July 2017



Phone (908) 823-4607- info@veterinarybusinessadvisors.com

Responding to Client Complaints
Client complaints: all practices get them, although some more than others. Some complaints have a factual basis while others arise largely from emotion. Some complaints are large in scope, while many of them are relatively small. Despite the reasons why a client complains, it's best to respond to them, early on. By doing so, you can often prevent a small issue from becoming a bigger one, and you can sometimes mitigate the damage done when there is a larger complaint. If, however, a client feels unheard, that can lead to veterinarians receiving letters from clients' attorneys and state boards as the dissatisfied clients seek legal recourse.
In general, clients resort to litigation and/or state board action when they believe their veterinarian either acted negligently or failed to respond appropriately to their concerns. So, if your practice receives a client complaint, how should you respond?

Fact and Fiction: the Millennial Generation 
"I see no hope for the future of our people if they are dependent on the frivolous youth of today, for certainly all youth are reckless beyond words. When I was a boy, we were taught to be discrete and respectful of elders, but the present youth are exceedingly wise and impatient of restraint." (Hesoid, 700 BC)

Everyone knows how lazy the Millennial generation is, right? And how disrespectful? They bounce from job to job, expecting money to simply be handed to them. What a sense of entitlement! They hover around their phones, texting instead of interacting with others around them - and don't even get us started on the selfie craze. 

When we say "everyone" knows this, by the way, we aren't just talking about people in the United States. Oh, no! In Japan, this generation is known as nagara-zoku, defined as "the people who are always doing two things at once." In China? They are known as ken lao zu for - ready for this - "the generation that eats the old." 
Pretty clear cut, right? Well, not so fast. 

In This Issue
VBA would like to congratulate one of our writers Kelly Boyer Sagert on her Emmy Nomination. 

Should I allow my employees to pet sit for the Hospital's clients?

Have you been approached by your staff, or have you heard through the employee 'grapevine,' or has your clientele informed you that they have been directly solicited by your employees for pet sitting opportunities? And if your Practice provides boarding services, is this adversely affecting that revenue stream? Or are you worried that your clients believe if something goes wrong while your employee is pet sitting for them, that the pet sitting activity is an extension of your Practice and it's your fault? If 'employees as pet-sitters' is cause for concern, then you should clearly define whether or not your employees can pet-sit for clients and if so, determine whether it is part of an 'Outside Employment' and/or 'Conflict of Interest' policy to allow such activities.

In general, a conflict of interest is any interest, relationship or activity that competes or is incompatible with the best interests of the practice or which potentially might adversely affect the services of the practice. If your Practice provides boarding, then your employees who pet-sit have the responsibility to notify the Practice Manager to obtain consent to enter into or be permitted to continue such activity.

Pet sitting by your employees should be addressed to ensure that there is no misunderstandings about the scope of services and whether it creates a conflict of interest with the services provided by the practice. A well-thought out and documented policy ensures the risks associated with such activities are identified and properly allocated between the employer and employee and provides clarity to the clients that their business relationship is with the employee, not the practice.


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