Practice Management News and Views from around the World – October 2015

People are Awesome

Is social media ruining your life?

From an article by Ernest Ward DVM and published in the dvm360.com website

Whether you're dipping your toe into social media for the first time for your veterinary practice or you're an obsessive, face-always-in-the-smartphone user, here are tips to make your social media regimen a little emotionally—and physically—healthier.

I love social media. I use it almost daily. I advise veterinary clinics on using social media to promote their practice, connect with staff and clients, and improve standards of pet care. But I also have social media rules that help keep me sane, positive and productive. Could they help you too?

Unfriend the crazies. You know who I'm talking about. These are your "friends" that spout venom and vehemence as if it were their full-time job. You don't agree with 90 percent of what they post. Problem is, every time you expose yourself to their nonsense, you get so pissed you can’t help but dive into a Facebook fracas. One hour later you emerge and spend another hour venting to your significant other about your crazy friend. Stop it. This is destructive, damaging and negative behavior. Discard these people from your life. I'm terribly worried this scenario is chipping away at the souls and sanity of untold millions. Fill your life, real and virtual, with people that make you better. Anything less is making you worse.

Do not disturb. I don't take calls from anyone outside my immediate family after 9 p.m. I don't check email. I don't Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram. Set rules and stick to them. This is called self-control for you adults out there.

Your bed is for sleeping. Ditch the iPad, iPhone, laptop and other devices when you settle in for the night. You must train your mind and body to recognize what the bed is intended for. Hint: It's not Twitter. Hard to be romantic when you’re counting 140 characters. Just sayin'.

Veterinarian, schedule thyself. Social media is fun, cool and profitable—in moderation. You've only got so many seconds in your life. Use them wisely. I doubt anyone will say on his or her deathbed, "Let me check my Facebook before I go."

Remember that real life rocks. I'm concerned we’re entering an era when we don’t know how to interact face-to-face. I'm even more worried that many people seem less interested in connecting in the physical realm than in the virtual world. Have dinner with your family. At the same table. At the same time. Talk to your spouse. And look at them. Walk barefoot in the grass. Lie in a field and feel the sun’s rays on your flesh. Listen to water lapping at the edge of a river or pond. The real world rocks. Crank it up.

If putting some boundaries between yourself and your social media sites can make you healthier and happier—why not try it?

You can click here to visit the dvm360.com website

Coping with life within practice

Carolyne Crow announces a series of three seminars to be held in:

  • Edinburgh 13th October 2015
  • Leeds 11th November 2015 and
  • Cheltenham 21st January 2016

Feeling stressed….it doesn’t always need to be like this…

A comprehensive and practical workshop to help you identify and overcome your personal and professional stressors, build resilience and cope better with the pressures you face.

Techniques learned on the day will also help you delegate, improve your time management skills and manage your work/life balance. Prior to the workshop each delegate will complete their own DISC behavioural profile and receive a full report following the day.

By the end of the workshop delegates will be able to:

  • Define stress and be aware of the difference between pressure and stress
  • Understand why a resilient approach to work benefits both the practice and the individual
  • Describe what causes stress and how this affects health and performance
  • Identify personal signs and symptoms of stress
  • The concept of the human performance curve-pressure is good, stress is bad - how you can maintain a balance.
  • Understand how to recognise and how to prevent stress, burnout and compassion fatigue in yourself and others
  • An introduction to DISC behavioural profiling, so you can understand yourself and others better, and how you can use this tool to improve effective communication, reduce miscommunications and misunderstanding and reduce the stress of working with others.
  • Identify what you need to do to feel more in control, on purpose and have the work/life balance you want and need
  • Coping mechanisms, what do you currently use and how to develop new ways of working to better cope with the pressures you are under, reducing stress and avoiding burnout.
  • Time management-simple tools and techniques to make the most of the time you do have.

This day is highly participative and will provide you with the practical tools and tips to make your life in practice easier, more effective and less stressful.

Who Should Attend

No matter what role you play within the veterinary team, everyone is exposed to the stressors of work. This workshop is ideal for everyone working in practice-vets, nurses, practice managers, receptionists, business support managers.

You can click here for further details and to reserve your place at one of these important meetings

Mastering first & last impressions with your veterinary clients

From an article by Deb Render and published in the vetanswers.com.au blog

First impressions are created in seconds.

How long does it take for you to decide who you will sit next to on public transport, or which stranger to talk to at a conference? Before any conversation begins, we have already formed an impression based solely on appearance.

A practice should always be cognisant of the image that it portrays to existing and potential clients. From the first contact by phone or the first greeting from a receptionist, the practice is already delivering a message. Clients will initially judge the team based on their appearance, and the greeting they receive, so uniform, name badge, personal presentation and language are all important.

Image is not just about the people but also the practice itself.

Image is more than just the colour of your practice walls, or the pictures you have hanging in your reception and consulting rooms. It includes:

  • Practice décor and visual appearance, both inside and outside
  • Printed materials such as brochures, letterhead, magnets and business cards
  • Website and online graphics
  • Uniforms and name badges
  • Communication skills and professionalism of the team
  • Overall appearance/cleanliness and hygiene

The image presented by your practice may affect your ability to strengthen client loyalty and to attract new clients. Therefore, it is necessary that you continually reassess your image, and where necessary, take steps to enhance it.

But what about the power of last impressions?

The last 10 minutes of the interaction with you is what your clients will remember. The last impression needs to 'leave a good taste in their mouth'

How do your clients feel about the aftertaste that you leave them with?

  • Sweet - “Oh, what a lovely helpful team of people.” "I wouldn't go anywhere else." This client will tell their friends how great you are!
  • Sour - “Oh my goodness, she was completely out of her depth, and a smile wouldn’t have hurt!" This client is unlikely to return.
  • Bitter - “Look how much money I spent....and for what, I don’t even understand why my bill was so high." This client is going to go elsewhere and will tell anyone who is interested, why.

Basic manners should not be underestimated - making sure we thank clients for payment for example. Clarifying that they have understood the products or services they have been provided with and the associated costs have been properly explained. Farewell statements with appropriate non-verbals (e.g. smiling, a wave) are intrinsic to leaving a positive, lasting impression with a client. They also leave a positive memory in the client’s sub-conscious. Many clients will be unaware they have stored this memory away in their ‘mental filing cabinet’.

A positive, professional lasting impression ensures the next time that client needs veterinary advice, they will think of you.

We need to find ways to leave clients feeling valued, feeling that we care for them and are grateful for their business. You only get one chance to make a great impression - Make it count!

You can click here to visit the VetAnswers website

A message from Veterinary Practice Magazine

Are veterinary hospitals using forward booking?

From an article by staff members and published in the dvm360.com website

You might be surprised at new data—courtesy of the Veterinary Hospital Managers Association—that shows how often practices proactively schedule appointments for clients before they leave.

The Veterinary Hospital Managers Association asked its members in July 2014 if their practices were scheduling the next exam before clients left the current appointment. Of the 550 respondents, more than 40 percent said they were doing this all or most of the time. Let's check the proverbial appointment book for the numbers ...

You can click here to visit the dvm360.com website