June 6th 2022

Using Complaints for Continuous Improvements

Whilst they may not seem remotely positive at first glance, complaints provide veterinary practices with valuable customer feedback. When considered in this way, it is possible for practices to think of complaints in the same way that they do other sources of insight, and use them to improve processes and service delivery. This of course ensures that they are able to maintain and increase both customer satisfaction and ongoing customer loyalty. In short, complaints can be used to build the foundations for a continuous improvement plan.

In order to frame complaints as a legitimate form of feedback, it is crucial to remember that complaints are not an attack on practices, but often an early indication that something is not working. Specifically, they highlight areas of service provision that could be improved in one way or another.

With this in mind, practices should ensure that they have an effective complaint handling process that allows them to acknowledge and respond to complaints. By doing this, they can expect to make the kinds of business improvements that lead to:

  • A greater understanding of customer expectations
  • Increased customer trust, confidence, and satisfaction
  • Increased customer loyalty
  • Reduced disruption to service provision
  • Early warnings of possible problems
  • Prevention of repeat complaints of the same nature
  • Time and money efficiencies produced by swift resolutions
  • A greater overall reputation

Encouragingly, Resolution Managers have observed an increase of veterinary practices making time to be proactive when it comes to complaint resolution. A recent case at VCMS involved a client concerned about the preoperative admission appointment for a routine procedure; the client felt she didn’t have the procedure explained in enough detail and that there were ‘hidden costs’ (post op recovery diets, pain relief and medical pet shirts) in the pet’s aftercare. The practice acknowledged the issue and promptly realised that in the absence of procedural changes, a similar case had the potential to arise. Subsequently, this practice changed their’ drop off ‘ approach for operations to a dedicated pre-op appointment with a RVN. This provides the opportunity for the client to raise questions ahead of the operation as well as written discharge information that is provided at the same time. Altogether, this change ensures that clients have the chance to understand the importance of post op instruction and prepurchase post op food and a medical pet shirt.

Communication issues also revealed concerns regarding the signing of consent forms, and in particular, clients failing to notice handwritten estimates that featured on the side of the form. A complaint arose as a client felt that costs had not been formally communicated or discussed. As a result, the practice redesigned their consent forms to ensure that estimates are properly formalised, making sure that clients and the practices have a clear understanding surrounding what has been agreed.

To find out more about strategies that can be used to turn complaints into the groundwork for effective continuous improvement, feel free to contact the team at the VCMS today on 0345 040 5834 or via enquiries@vetmediation.co.uk.

June 24th 2022

When the Approach to Complaining Can Be Damaging

In today’s blog we look at the importance, as a client, of complaining the right way and the troubling impact aggression or high emotions can have.
June 24th 2022

SPVG World Congress Report

Last month, Head of the VCMS Jennie Jones and VCMS Resolution Manager Janet Hulse attended Europe’s largest non-clinical veterinary SPVS-VMG Congress 2022. In today’s blog we share their experiences at the event.
June 6th 2022

The Queen and Corgis

To celebrate the Royal Jubilee, in our latest blog we look at the Queen’s favourite dog breed - the corgi and how they became associated with the longest reigning British monarch.