In the book If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee, the 6th chapter deals with a paradigm shift that takes place in certain hospitals. If we translate this to veterinary medicine, rather than focusing simply on client service, high achieving hospitals think of the entire experience their clients are having. The former focuses on what YOU are doing; the latter on what the CLIENT takes away.
I get it… a veterinary hospital is not theater and we aren’t actors. We deal with very serious things like illness, death, inability to pay for routine care, irate clients, etc. When the author talks about “theater”, he is talking about the total client experience from when they first contact you, through the office visit, and up until they walk back out your door. In a sense, this IS a performance… a performance with multiple acts, if you will. As the author points out, “…hospitalization provides a stage to facilitate the experience of healing… Disney’s business model focuses on how to improve the guest’s experience rather than improve customer service.” Your veterinary hospital is providing an experience to your client that goes beyond just customer service.
Providing an experience is not about entertainment; it’s about engagement with your clients. Consistency is a big part of this. Imagine if you were to tell a front desk applicant, “I need you to play a receptionist who loves people. Can you do that? I need you to get into your friendliest character every time you step onto the floor (stage), and no matter how you are feeling that day, your performance will be the same: friendly, cheerful, helpful, and sympathetic. Can you do that? Because if you can’t, I will find someone who can. I need someone in your position who has the talent to engage our clients in a memorable way while you go about your work, and I hope it will be you.” Talk about being authentic and candid! Set expectations up front for the high level of performance you expect from your team members. Be clear that you expect more than just customer service: you expect them to help create memorable experiences for your clients. Consistently.
“In The Experience Economy by B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore, the authors describe four ascending levels of economic offering: commodities, goods, services, and experiences. With each offering, value and profits increase exponentially.”
Commodities, goods, services, and experiences. Are you providing all four?
About Mark D. Olcott, DVM: Mark, a native of upstate NY, obtained his bachelor’s degree in Biology from the State University of New York at Geneseo. He then earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Cornell University in 1995 and, in 2013, his MBA from the Robert H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Mark was a partner for several years in a multi-doctor small animal practice before leaving to start his own mobile ultrasonography business. More recently, Mark worked as an Emergency Veterinarian at a local referral hospital. He was named by his peers as one of the Top Veterinarians in Northern Virginia, holds multiple patents, and is a published author.
Mark is the co-founder and CEO of VitusVet. VitusVet is a collaborative venture between people with very diverse backgrounds and expertise, and is now a growing company with one simple goal: to make it easier for veterinarians and pet owners to share medical information. Mark lives in Maryland with his wife, three children, two cats, two dogs, and a rabbit.