With the uncertainty of how the Covid-19 virus may affect staffing levels at veterinary practices, it is important that clients’ expectations are managed given the current situation. It is advisable to make it clear to the clients what can be achieved within the practice through clear communication, explaining the current situation and informing them as to what could change in an instant.
With government guidelines being updated regularly, it is important that staff within a practice are aware of the ongoing changes and the effects that updates may have in regards to the administration of treatment and care.
We recommend that the priorities of the practice at this time are explained and how and why those decisions are made in a clear and understandable manner. Clients may ask for extra advice should the practice be unable to provide treatment and care, and, given the emotive nature of animal care, the situation may require extra sensitivity and understanding.
In such situations communication can break down and information may not be taken on board by clients. It is important to keep information clear and understandable and, additionally, when referring clients to other practices, a pre-prepared handout of contact details may be useful if the practice is overwhelmed.
More vulnerable clients may need additional support in caring for their animals and it is important to consider what measures could be put in place to protect and support them and their animals in uncertain times.
It’s important to keep the clients informed of what is happening, not just in times of uncertainty, but at all times, especially when they are waiting in a consulting room, in the reception area or awaiting results at home. Providing a reassuring service through the returning of phone calls and the providing information helps to take care of client’s needs, both emotional and physical. Ensuring there is good cover for your front of house, who can act as a direct point of contact, is another method to ensure client support.
Please feel free to contact the VCMS on 0345 040 5834 should you wish to talk through any situations you may require independent advice on.