Webinar Wednesday Replay: Wendy Myers

Wendy Myers's Webinar Wednesday With GeniusVets

 


 

 

Hello, everyone, and welcome back to another Webinar Wednesday brought to you by GeniusVets. I'm your host, David Hall, and today I am just ecstatic to be bringing you a fantastic guest, Wendy Myers. Wendy Myers has been training veterinary teams for more than 20 years as owner of Communication Solutions for Veterinarians. She helps teams improve their telephone and communication skills, so more pet owners say yes to medical care. Wendy shares her expertise through conferences, online courses, and live monthly CE credit webinars. She's a journalist and author of five books and for five years, Wendy was a partner in an AAHA-accredited specialty and emergency hospital. Her passion is to help practices like yours thrive and grow through effective communication skills. There is absolutely no better staff training resource in the veterinary industry than our esteem guest. Welcome, and thank you so much for joining us, Wendy Myers.

 

Something we always like to start out asking guests is can you give us a little insight, a little perspective into your own personal morning routines or health habits, organizational discipline approaches, tools that you use that help you get so much done.

Yeah. I do think you have to be a successful business owner. You have to have laser focus and have that consistency and routine to your day. So, I'll tell you how I started this morning. Very first thing I do obviously is get up and feed the two hungry cats. You'll see Caymus behind me. We have who is our gorgeous black cat with emerald eyes and then Alex, a little green, white Tabby little brother. And so first thing is, is get the boys fed. I drink a giant glass of water, first thing every morning, put on my workout clothes and then head out for a couple of mile brisk walk. We had a nice cool morning here in Colorado this morning, and I actually got to see six deer on my walk this morning. So it was a nice little... In addition, all the people you see walking with their dogs and I got to see a little bit of wildlife this morning. And they had all the velvet on their antlers and just absolutely majestic creatures.

But I'm a big believer in you have to have both mental and physical stimulation first thing in the morning. So my physical part is going for that brisk walk for several miles every morning. It's kind of quiet me time as well. But the mental part of that is I'm addicted to Audible from Amazon and constantly listen to audio books on my morning walks. I tend to... When I read a book I like to read for pleasure, but when I'm first thing starting my morning, I listen to audio books that are business-focused. And right now I'm listening to Donald Miller's "Marketing Made Simple", and he's just a brilliant guy when it comes to marketing and telling your story and really connecting with customers.

I've used a lot of his techniques in my business as well. That's kind of... I start that that day and it's really consistent whether it's a weekend or a Monday morning, with that both mental and physical stimulation.

I'd love to change direction a little bit...right now, veterinary hospitals are overwhelmed with phone calls during these reopening phases. How can hospital owners and managers actually reduce call volume?

 

I'm going to share my screen because I've got a couple of very specific scripted examples that your team can embrace. And so when we look at the phone call volume, I feel like we all can relate to this photograph, because this is the hot mess that's the reality for a lot of practices today. So let me share with you what the numbers are. So typically a client service representative at your practice answers and this is pre-COVID, 600 phone calls a week. That's a lot. Then you add in some practices that are still on curbside care versus allowing people back into the building.

We have seen an increase literally of 300 more calls daily, for practices because not only are they calling to make appointments and to get prescription refills, or if they have a question about medication administration, or they have a sick pet or emergency, but then we get the curbside care where they pull into the parking lot and they phone us to let us know that they've arrived. And if you see six appointments at 10 o'clock in the morning, that's six more phone calls and then again at 10:20 and again at 10:40 and then again at 11:00. You're literally probably adding 20% more call volume just from the people that are writing for curbside care or medication pickup that's curbside. So it's gotten too to where practices just can't handle the volume.

I'll give you a good example. I called the clinic yesterday, who had emailed me a question and it was going to be faster just to talk through it. So I called the hospital manager and the phone rang and rang and rang and rang and then rolled into voicemail and I thought, "Oh, gee. What an awful customer experience." You've really got to look at how can you... You still have to answer the phone, you're still going to get calls, but how can you on-purpose divert many of those calls to other ways of communication?

I am a raving fan of texting and I think it's a very powerful technology tool. It's part of our everyday lives as consumers. I got a text this morning from my dentist because I got an appointment coming up next week for a dental cleaning. I got a confirmation by text. There's no reason to have that be a phone call anymore. I think that what you have to do is really look at your business. How can you shift what used to be phone calls into text communication? It is, by the way, the preferred communication method, not only for millennials who are the largest pet-owning segment right now and I'm madly in love with millennials, they spend more on veterinary care than any other generation has, but baby boomers, Gen Xers. I'm in the gen X group, we're all heavy textures.

And so I want to share with you just a couple of quick tips from a most recent online course that I did called" The 10 Best Receptionist Tips Ever". This is one of the COVID pieces, given our massive call volume right now, that I put in as some solutions.

