17 Aug It’s all in the detail
For want of a nail the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe the horse was lost;
For want of a horse the battle was lost;
For the failure of battle the kingdom was lost –
All for the want of a horseshoe nail.
Attributed to Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth
from Fifty Famous People by James Baldwin
Often it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference, and this truism applies to veterinary practice now more than ever. Failure to pay attention to the state of the king’s horse’s shoes brought defeat and death to Richard III, according to folklore. And whilst potential negative outcomes are hopefully not quite so terminal in our world, without fixing the tiny details upon which so much else hangs , the success of the practice can be significantly affected.
Onswitch is currently working with several practices to help smooth workflow, manage client flow and reduce team workload. Together we’re finding quick wins to help practices reduce the team’s workload, mostly looking at ways to reduce inbound calls by providing information proactively via other means. Another common bottleneck is payments, and this is one area where fixing the ‘nail’, means that the battle can be saved.
Nailing it, with more PDQ card machines
It doesn’t matter how large or small your practice is, acquiring more PDQ machines will always be a great idea. Having a card machine to hand whenever clients are on the phone, in the building or undertaking a remote consult means that transactions can be made immediately, without the need to call back (tying up the phone line and taking up valuable time at the busy reception desk). Clients can’t forget to pay, so bad debt doesn’t accumulate (also freeing up time that would have been spent chasing payments).
It’s quick, simple and extremely effective – more PDQ machines will always help.
A little thing that makes a big difference.
And whilst we’re on the subject of getting the basic details right, you might want to think about implementing some or all of the following quick wins:
- Organise an outside ‘marshal’ to check in arriving clients, manage dispensation of medications and generally keep the car park flowing. This will put an end to the need for clients to call when they arrive, and call again to check they’ve not been overlooked, and call again because they’ve forgotten to ask something. You get the idea…
- Pre-empt repeat medicines. You know when they’re going to run out, so call owners to sort out further supplies in good time. Take payment over the phone (with your at-hand PDQ machine!) and arrange shipment or collection, all in the one call
- Call owners to book appointments (routine medication, health checks, dentals etc.) don’t wait for them to ring you
- Set up online appointment booking
- Use live web chats to quickly answer common questions
- Put Health Plan joining details on the home page of your website and feature them regularly on all social media pages
- Paint numbers on your parking bays (make bays if you don’t already have them) so that you can ask owners to park in a particular bay and quickly find them
- Create a home worker rota for outbound calls, follow up post-ops, booster calls, chasing payments etc.
- Get a medicine delivery subscription set up to manage repeat ongoing parasite and long term medications easily and effectively
- Use video consulting for post op checks, nurse consults, any triage consults where the owner is in doubt. This will help reduce flow to the building but still deliver superior care
The bottom line is that paying attention to the small details will always pay dividends.
Fix the nails, and success will be nailed on.