1) Make the client understand why something is necessary. Whether it is compliance with giving medications at home, returning for follow-up bloodwork, or deciding to go forward with a dental cleaning, people are more apt and willing to comply when they understand exactly why these things are important for the health of their pet.
2) Make it personal. Whether you are explaining a procedure or going over discharge instructions, use the patient’s name in the context. “It is really important that you return for labwork to check Charlie’s kidney function in two weeks.”
3) Educate the client. Client handouts are very helpful. In the exam room, the client will only remember a small portion of what you explain to them. They will understand more if they have some materials to read after they get home.
4) Instead of saying “estimate”, say “treatment plan”. It makes the client feel that this is a treatment plan for their pet, and not as focused on the financial aspect. It is important, however, that every client receive a treatment plan (estimate) for services before they are performed.
5) Perform follow up calls. Call to check on the pet the following day after their visit. This is a good time to remind the client of follow up recommendations after they have had time to read their handouts and reflect upon their visit. Also, it shows that you care about their pet.
6) Reminder calls for labwork are helpful. If the doctor recommends a follow up renal profile in 3 months, a call to let the client know that the pet is now due for the labwork will increase compliance. Everyone gets busy, and it is easy to forget a follow up without a reminder.
7) Empathize. Put yourself in the client’s position. Treat them how you wish to be treated when you are seeking care for your own beloved pets! This helps clients feel comfortable and thus makes them more compliant.