So I always tell practices when you're looking for a text provider to actually talk to your practice management software provider first. Because if you have, for example, AVImark or ImproMed which are among the top three softwares, that's from Covetrus and they actually have what's called rapport client communications. And it actually integrates inside the software. So everything is neat and tidy and there's not duplication in your medical record keeping.

If you have Cornerstone, which is from IDEXX, they have their pet health network pro and it does certainly automated texting what you can do direct texting. So you can actually text the client, "Alex is awake, surgery went great. We'll see you at four o'clock for his discharge appointment." That completely eliminates the phone calls. If your software doesn't have texting capabilities, there are some really great third party providers that have web-based systems that literally you can put an app on your desktop and it will ping and alert you when there's an incoming text from a client...

It really helps you improve your multitasking. So I want to share just a couple of the... This is my top list of calls to shift to text. Number one, landslide by far is prescription refill calls because a typical clinic gets literally 50 or more refill calls every day. And so what I want you to do is actually go into your practice management software and turn on refill reminders and for any drug that's going to need to be refilled. So flea, tick, heartworm prevention, skin medications, all different kinds of things. I have a graphic here for you to show you an example of a prescription tax and how you're going to shift that to not have that phone call happen.

So this text is effective because first of all, it's used Max's name to personalize the message. It's also said what the medication is that needs to be refilled and here it's a flea and tick product. And then you'll see here, "Click here to refill through our online store or reply why to refill and get curbside pickup at the hospital." I don't have to talk to anybody and it's a huge time saver for the front desk staff.

I also will tell you that then they can take this text request if the client replies why, and go ahead and forward that to the pharmacy technician who can start that process going. Or if it goes to the online store, there's actually nothing that our staff needs to do and that's going to be a drastic time-saver. That's right there is 50 phone calls a day. I think that's really key to that. The other piece that I would share with you is the curbside arrival. We talked about this.

Many practices have like a big vinyl banner sign out front that instructs clients to call them when they arrive. I'm going to tell you, just put up a new sign and instead of call us when you arrive, text us when you arrive. Then I instruct them to text us their name, their pet's name. Then literally, I can type so much faster than, than taking a phone call and then I can reply to let them know, "Great. We've got you checked in. Next you're going to get a text when the nursing team is ready to bring your pet into the hospital."

I do also advise that the nurse gets the history over the phone. I don't want you to go outside and take a history in the parking lot. Because then if the client's not wearing a mask, we are going to have to be really careful with distancing. And what if it's pouring rain, you don't want to stand out there in the pouring rain and try and get a history on a patient. So I do that verbally over the phone. Plus then you can be on a computer and be typing all those notes in the medical record and then literally when you go out to the parking lot to get the pet, I just ask the client, what vehicle they're driving and where's the pet located.

If the client says, "My dog is in the backseat behind me on the driver's side." I say, "Great, I'll just open the door. You don't need to get out or do anything. I'll just fluffy in and we'll get things going." So I think this eliminates those by phone calls at the top of every hour or at the bottom of every hour that you're going to get when people have arrived for curbside care.

I have found, even though many states are allowing clients back into the practices, a lot of veterinarians have said, "You know what, let's kind of give this a one or two month cushion and continue curbside care just until we can get more efficiencies in place and also make sure we're protecting our employees and keeping them safe."

 

And one of the things that these systems should be doing, and it's a great question to ask is, do they allow you for automation in those conversations?

Yeah. And ideally I would have you make a list of what do you want, what are all the qualities you want in a perfect text provider and then look to see who meets that criteria for you? That's I think really the best. Then let me share one last tip with you on phone volume. I also want to drive scheduling calls into text, and here's an example. So typically one veterinarian, and many people that are probably listening today and watching are in multi-doctor practices. So just one veterinarian sees about 30 patients a day. The average healthcare scheduling telephone call takes eight minutes. So, I want you just to look for one doctor that is four hours of call time, and that's half of a client service representative's workday. So if I can shift those and I've given you a sample text message here.

So I would have you send your checkup reminders as text messages and I also want you to set expectations and I'll talk about the second sentence I have in this text here, is clients need to be aware that they're going to have probably a little bit different phone experience than when they called you a year ago because of the increased call volume with COVID. So here, I'm going to tell the client that their pet's coming due October 15, we are experiencing an increased appointment request, book now. So I'm really encouraging clinics to embrace forward booking, book now to get your first choice of time, day and doctor. Click here to book online.

I really want that to be the first choice and again, a lot of companies that can do your website, like GeniusVets can build those online scheduling tools into your website, and now I've completely eliminated the need for that phone call. The other thing I like about it because I've used it, myself is I got an email reminder for my cat Caymus and this was a pre-COVID. I was traveling for work. I was in California doing some dinner seminars and by the time I got back to the hotel and settled and checked an email final time for it, I called it a night, it was 10 o'clock at night, and my vet is not open at 10 o'clock at night. So I couldn't have called to make an appointment. But in the email reminder, they had a link for me to click and request an appointment online.

