Let's talk about money part I (Proceedings)
No one likes to talk about $ yet, cost almost always is discussed every day in our practices. Find out how we can become more comfortable talking about $ and HOW our comfort will benefit both the clients and pets that we work with daily.
The money taboo
Money has long been a taboo conversation in society yet, it is so wrapped up in our daily interactions. Money is not simple- it is frequently an emotional charged issue that has numerous and DEEP underlying meanings.Think of your own personal relationship with money- what are your childhood memories of money? What do you associate money with? What does it symbolize to you? Most money behaviors are rooted in their childhood- what was yours?
Money is frequently an issue for relationships (remember 63% of pet owners are married and in a traditional family living arrangement). Money personalities come in all types- there are the worriers and hoarders and the spenders and the avoiders. The financial struggles at home though not discussed in practices will affect the feelings in the practice.
Overcoming the taboo
One possible benefit of the recession, is that talking about $ is becoming OK. In many cases the discussion of $ especially the reality that many of us are in this together are allowing $ talk to take place.
So let's take advantage and begin opening the $ lines. First, recognize your own issues with money. For many $ is tied up with their self esteem- what about for you. Second, share your fears with others- knowing that you are "just" like everyone else allows for a stressful subject to come to light. Third, arm yourself with facts. I'm not asking you to be a financial expert- but knowing and talking about finances is crucial.
Are you a practice owner/ manager- what is the financial reality of your practice? In having staff become comfortable talking about money- so to must you become comfortable talking to them.
Can your staff afford your practice?- Pet health discounts are key benefits for many of our practice staff but, are they sending the right message. I cringe when I hear about the staff members that have large amounts in A/R or decide to adopt just one more pet into their menagerie. ( or perhaps we are the guilty ones too?) I know you have heard it before- we need to be the leader and set the example.
Albers, J- What Pet Owners really think about cost- AAHA Trends May/June 2007
AVMA PLIT- Client Management Guidelines
Chatzky, Jean- Money: No Longer a taboo topic – United Feature Syndicate, Inc.2009
Coe, J, Adams, C, Bonnett, B- A focus group study of veterinarians' and pet owners' perceptions of the monetary aspects of veterinary care- JAVMA Vol 231, No 10 pg 1510-1518
Coe, J, Adams, C, Bonnett, B- Prevalence and nature of cost discussions during clinical appointments in companion animal practice- JAVMA Vol 234, No 11 pg 1418-1424.
Millan, O, Piskaldo, K- Men, Women and Money- Psychology Today Jan/Feb 1999