So it has been some time and since my last post. I would like to take the time to thank all of our clients! As we come to the close of another year, we have battled several challenges. It has been difficult to maintain the growth of our client base and take care of our current clients in a way we feel is acceptable with Kelsy, Leia and me; however, finding a doctor that fits our culture has been very difficult. We appreciate those of you whom have been flexible during this time. It is only because we are very picky whom we let in our practice, and see your pets. Recently, we found one of the most positive, caring, and intelligent veterinarians we have came across in a long time. She has started helping us over the last 2 months and her dedication to patient care is unrivaled. She has came in on her day off to check on patients and their lab results. This is something all three of us have routinely done. And a far cry from previously interviewed doctors more concerned about an adequate lunch break. Growth if difficult and we all know continuity with a certain doctor is very important; however, because we have been so selective with our whole staff (not just doctors) please feel free to have the same trust in our entire doctor staff. I personally trust all of doctors with my own pets! If not, I would not have hired them.
Also, a special thanks to all our loyal clients. In this day in age the meaning of this word appears lost. We live in ever changing world that is very transactional. This is a hard pill to swallow in a field that is traditionally based on relationships. The degree of price shopping and distrust in veterinary medicine is at an all time high, with no signs of stopping. We try to harbor a family relationship with staff and clients (the ones willing anyway). I am not delusional that we will keep every staff member and client…forever, but we will continue to invest in those relationships as much as we can, with willing participants.
Maybe some short stories to tie this all together…
Recently we had a family emergency that did not allow me stay past closing time. The staff knows that when I am working, typically, I am here at least 1-2 hours past close tying up loose ends or seeing the added on last minute appointment (also true with the other doctors here, as that is part of our culture). We had a long term client call to get worked in 15 minutes before close. Normally, that would not be big deal given their status as client, even though they live about 20 minutes from the clinic. Given the circumstances I had to decline. The client did get worked in at another clinic and we fax records for that pet before leaving for the evening. I know we run the risk of losing a client in these circumstances, and with what was personally going on I had made peace with that risk. This is client we have never turned away (except one Sunday), and one I have preformed several emergency and routine surgeries, all with good out comes, on their pets for the last 6 years. I also indulged several valid and invalid concerns accounting for hours of unpaid phone time on my part (again part of our culture). To sum it up, they transferred all the records to another clinic after this. As I do with all long term clients leaving, I call to inquire why and what we can do better. It was a very cordial conversation, though very unsatisfying.
About two years ago, we had someone threaten to go somewhere else because they could not get in with me personally. Basically, they would rather go to a completely different clinic with different doctors and staff than see Dr. Kelsy or Dr. Leia, with no good reason as to why. They did not ask why I was not available, and if they have the front desk would have told them I was recovering for being hit by a pickup while bicycling. I needed to take a few days to recover from my cracked rib and collapsed lung. Now I praise god because I could be dead, as well as my daughter whom was on the back of the bike; but this was also very unsatisfying
Finally, very recently we had internet connectivity issue. This day in age we are extremely dependent on internet for normal function. Of course this literally happened days after switching to voice over internet and a new inventory management system that is dependent on internet. So we were dead in the water. We could not process credit card payments, take phone calls, or even get medication for patients. We were waiting for zombies to appear because if felt like the end of world. Fortunately, our staff is awesome. In a matter of hours we had call forwarding, a hot spot to run phones and credit card processing. At times it allowed us to fill medications also!… Come to find out we had Spectrum working on some issues the previous day, and clearly the tech did not know what they were doing, and closed some “ports” on our router. I don’t really know what that means, other than Armageddon in terms of internet (heard they have some internet down califonie way). After dealing with Spectrum with about dozen phone calls (thanks Zach) we called our own computer guy, whom came out and confirmed it was indeed a Spectrum issue. Finally, they came out and fixed it an assured us we will get reimbursed for the$450 dollar bill from our guy; however, this did not happen. So, this does have point even though it is a long set up…
As you can imagine first thing in the morning was mildly discombobulated, to say the least. Most, all the clients were so great, and very understanding of our situation. One other could not understand the issue, even after explaining several times in several ways, our issues and apologies. They were scheduled for a tech appointment, but demanded seeing a doctor (demanding is not necessary, because we would gladly work them in), and made their way into an exam room unaccompanied leaving us with the only option of seeing their pet now (or calling the police i guess). No mind was given the other clients with actual scheduled appointments waiting. We learned a lot from this situation…1. Most of our clients are awesome and understating (almost..Likely most of them have been through it with spectrum too?!) 2. We have a great staff (duh!) 3. now that we have been through it we have a protocol sheet!! But….Be nice, because we are nice!! I have said it before. And special shot out Spectrum, because not only did you cost me $450 dollars you will not reimburse, but I had to deal with a disgruntled client for a problem you created.
Keep in mind we see easily over 1000 clients a month, and to have such few stories is a great success. I like to discuss the confrontation ones as they make the most impact, and are the most funny to look back on. It is clients and their pets that keep us coming in the next day. Pain free days for those pets in hospice care, preventing diseases in young dogs, treating disease in middle age cats, helping farmers produce a healthy product and support their families, and just providing as many good days as possible for pets and their owners is such a rewarding job. The letters of appreciation, special treats and simple thanks we get go so far, and are just icing on the cake! We are very lucky, Thanks!
PS. There is one South Park reference, if you find it put it in the comment section and we will send you a prize!
Dr. Trent out.