I then put in three different appointment choices, reason for visit, which cat I wanted to schedule and closed my computer, went to bed. The next morning when I got up, I already had an email waiting for me confirming one of my three choices. Here's the best part, I didn't have to give up eight minutes of my life to make an appointment for my cat. Think about the efficiency, for the team, because literally they got back that eight minutes as well.

And it's people of all generations. I mean, we know that heavy texters are millennials and gen X and baby boomers, but I'm going to tell you, people of all generations have embraced technology. My parents are in their mid 70s and I probably actually text with them more than FaceTime. They're 600 miles away in another state and we communicate probably on a daily basis via tax. I had got a morning text from my mom this morning. My dad had a telemedicine visit with his physician and they just pulled out the iPad and they're all in.

They like not having to get in the car and drive for 30 minutes to get to the doctor and then sit there and wait, and then have 30 minutes home just to flip up in the iPad and see and talk to the doctor and then move on with the rest of their day. I mean, I really do think that when you look at texting and email and telemedicine, really veterinary practices need to embrace that, bear hug embrace it, because it's going to give us so much more efficiencies and actually increase our capacity for the number of patients that we can see on a daily basis.

 

We also have a ton of new pet owners because of the adoptions that have happened, which has been the brightest spot of COVID-It's just a wonderful thing. So veterinary businesses are up, and there's this backlog of appointments, most clinics are facing a three-month backlog of preventive checkups and electric procedures. What strategies would you say they can use to clear that backlog and transition to a more normal schedule moving forward?

Absolutely. So I'm going to tell you, it's going to stay this way well into fall, unless you do this and I'm going to share my screen again, David, because I want to give you some very specific tips on how to clear that backlog. So when I look at the three-month backlog, because many of us as essential businesses could not see checkups or elective procedures in March, April, and May when most States were on the heaviest of restrictions and now as we're in that reopening phase and practices are able to actually see elective procedures and checkups.

I'm going to tell you, you actually need to be booking, forward booking two months ahead. This is actually some tips from my newest course on the 10 Best Receptionist Tips Ever. So I want to just paint a little picture for you of what is the backlog. So typically what we're seeing here is in a two doctor practice, which AVMA says, that's the average practice size. You typically see about 300 checkups every month. So if you look at that March, April, may period, when we couldn't see any of those types of patient visits, that's now a 900 pet backlog. We're also right now, kind of in our busy summer transitioning into fall months when we do see more ear infections, more skin issues. So sick patient volume is typically higher in summer months and you then pile that onto this already, steaming smelly mess of the checkups. The reality is not all 900 of those pets are going to get up to date.

Typically, most practices achieve about 70% or higher compliance for checkout visits, but here's what the numbers would be for that backlog and this would be at that 70% compliance. In that practice, they need to see 154 patients a week just for checkups. Plus you're sick emergency and everything else. So that means per doctor, that veterinary needs to see 14 checkups each weekday, so Monday through Friday. Seven checkups on a Saturday, because most of us just have a half day of operation on a Saturday plus all of the stinky pile on from the other patients.

So I'm going to tell you, because a lot of practices typically send reminders one month ahead. I need you to add another month to that and I literally want you to send in September patient reminders that are going to be coming up for November. So six to eight weeks out. I find that a lot of the practices I've been talking with right now are so overwhelmed with appointment requests that they maybe not even have an appointment available in until six weeks from today. And so knowing that you're booking that far ahead, you need to back up your reminders. Here's an example and again, I'm creating the expectation.

We're experiencing increased appointment requests. Book now, even though October 15 seems like forever away from here, they need to book now and I've used benefit statements here to ensure your first choice of time, day and doctor. I do want you to have these as electronic notices. I think this is really key. These are the response rates. So texting you can see has the highest performance. So the research shows 99% open rate on texting and typically 95% of those messages are read within three minutes of receipt.

So you also want to make sure that you're sending most of those texts notices during your business hours. So should the client actually want to call your open and can respond to that or you can respond to that text as well. The second highest is app notices, if you have an app for your practice and clients can request refills or appointments through the app. That has a 53% open rate. Email healthcare emails specifically. So industry-specific healthcare emails have a 33% open rate. And then postcards are dead last. I actually am telling clinics to stop sending postcards. The research is it's 9% response rate and it's crazy expensive.

Practices are spending tens of thousands of dollars a year on postcards and a lot of these electronic notices, all generations are going to be more responsive to and I feel like for that 90 year old client with two cats, you just pick up the phone and call her. You don't send her a postcard either. Because, you start this multi-step process with the postcard. You have to pay to mail it to her. She has to call you, have an eight minute phone call and all of that could be eliminated, just for the one client because you can in your software set communication preferences, just flag her as a phone call client because you're going to quit doing postcards. And you call her to make that appointment and have a conversation.

