Managing Expectations

So welcome to the world of several grammatical errors and misspellings. Hopefully we can get past these things and have a good laugh and learn a thing or two. Please feel free to offer up topics in comments or on our facebook page.

-Dr. Trent’s blog.

We live in a world were consumer exceptions are at an all time high. These expectations are demanded without a hint of loyalty. We understand this and while it sucks, for lack of a better term, we are good with it; However, expectation also comes with assumption of a low price, if not for free (only for some); after all, we all love pets in this field, to ask for payment for a service for some people seems greedy. I had a client tell one of my staff member the other day he imagined us all “swimming in giant pool of money”. All I envision is scrooge in his money bin, from the beloved Duck Tales cartoon. So at least we all got a laugh and more fodder for my book (someday); Little does he know we are all still paying student loans! The fun continues… Just last week we had client call and say they were going to be 30 minutes late to an appointment, we said we could accommodate, but couldn’t promise there would not be a wait. They replied “well I guess that will have to work”. Also, last week we got behind because of a slew of emergencies. The wait time was close to an hour, which we agree is too long, but at times we are mercy of what the day gives us. Keep in mind our facility functions as general practice, a surgery suite, an internal medicine office, an ICU, oncology ward, and an ER on given minute, hour, or day. Most people tend to understand this, however, when faced with an hour wait, one client demanded a free appointment from one our doctors even though she was very apologetic from the moment she walked in the door. I wonder what that threshold is for people?!… Expectations again. We were accused of double booking. This, however, doesn’t work in reverse. We have several “No Show” appointments and last minute cancellations. This morning three of our first four appointments “No Showed” and two were confirmed by the owner. When we require a pre-payment from repeat offenders we are again viewed as greedy; I am aware of this because we have been told. This expectation is a very challenging one. It is hard to address this in a “customer is always right” culture. If we are too firm, we risk losing a client and/or risk be chastised or assaulted on social media. Clearly a moving target. I wish I could say these events were isolated to the last few weeks, but it is par for the course. We do get many more positive reviews than negative, but for me, and most of our staff, it makes it even worse. Where is the break down!?! I have many hypotheses, which will be the next post in a few weeks or so. So why does this bother some of us so much?…

I love taking care of animals. It has become a fabric of my being. This started to be ingrained in me long ago, likely when the band Weezer was initially relevant… This moving target of an expectation and lack of respect for human kind is not new. It also comes with consequence. Substance abuse, depression, and higher rate of failed marriages is common in our field. It is well documented that veterinarians have a 3.5 times higher rate of suicide than the general public. I always knew this but it never really sank in until one of my classmates became part of that statistic. The point being, it is very hard to focus on animal care because of the human factor. Please don’t misinterpret what I am saying here. We are fortunate to have a great growing practice, and our clients make all that possible… most of which are exceptional people, but man, the mean and unreasonable ones really stick out. I like the motto “you get more bees with honey” over the “squeaky wheel gets the grease”. So please be NICE to people that care for your pets. After all if we wanted to take the easier road, we would have applied for medical school and make much more money. Did you know there are 170 + medical schools in the US, whereas, there are only 30 veterinary schools. My colleagues and I have definitely taken the road less traveled . We only have the best interest of animals in mind, and that is what keeps us coming in everyday!

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