As part of our mediation service, the VCMS assist both the public and the veterinary profession in finding mutually beneficial outcomes to complaints. Offering solutions, we take pride in helping to work to get to the heart of a complaint and offer resolution. As part of our commitment to sharing our insights through actionable advice, we look into the importance of helping a client to feel heard and valued and how this can mitigate complaints.
It goes without saying that everyone likes to feel valued and heard. An intrinsic part of being human, feeling valued is an important aspect of both our professional and personal lives. As a vet providing a public facing service, helping your clients to feel valued and listened to not only can have a positive effect on the reputation of one’s practice but, moreover, is indeed good practice to help avoid complaints and build understanding and rapport with your clients.
What is helping someone to feel valued?
Helping someone to feel valued can take many forms. Essentially, we can define feeling valued as acknowledging what the person is feeling, showing respect and making someone feel validated. As a professional, it may seem obvious but in the business of day-to-day work we can, on occasions, drop the ball (so to speak). How can we ensure that we maintain the highest levels of service in order to manage expectations and, as a by-product, reduce the likelihood of a complaint occurring?
As we have covered previously, communication is so important in avoiding complaints and through the practice of helping a client to feel valued we can improve communication. We have compiled a list of 6 points that can help your interactions with clients, making them feel valued and reducing the likelihood of complaints.
- Consistency – consistency in actions and in advice is one of the most important aspects that we can suggest. By being consistent and offering a consistent service we can be reliable and the expectations of clients as to the level of service, conversely, can be consistent too.
- Pay attention to details – the little details often make up the bigger picture. Within dealing with the public, details can be seen as part of being able to relate and understand a client. This can take the form of a personal service, developing a relationship with the owner, as well as paying attention during a consultation which can unearth particular issues and concerns.
- Compassion – compassion is a vital aspect in developing an understanding with the animal owner and none more so when a complaint occurs. Through seeking compassion and understanding, placing one in the position of the owner, we can increase the likelihood of finding a solution without a complaint escalating.
- Communication – communication is key and, if there is one take away from our blog, it is that communication is the most important aspect in helping a client to feel heard and valued. We can split communication into two parts: 1) active listening and 2) clear verbal communication. Through active listening, closely paying attention to not only what is said but how it is said, we can understand the nuance in what the owner is saying. Likewise, clear verbal communication can leave little room for misunderstanding and miscommunication. Through asking questions, seeking to understand and to explain we can reduce assumptions allowing a client to be heard and valued and reducing the chance of a complaint.
- Manage expectations – Whilst we don’t necessarily want to champion the somewhat old fashioned “under-promise, over-deliver” stance, managing expectations is key to building a long-lasting, mutually beneficial relationship with clients. Instead, try to take more of a “be realistic and deliver your best” attitude, remaining transparent, open and honest throughout the journey. Managing expectations means giving regular updates, making no excuses and being accountable. Building a relationship on anything less just simply doesn’t cut it; building relationships on expertly managed expectations means that even when things don’t go exactly to plan, challenges can be overcome.
We hope that our insights can help to understand better the importance of helping a client to feel valued and the positive effect it can have on both one’s business and wellbeing.
However, should a complaint arise and you need impartial advice the VCMS can be contacted on 0345 040 5834 or via email@example.com