One of the hardest parts of being a vet tech is dealing with difficult clients. A difficult client can easily ruin your day if you let them. So instead of letting a client immediately get under your skin, you should ask yourself why the client is being so difficult. A veterinary hospital can be a very stressful place for a client. You cannot assume that everyone knows exactly what goes on in a veterinary hospital, especially in cases where the family pet is sick. To me it seems like we in the veterinary community can sometimes over complicate the situation for a client by not simplifying the medical situation. Not to say that clients are dumb, but whether in human medicine or veterinary medicine, many people do not have the common knowledge of a veterinary team member. I think that that can lead to a frustrated client because sometimes they can feel talked down to.
There are many other reasons that a client can become difficult. I have thought about it a lot and have come up with a list of the most common in my opinion.
I know, captain obvious! I really think that stress in the number one cause for a client being difficult. Sometimes you have to think about the various situations that a client could be in when they enter the vet hospital. Maybe there is something going on in their life that is compounded by the stress of a vet visit! It is important to remember to keep an open mind and not lose your good attitude in a situation like this.
A Sick pet
A sick pet can easily lead to my number one cause, stress. The most difficult clients more often than not, are clients that have brought in a sick pet. Their sick pet has made them anxious and stressed. So the client becomes more difficult and sometimes standoffish. In situations with sick pets, it is important to always keep the client aware of what is going on and be sympathetic to their emotions.
The waiting game
A client that has to wait an extended amount of time (especially alone in an exam room) before being seen can easily become a difficult client. Think about the times you have had to wait in an exam room at the doctor. It is never fun to have to wait alone, wondering what is going on on the other side of the door. So keep clients in the know! Let the client know what the wait time is. Offer the client a drink. Anything to help the client feel acknowledged. I can promise you, any little gesture that makes the client feel like someone is there for them, will keep them from becoming difficult!
The always difficult client
I think it’s also important to realize that there will be some clients that will never be satisfied! I hate to say that because I love customer service. But the truth is, some people just like to be miserable, and seem to like to show it in public. The important thing to remember is that you are still there so serve that client and their pet. And although the client my have an attitude with you, their pet probably won’t! So don’t ever let a clients bad attitude get you down! Just remember that the next client will come in with a smile.