I went to the vets last night.
My cat has appeared a little unwell for a few days, so I thought it was about time I paid a visit to the vets. Now my cat is called Buttons (more on that in a minute) and he is, I think, 16 years. In terms of upkeep to date, he has been a very good and healthy cat, so thankfully my visits to the vet have been few and far between.
But as he is getting on, and is around 16 years, I didn’t begrudge him the visit (well not too much).
First, his name and his age, they need some clarification. He is called Buttons because that is what he was called when we took him in from a cat rescue charity near Henley (when I was working as a solicitor in Reading). We didn’t think we should change his name as he had had a tough time already, so we were stuck with it.
We are not sure of his age because the cat rescue was not either, but it was safe to say he was at least a year old when we obtained him, and we had him for a year before my first born Megan arrived, and she is nearly 14. (Nearly 14! This means I am currently ageing at around 20 years a day, but that’s a whole ‘other story’ in itself. She is a lovely daughter, but 14)!
Now my vet’s visit was interesting from your perspective, as I hope you will now see, for two reasons.
First, my arrival…
When I arrived early for my appointment the receptionist was talking to another member of staff. They didn’t stop talking until they had finished, and then when the other member of staff walked away the receptionist looked straight at her screen, typed a few buttons (no pun intended) then guessed who I was and who I had in my basket. I received no welcome, no smile and no eye contact. I was told to sit and wait.
Now until then I had thought that Doctor’s receptionists were the worst, seconded only marginally by many solicitors’ receptionists, but I am not sure where to fit the vet now, maybe second pushing solicitors into third. However, you are forced to go to the doctors and it does not cost, whereas you have to pay to see a vet and a solicitor, so there really is no excuse for a grumpy or inefficient receptionist. If you have one, I urge you to replace or relocate them. They will be damaging your business far more than you could ever imagine. For a little exercise, spend 30 minutes once a month standing within earshot but out of eye line of your receptionist and just listen. You might learn a lot!
Second, the price…
I was in for no longer than 15 minutes, during which a bit of prodding was done, weight was taken and a blood sample was provided. This cost me £81. I suggested to the vet that I would pay once she had the results and I could obtain the correct medication. This was clearly not an option; they do not have bad payers so I paid before I left.
Once the blood sample was analysed it was suggested I buy two sorts of drugs, a further £22. So I paid over £100 for 20 minutes of their time. That’s great pricing, and I had to pay immediately, no terms were negotiable; so that’s great cash flow!
I appreciate that selling veterinary services is not the same as selling legal services, but I know from experience of implementing changes in law firms that you can obtain money on account in every type of legal matter, and more perhaps more importantly than that you can increase your charges, even in competitive areas such as conveyancing and Will writing. If you think that that cannot be done, you are only kidding yourself and harming your wallet.
I worked with one firm to increase a fixed price service by 400% over the course of 18 months, when they told me at first that the original price was as much as they could ever charge!
So if you have pricing issues, they are your issues, and if you have a poor receptionist, it is time to train them or change them. It is your business and you must take control of it.
If you want to increase your pricing, reduce bad payers and work on improving all aspects of client conversion, from reception to lead generation, I can work on this with you during the 90 days of my Steady Stream Of New Clients Programme. To find out more, simply sign up for the free guide below and I will send you more information.
Author: Nick Jervis