 

What should the client service team tell callers if they can't get an appointment right away, because this backlog is there and the business is very busy. How do they deal with that situation?

I do see again, many practices are booking two to six weeks out during reopening phases. The worst thing you could tell a client is we can't see your pet because that's just saying, "Go somewhere else."

I know Dr. Michelle with the Drake Veterinary Center has seen a huge new client volume because they make themselves available to clients. You have to make care happen. So, what I want to do is really have you focus on what you can do for that client. Don't tell them, "We can't see your pet." Forward booking will fix that checkup issue. I also want you to be thinking about doing forward booking of procedures as well. And let me just share a couple of examples, with you as well here, because what I want to do is make sure that you're always taking a positive approach, even when it's a negative situation.

So, the key message I want you to remember here is focus on what you can do. So let's say I call to make a checkup appointment for my cat, Alex and you're booking weeks out. Don't tell me you can't see Alex until three weeks. Because that's going to be a negative perception of your business for me as the client. I want you to use the phrase, next available. I kind of explained a little bit behind the reason why, so here you'll see the second sentence in my script, is we are experiencing increased appointment request as reopening phases begin.

My next available checkup is, and then I use what I call as the yes or yes, technique and I share two appointment choices with that client, "We can see you August 31st or September 4th, which do you prefer?" You'll also notice in my yes or yes technique here that one appointment is in the morning and on a Monday, the other is on a Friday in the afternoon.

So I picked different days of the week and different times of day as my yes or yes, choice. I also want you to be leading the client to appointments, not just asking them, when do you want to come in? Because if they are controlling the schedule and they're telling you when they want to come in, you might end up with four or five sick patient appointments right in a row and then your schedule is just a mess.

So you need to be guiding them to times that will work well for your flow and I teach in my course on how to improve appointment scheduling, how to really lead that scheduling call and how scheduling is both an art and science. And you have to structure things in specific ways.

The other type of appointment, so next available is the key tip there. But the other thing I want you to do is also forward-book elective procedures. So this is my gorgeous kitty cat, Alex here. So let's say that he's at his 16-week kitten visit today. He's four months old, we're going to neuter him when he's six months old. I actually today at milestone four month visit would go ahead and pre-schedule, forward-book that six month visit. I do want you to let clients know two important things. We're experiencing increased surgery requests, because a lot of people are just over full on surgeries, as well as dental procedures.

For the dental procedure, I would actually have the client book today on the day of diagnosis. Because, it might be three weeks away before we can get them in the schedule. I also, and you'll see, I put this key phrase here in red, I want you to use benefit statements because really every client is tuned into what I call is WIFM, what's in it for me. And I'm going to explain to them in order to get your first choice, let's go ahead and book, I know two months seems like a long time from now, but let's go ahead and get you your first choice of day in doctor for that surgery and then I'm literally going to book it today two months out.

 

What are your favorite texting hacks that hospitals should be embracing?

First of all, texting is probably my number one favorite, but I'm going to tell you give equal love to telemedicine and some of the other technology, I actually have done several COVID-themed webinars for different distributor and pharmaceutical companies lately. I told them that the key is, you have to be able to react quickly. Running a veterinary clinic during a pandemic, did not come with a manual and we're all kind of figuring it out on our own and quite creatively.

When I created those courses, I actually called two of my clients who I've had longterm relationships with. They're both in new Orleans. The insight that I got from them has some unique criteria. So, Dr. Gary Levy owns Lake View Veterinary Hospital in New Orleans. He is a lifelong born and raised there, resident of that beautiful crescent city. He said, "You know what." He said, "We figured this out really quick because Katrina taught us how to do it." Right. Because, literally his entire practice was washed away in Katrina and they had to figure out how to have cloud-based medical records and reconnect with clients because clients, you couldn't mail postcard to anymore either because of all of the homes that were damaged and literally people that fled and left the state. So he said, "We were really quick when we got news of COVID to make sure that we set up and then we had very strong texting services." He said, we were quick to embrace telemedicine. In fact, Dr. Levy said, "We'll be sitting in my office and a telemedicine request will come in." And his millennial associate veterinarians are grabbing it before he can get to it. So I think the key is you have to be able to react quickly and pivot, and really technology can get you back your sanity.

So let me share with you some of those texting hacks, but the keys I want you to be... Don't be afraid of technology. There are people and resources that can teach you how to do it and I think it's kind of like once you start doing it, you're going to be like, "Gosh, how did we ever do business without this resource before?" So let me share with you a couple of my favorite texting hacks to really not only give you that sanity back, but to help boost your revenue and really prescription refills is hands down my number one. I actually have a course called how to turn time, second calls into test and I go through 15 different texting hacks. My number one in that course is the prescription refills.

