Establishing client rapport is paramount to any consultation. Without client rapport, trust is difficult to establish and clients are less likely to follow your recommendations.
We have seen a good deal of negative publicity regarding veterinary surgeons in the media, so now, more than ever, we need to build that trust from the moment the client and their pet walk into the room.
Here are 5 tips to help you build rapport:
- Never forget to greet the pet. This should come naturally to most of us, but if it doesn’t, do it often so it becomes a habit.
- Ask open-ended questions that enable you to get to know your client and their pet. This will help you understand more about how their pet fits into the client’s lives and helps you understand their situation. Use more focused, close-ended questions for getting specific details later.
- Listen! Listening skills are very important. Try not to cut the client off and listen to their concerns. There is sometimes a disconnection between what you think your client’s concerns are and what they really are. If you are uncertain what their main concerns are, then ask.
- Empathy. We can sometimes forget what it feels like to be on the other side of the examination table. Place yourself in your client’s shoes and remember they love their pet enough to have brought it in to see you, and are counting on you to help get their pet better.
- Be honest, sometimes you don’t know what is going on. By establishing rapport, you can work together with the client to develop a plan that is best for their pet.