicine from being about the doctor to being about the team. You can still find old-school practices where the doctor is the star and everything is set up to serve him or her. But these practices are dwindling away.
In modern veterinary medicine, the focus is not and should not be entirely on treatment of pets. It should be on the healthcare experience. That goes beyond just excellent care coming from veterinarians and well-leveraged technicians and assistants. It also requires lots of accurate, insightful communication coming from the front desk, CSRs, and receptionists.
A great veterinary experience doesn’t come from medicine. Yes, good medicine is a requirement just like good food is a requirement for a great dining experience, but a great veterinary experience comes primarily from teamwork and communication.
This week is National Veterinary Receptionist Week. It’s a fantastic opportunity to take a moment and think about the experience your practice delivers, and about the role your front desk superstars play in making it happen. If you haven’t recognized “the front” for all they do in a while, maybe slap them a high five today. Maybe mention how important they are to getting pets in and out of our clinics, setting reasonable expectations in the minds of pet owners, and doing the stressful job of collecting payment for services from sometimes-emotional pet owners.
Vet medicine is a team game, and the healthcare experience is far more than just medical treatments. Thank you to all our front desk communicators for educating, informing, comforting, and caring for the clients who put their trust in us. In a profession where emotion matters so much, we could never create the meaningful experiences pets and people deserve without you.