So again, if we go back to the 50 calls a day for medication refills, average of eight minutes a call that's just shy of seven hours of call time. So I literally want you to turn that eight minute phone call into a 32nd text exchange. And a lot of the clinics that have embraced this have really testimonials of... Their call volume dropped by as much as 40% and gosh, wouldn't we all love that? Especially right now. So I'd like to send refill reminders a month ahead. So the reason I do it a month ahead is if the client does choose home delivery, there is plenty of time to get that order filled through your distributor, your online store provider, and have it be in their mailbox before they actually need it.

I also want you to encourage clients for those longterm medications, whether it's flea, tick or heartworm or phenobarbital, insulin, whatever those longterm medications are, just set them up on auto-shipment. Now for a heartworm preventative, if they buy six months supply today, there would be one refill available because then at the end of that 12 month period, that dog would be due for his heartworm test and also renewal of the prescription and a physical exam.

So you can auto-ship until there is now a professional service or appointment that needs to happen. So again here, you'll see click here to refill through our online store or apply why to get curbside pickup. I don't have a calming option actually in this refill reminder because I don't want them to call me. I want them to either text me or to get it through the store. Either way the practice is able to keep that business. With your online store, they also still get all of the rebates and free doses that are eligible through those veterinary exclusive pharmaceutical company promotions. So I think that's a great way to do it.

I was going to say, I really love that you mentioned, you quickly mentioned the concept of the practices implementing their own subscription program and where you're going to have something like a preventive regular dose, that's going to be doled out that they, having a client sign up for a subscription type monthly billing, monthly automatic shipment can really generate nice monthly recurring revenue for a practice and make the whole delivery so, so easy.

And the number one thing besides preventatives that I encourage you to set up on those subscriptions or auto-ship programs, equally important is your food. So food takes up a huge footprint in your veterinary clinic. And when I look at food, I think it's key because let's say that I have a 400 square feet food room. The markup on food is very low. It's in the 30%. I think their average market on food is 37%.

So it's not a high profit item for my clinic, and yet it takes up a big footprint. So I would encourage you, in fact, there's practices in Washington State that have done this. They only carry the starter bag or a week's worth of cans for that diet and they send the client home, "Here's your starter bag for that new food. Let's go ahead right now and have you created an account in our online store? We're going to ship your first order to you today in the next three to five days, it'll be on your front porch and then based upon your pets wait, I calculate that you're going to need this food every six weeks.

So let's go ahead and set that up for a five-week refill interval. So you'll never run out. You always have the and then right then you've got the next one already coming. And so now I've taken what was a 400 square foot food room, shrunk it in half and now 200 feet is for the food room. What am I going to do with an extra 200 square foot area? I'm going to add an exam room, because every practice I've ever been to said, "I would love to have another exam room." Because, they just don't have enough.

When we look at an exam room, it typically produces... This is research from veterinary architects, over $1,000 a square foot in medical income. So you can just see the income here of what that's going to drive in the practice, over 100,000 annually and we need the space for medical care. So food yeah, I think is another great resource. Then let me share with you a couple of the other great texting hacks that I love. So we just talked about prescription refill. The next one is phone tag, because we know our phones are just this overwhelming call volume right now.

So, the research shows 60% of businesses play phone tag. And so let's say that you're the doctor and you get lab results in and there's some abnormal things and you need to have a discussion with the client. You call leave a voicemail, goes, you leave a detailed message and then this is the reality. Client calls you write back and tells the client care team member, "Oh, somebody from your hospital just called me." I kind of giggle when they say that. And well, I would love to say, but I never would. I would love to say, "Could you please hold while I go check with the 30 people who work here, to see all of you."

Because 19% of millennials don't ever check their voicemail or maybe you can't leave a message, because the voicemail box is full. So I always tell anybody that if you're going to leave a client a voicemail message, then immediately go over to your text platform and send a text that you've left a voicemail. Here's what that would look like. So Dr. Smith left you a voicemail about Max's lab results. So I put in the specific reason for the call, please listen. In fact, I wish I could do the fireworks, with the texts there. Please listen and then call and then I also put in here how late Dr. Smith is at the practice. Because I want to make sure that they have a best chance to catch each other and get back up to date as well. So phone tag is a huge source of frustration, especially for the medical team.

Then the last text hack I will give you relates to payment. Because for those clinics that are on curbside care, many of them are taking credit cards manually over the telephone. Your merchant provider is also adding on an upcharge for those manually-processed credit cards, because there is a higher fraud risk with that. So let's say just as an example, let's say you pay three percent on Visa and MasterCard. Your merchant provider typically has a two percent upcharge for a manually-run card. So now you're actually paying five percent on your Visa and MasterCards and I'll give you an example. I talked with a veterinarian in Indiana who has a four doctor practice and he was literally paying over $1,500 a month extra just in that two percent upcharge by manually having his client care team run credit cards.

