Pets are an important part of the modern-day family. Especially in uncertain times, and when many of us are spending long periods of time at home, many pets have become essential companions, and even like children in the family unit, with all of the emotional attachments this entails. No longer merely ‘the family pet’, our animals have become ‘furbabies’ doted over by their loving ‘pet parents’.
So, just like any parent of a sick child, the pet owners of today are more likely to react emotionally if their pet is grievously ill. This can often manifest in the upset client becoming suspicious or combative, overly critical of everything going on around them. Even if your team are perfectly on-form, courteous and professional to a tee, the smallest detail can change the perception of your business in the eyes of a highly-stressed, emotional client. It can only take one perceived negative during this difficult period for the client to forget all of the good things you have done for them and their pet prior to the current crisis.
There is a famous saying in business: “treat your customer well, and they will tell a few people … treat them badly, and they will tell everyone”. This is true now more than ever with the rise of social media and online reviews. Businesses can be ‘fried alive’ online for the smallest misconceptions and perceived shortcomings. When their reputation is on the line in this way, many vets are understandably anxious about how to proceed, and how their care – given with the best of intentions – might be interpreted by an upset client.
Happily, the solution is simple: have a range of professionally-designed sympathy cards on hand. High-quality and thoughtful sympathy cards allow you to reconnect with the client after a pet’s loss, to offer your support and express you and your team’s heartfelt thoughts for a grieving family. This support is not just a kind gesture, it is also a savvy business move. No matter how they felt the last time they were in your practice, receiving a warm gesture from your practice as they heal can leave a positive memory of you. Our experience shows that giving a client a deeper appreciation of your quality of care after a loss can mean they become a lifelong client, or an active promoter of your business to their friends and family.
We are always happy to discuss how best to manage a client after the loss of a pet, and to offer advice on what processes your team can put in place to effectively provide support. Please contact Michael for a chat.