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By August 15, 2023Blog

It is always encouraging when as a conference speaker someone comes up to tell you they benefit from your presentation. I am fortunate to have had this happen more than once. I really love it when I can help with a sticky problem on the spot. This happened at AVMA 2023.

As I was finishing my first session a veterinarian who is a practice owner came to me with a most interesting dilemma. She said, “Debbie, you always teach me something helpful when I attend your classes and I would like your advice. I have a young employee working for me this summer who is applying to veterinary school. She wants me to write her a letter of recommendation. Here is the problem. This girl is so painfully shy she cannot make eye contact. She struggles to speak with clients and in all honesty, I feel I would be setting her up for failure if I write a recommendation.”

“Wow! This is a tough situation for sure,” I said. I agreed that people skills are a must for a small animal practitioner. I would argue that they are necessary even if you work in research. Here is the thing – neither I nor this veterinarian could solve this problem. The only person who could was the young person wanting the letter of reference. My advice was, “Ask her in a private 1 on 1 meeting how she plans to overcome this painful shyness. Describe why communication is so vital to the successful care of a patient and let her create a plan.”

“Oh my gosh!” she exclaimed, “that is perfect. I have been so stressed about what to say.”

I smiled and said I was glad to be able to help. I reminded her that curiosity is always our first move in any difficult situation.

I hope that this young person is able to live her dream. I also know that realistic expectations of what the work involves is better preparation for practice than the false perception of caring for animals all day and never having to interact with people.

Communication skills are like any other skill, they can be taught, practiced and improved. They are often the missing component in technician and veterinary training programs but when we invest in teaching our team members true hospitality skills the results are amazing. Our clients stop fussing, our team reduces “drama”, revenue and compliance with care increase and efficiency improves which enables us to pay better while still keeping our fees within reach of our clients. I have lived this practice culture and KNOW it works. I have spent years teaching the skills to others and I SEE the results.

Investing in hospitality and communication training will be the new differentiator in veterinary medicine. Want to stand out as the practice of choice? Train your team well and you can easily compete with the biggest and most affluent corporation.

If you need help I have multiple ways I can serve.
1. Purchase my new book, Hospitality in Healthcare
2. Utilize my online classes
3. Have me come for an in-person training workshop.

No matter what you choose – choose to start!


Debbie Boone’s New Book:

“Hospitality in Healthcare”

Today’s healthcare consumer demands more than just an appointment. They want healing and human connection. Providing an exceptional experience at every step of the patient journey requires active participation and collaboration from the entire medical office team.

Read More!