So I do want you to look at text via payment as a great hack to save you literally thousands of dollars a month. Not only is it going to take away that extra two percent upcharge, but you're also limiting then employee interaction. So there's no more front desk checkout, literally they check out on their phone. I would encourage you to talk to your software providers, because many of them do have integrated payment solutions and then the other third party providers I would suggest to you, are PayJunction. I'll give you an example of PayJunction. A few weeks ago and it was my first business trip in months and it was so delightful. I actually went and did some training at a hospital in Detroit and they use ezyVet software and then they use PayJunction, which you see listed here as their merchant provider and with ezyVet software and PayJunction, it actually securely stores credit card in the client's medical record. The staff only sees the last four digits of the card and they're still in curbside care, they're in Detroit.

And so when the client care team would call the client to go over the invoice over the phone and set any progress exams or next steps they would say, "I see that the last time you visited us, you used a visa ending in 4634. Would you like to use that same card today?" And 99.9% of clients are saying yes. Then boom, we've got a secure transaction. We're not paying the higher fee. It's quick and taken care of and then the receipt is emailed. The other two third party providers are OpenEdge and gravity payments. I think those can be a really smart way to not only eliminate that upcharge, but also reduce your call time because then you're not having to take a credit card over the phone, wait for a receipt to print and then run it back out to the client. Those bring really strong efficiencies.

 

What are some tips that you can give to really bring back some of that quality care, to help solidify those experiences and ensure long-term clients?

Right. I do find that a lot of practices, these days, clients are not getting the experience that they used to. Because, of this overwhelming volume. We've kind of lost a little bit of our manners, unfortunately. Let me put it in a really easy to understand way. So let's say that you're the doctor and you really take pride in the quality of medicine that you practice at your hospital. I want you to visualize a scale that's in balance. And if your quality of medicine is really high, the quality of your client service has to be equal. It has to be a scale and balance because if you're the biggest, awesome rock star doctor and super high quality medicine, but your client service is down here, people will actually leave your practice because a negative service experience. They have to be equal.

So does your service match your medicine? I think that, that's a key factor and you have to constantly be monitoring your client experiences. I love for the manager to listen to recorded calls and coach the team. You need to also provide ongoing training. So, for our doctors and veterinary nurses, many of them have CE requirements they have to meet. I'm going to tell you, I want you to hold your client care team to that same level, even though it's not required that they have licensing or CE credit.

What I always do is I want you to require your client care team to get a certain number of hours of education every year. Online learning I think is the slam dunk best way to do that because, they can watch an online course if they have 15 minutes available, on a break and then go back to work and then they can just pick right back up where they left off, or if they wanted to watch it at home in their PJs, in the evening, the great thing about online courses is they're available 24 seven. With my courses at Communication Solutions for Veterinarians, I have the whole team enrolled. So it's not just CE per person, the whole hospital team gets access and every course is an hour.

It includes unlimited playback, a handout available for download. I'm a big script and links and resources person, online testing. So, they're all RACE approved and then your CE certificate. I want to share with you David, probably the number one solution right now for people with that pain point with the front desk team. Because I find too, I actually got an email from a pharmaceutical sales rep this morning and she's like, "I have a clinic that's in a panic. They've got three new receptionists who've never worked in the veterinary field and they don't have time to train them. Do you have a resource?"

So let me share with you an example of what I want you to be doing with your team. First of all, we need to go from this chaos back into calm and the way to do that is with a lot of the strategies we've discussed today, but you also have to invest in the learning of your client care team. So I want to share a tip with you from my package. It's six one hour courses on jumpstart your new receptionist. What I like for you to do is give them the foundation skills. So everything from 10 phone skills, every receptionist should know which covers the greeting, how to place a caller on hold, how to screen calls before taking a message or putting them into voicemail, how to lead that scheduling call, how to do the yes or yes technique. How to turn that phone shopper into a new client, because a new client that lifetime value of that puppy to the practice is over $15,000.

So that's a $15,000 phone call coming into the practice. So I've kind of picked out six really strong courses, not only in telephone skills, but in scheduling efficiency. Then obviously in new client recruitment and growing the practice. It also includes an onboarding checklist of what should that new hire be learning her first six weeks of employment. So I want to share a tip with you from that collection of the training package. I like for practices to really rethink their phone greeting, because it's all about the phone experience.

A caller will actually get an impression of your business in the first seven seconds. That's essentially how you answer the phone. I want you to not answer your telephone the way every other veterinary practice in town does, or the accountant or dentist down the street, you need to be different. So a good greeting should actually include a salutation, the full name of the hospital, no matter how long it is, because that's part of your branding, your name, because I do want the clients to know the receptionist names as well as they do the doctor's name, because we are in a relationship business.

We celebrate and get puppy kisses and celebrate in that new family member and human animal bond. We cry with them when it's time to say goodbye. I do want you to really have that first name, personal relationship with your clients. So this is from the course and I'll talk briefly about what I teach when I teach a greeting. I don't want you to say thank you for calling, because that's four words and that's a lot to get out. Good morning or good afternoon is problematic because you're having crazy days right now.

