Veterinarians’ reputations are largely based on their bedside manner.
In fact, it’s been shown that those with a more courteous bedside manner have higher satisfaction scores, a lower chance of being sued, and fewer claims overall.
Therefore, it’s worth noting a few ways to improve your skills so you can become one of the vets every pet owner enjoys meeting.
This might seem like a very small detail, but it matters. Show your clients proper respect by introducing yourself when you meet them. You would not walk up to someone on the street and begin a conversation without a proper introduction. Another excellent way to ensure clients know your name, as well as the other team members at your practice, is by framing photos with names and placing them in the waiting room. This can also make your facility more welcoming.
Sit Down with Your Client
Another small thing you can do to provide better bedside manner is sit down to speak with your client rather than standing throughout your conversation. A study shows that health care professionals who sit down during an appointment are perceived as having spent more time with a patient, even if the time was the exact same as they would have spent standing. If you have trouble making this a habit, place a stool in each room so you are reminded to sit down to chat.
Explain Your Role and Responsibilities
Whether you are going to be handling major care for a pet or will only handle a small part of their care, clients are more relaxed and certain when they know what is happening. If you will be seeing the client multiple times and are in charge of care, let them know that and explain how you will follow up after their pet is released. If you are only there for a specific consultation, let them know that. That keeps them from having the expectation of seeing you again.
Consider Your Body Language
Being aware of how your body language can alter the way your message is received is important for everyone. Small acts like fiddling with a pen, tapping your fingers, or crossing your arms comes across as defense or impatient. On the other hand, making eye contact, using open body language, and sitting up straight shows interest in what the client is saying to you.
Offer Reassurance and Show Empathy for the Client
Even if you are taking care of something routine for you, for the client, it may be a stressful situation. That’s why you need to take time to answer questions, observe the reaction of the client, and offer clarification when needed. When combined with the other tips above, this can go a long way toward a better bedside manner.