When clients say no: difficult exam room conversations (Proceedings)

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When clients say no: difficult exam room conversations (Proceedings)

May 01, 2011

You all know the feeling of walking into an exam room, proud of your skills as a veterinary technician, confident that you know what is best for the patient, happy to be greeted by that wagging tail, and excited to work together with the client to keep their family member at his healthiest. But, before you know it, the wind is taken out of your sails when your attempts at offering the best medicine are met with a response of "no," or "we have financial constraints," or "we can't afford it," or the dreaded "if you really cared, you'd cut us a break or fix him for free" etc. If this is not demoralizing, I sure don't know what is!

During this presentation we will review how to keep your skills sharp even when you may not be allowed to provide the best medicine, how to make sure the pets are getting the best care possible under the circumstances, learn how to have non-confrontational conversations about tough subjects (money!), learn how to educate the clients about the "gold" standard of medicine without them feeling guilty about not being able to do what is best, learn how to get compliance from owners, and, most importantly, learn how to keep yourselves and those around you motivated and morale high even in these tough times.

Think about the appointments that you helped the veterinarian with yesterday, or the last day you were in your hospital before you came to this conference, or even back to last week's appointments. Were you met with resistance from any of your clients? This could be resistance in the form of not wanting to do that heartworm test before renewing their heartworm prevention prescription. Or, it could be resistance in the form of refusing a referral to a specialist. Or, perhaps it was a client who came in on emergency and refused to do radiographs on their vomiting dog. Or, do we still have clients who try to refuse a wellness examination and "just want the shots?" Think about what responses you received when you tried to educate or provide a service to a client that you knew was in the best interest of their pet and they wouldn't listen or refused....Now, think about how you reacted to this response. It is human nature for us to get defensive or frustrated when our credibility is questioned ("does Fido really need that?") and even to feel rejected. And, it is perhaps even worse to feel that your role as an advocate for the pet is being ignored and that that patient may suffer as a result.

What can we do about all of this? If we can discuss and answer the six questions below together during this presentation all of us will leave with fresh ideas that we can take home and use tomorrow. And, we will all leave this presentation feeling passionate about what we do and knowing that we can still make a difference in the lives of the pets that we care about!