You may have worked through lunch and it's two o'clock and you answer the phone, good morning. The caller has a sick pet. They now have zero confidence in you that you can help because you didn't even know what time of day it is. So I actually teach practices to say, welcome too. Because you're inviting people into a conversation, then the name of the hospital, their name, and then instead of the boring, typical what everybody else says of, "How can I help you?" "How can I help your pet today?" Because their pet really is the reason for the call and I want to put the emphasis on them. I actually had a practice, they started doing this, a veterinarian in St. Louis. And she said, we actually had clients say, "Wow, that's awesome." So it kind of catches people off guard and they are already set up for the expectation that they're going to have an amazing service experience.

And then the last tip I'll share with you from that six course package is from the scheduling module. And this is my favorite scheduling hack. Is I want you to think about making a sandwich when you create the schedule. And this is part of the flow of how the exams are going to go. So here we have this super yummy, juicy double hamburger and you'll see we've got bread tomato, then there's the hamburger, lettuce, another tomato, bacon. I love bacon. There's some cheese dripping down there. And then there's a slice of bread on the bottom.

I want you to think of the bread as what holds the sandwich together and I actually call my preventive checkups the bread that holds it together. Because if you look at this sandwich and you would take the bottom slice of bread and put it on top and then try and pick it up and take a bite, it would all fall on your lap and you'd have a mess.

So what I want you to do is use checkup visits as the bread that creates structure to your schedule. And here's what that looks like. I do love for you to color code your appointment book. What I do is I aim for the pattern of preventive care, sick preventive care. So there's your sandwich. Here you'll see, in my sample schedule, I use green for preventative care, yellow for sick patient and you'll see I've got a sandwich that I've made. So visually I can see how my day is going to flow. And then I literally use a different color for every appointment type. So I'd have a different color for attended euthanasia for progress exams, for urgent care slots. That really helps you do the best job with keeping that day on track to the best of your ability, especially given what's happening with all of our schedules right now.

And then let me give you just another bonus, because checkups are that bread that keeps things stacked and together. The other thing that I always do David, is I always put a checkup as the very first of the day, because then the doctor eases right into the flow of their day. I also do a checkup as the first appointment after lunch. So it's kind of hitting the reset button and you're back on track for the rest of the day. I have a whole hour that I do on scheduling in that training package. Again, it's called Jumpstart Your New Receptionist, but it is team enrollment. So everybody in your hospital gets access to the training. And that's important because, it's not just about the new hire. You probably have an employee who's worked for you for 15 years, who was never really efficiently trained 15 years ago and could use some refresher.

Then you also probably have some of your veterinary assistants and nurses who serve as backup on the phone or help sometimes, when you've got a line at the front desk, they help clear the line. And I want clients to have that same service experience, whether it's from the client care team or even from a manager who jumps in to help with that wave of calls. So the training package, you can view all of the details and enroll at shop.csvets.com. There's also some additional savings you get for buying the block of training. Then the nice bonus is it gives you that six week onboarding checklist of what do they do day one and what do they do day 20, so that you can really set them up for success as a longterm employee. This is particularly important because in veterinary medicine, that front desk position has a 26% turnover rate. We've got to do a much better job of not only hiring people, but then honestly keeping people and you do that through setting expectations from the beginning and really giving them the tools to be successful in the job.

David Hall: It so significantly changes the culture of a business and the cohesiveness of a team when everyone understands their expectations, but the entire flow and unified messaging and comfortable with what everybody else has positions are, what they do and enough to be able to step in, especially for those lower level positions in the hospital that are stepping in for the doctor to do the doctor things, but everybody should be able to pick up the phone and stay, deliver the same quality of care. I love what you spoke about. I mean, this package is anybody who's attending this right now as a hospital owner, a practice manager, if you haven't already been through this course, I mean, this is exactly... You should be pulling out the credit card right now, going there and signing up.

And it's really easy. Just shop.csvets.com and I have over 100 hours of other courses. But I feel like with everybody's pain point right now around COVID and reopening phases, and we're just overwhelmed this really arms your team with the core skills that they need. And remember that your client care team is usually the first as well as the last person that clients interact with in your practice. I really want... It's the first impression and the last impression which really drives client loyalty as well as referrals. I think we really need to do a better job of lifting up the client care team and giving them the tools to be really highly successful in their job.

In all of my classes in the handout, the last page is the facilitator's guide and it literally has you go through three or four questions to implement the training. The last course that I did last month, I actually had one of my raving fans, a veterinarian, who her team is in almost every monthly class, because they love to do the live sessions as a staff meeting. And then they get ongoing training, through the recorded course, but she immediately emailed me, five minutes after the webinar and then she's like, "Okay, here's our three things. We're getting going." I was so excited that she had that tool and resource to immediately implement the training.

From what we covered today, I would definitely put on your top three things, to start sending reminders six to eight weeks out. Because if you don't, this overloaded schedule is going to continue till Christmas and you want to clear the deck. So, immediately start embracing some of these strategies so that you can get back a little bit of that sanity and control to your work life, because let's be honest, we spend more time working and with our work family than we do with our personal family. And I want to make sure that those are productive, efficient and enjoyable hours of our day.

 

We'd love to know a little bit more about you personally, and the way here on Webinar Wednesdays that we get to know people just a little bit better, is I've got this silly book here with 3000 Would you rather questions. They're random odd, but what we'll do is play a little game I'll flip through randomly choose a question and ask you to find out what you would rather. Would you rather a tour a wax museum or an observatory?

Oh, definitely an observatory. I feel like wax museum is boring and lifeless and not a lot of excitement. I want things that are going to... Again, we started our conversation today with mental stimulation. I want something that's going to challenge me to think.

 

Would you rather dine with your favorite celebrities or have dinner with a group of the smartest people in the world?

Oh, easy choice, smartest people in the world. We all have enough Kim Kardashians in our lives. I don't need to hear or see anymore. I want to know for those true change makers, where do they see our future? What should we be embracing in our businesses now? How are we going to change in the ways that we interact with people? What do you see as is the future? I'll give you kind of a funny example. Amazon's running a bunch of commercials right now about how they're going to get to a zero-carbon in the next few years and how they're going to do that with efficient delivery of goods to our homes. I'm all in for drones flying and dropping my... I got a package coming today. I'd love to have a drone drop it off instead of a petroleum-fueled truck.

 

Would you rather know every human language or be able to talk to animals?

That's a hard one. I'm going to probably pick a different answer than what you expect. I'm gonna pick the human language one, because I think it opens you up to so many more opportunities and conversations with people in different cultures. I think, honestly, my cats are going to say the same thing every day, "Give me more treats."

So, let me give you an example. The very first time that my husband and I went to Italy, we went to Venice and it was our very first morning. We just had this amazing breakfast at the hotel and we were going to go out and do a walking tour and explore Venice. I needed to go to the front desk and exchange some of my US dollars for Euros. There were probably seven people in line in front of me, that were conversing with the front desk manager. And so, your eyes are as big as saucers when you're in a foreign country for the first time and you're taking it all in. I literally heard him speak Italian, French, Dutch before he even got to me. I was in such awe and I complimented him.

I said, "I'm so impressed. I just heard you speak all these different languages." I said, "How many languages..." And then, English with me and I'm like, "How many languages do you know?" And he said, "Well, only seven." And I was just like, "Wow." I feel like an idiot because-We think everybody else has to speak English. So one of my actually is to learn to speak Spanish as well, because I just think it would open up so many more opportunities, not only personally to really have connections with people, but gosh, what if I could offer all my courses and in Spanish?

 

Would you rather always be one hour early or 10 minutes late?

Oh, always an hour early. I am a planner girl. I want to be early. I would rather because then you're in control of the situation. You're not self-inducing stress. I before COVID flew literally every week for business and was speaking at conferences and doing programs for pharmaceutical companies and literally I'm a road warrior, Hilton diamond status, always upgraded first class because you're flying every week. I knew the gate agents by name and I feel like we have to really, make sure that even in this current environment that we're still keeping those connections and it, many of us have gone to two virtual meetings.

I still feel like you have to give people 100% of your attention, even if you're not physically together, because you want those connections and you want the results from that conversation. You don't want it just to be another online meeting. Literally when I do an online meeting, I silence the whole house. I turn off every device. My emails closed because I can actually get on and off that meeting quicker, if I'm 100% laser-focused. I think getting somewhere, if it's an hour early, not only gives you that focus, but then you can decide what you're going to do to enjoy your time. So you have an extra hour, maybe you go in, read a book or you go enjoy a glass of wine before you get on your evening flight to come back home. It's quiet, calming time, not the rush, rush. I'm going to miss my flight.

 

Wonderful. Could you say your website one more time?

Yeah. Shop.csvets.com. Then my website is csvets.com. So you can get, on csvets.com you get all kinds of cool free downloads. You can watch previews of my upcoming training and if you want to join me live that way, you get to ask questions. So, would love to see you online in a future course as well.

Wendy, I look forward to doing more stuff with you in the future. We've got lots of great content to put out. I'm sure we'll find great ways to work together. Everyone who joined today, thank you so much for your time. I hope you got a ton from it. Join us again next week for Webinar Wednesdays, we've just got incredible guests coming every week and remember every single veterinary practice in the country currently right now has a full page featured profile at geniusvets.com, including you. So go check out your full page profile, go to geniusvets.com/start. Look your profile up. There's a video, one minute video that explains it. But check it out. It's free. Claim it. It is a fantastic resource. Wendy, thank you so much, everybody, I hope you got a lot out of it. Have a great day.

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