The Veterinary Clinical Process [Infographic] | VetCheck

How to get 5-star reviews every time.

90% of consumers will view online reviews prior to making a decision on your business (Forbes). Glowing 5-star reviews puts a practice in high demand and instantly builds a high level of trust. But, building a 5-star rating can be challenging. To achieve a 5-star rating you need to meet or exceed the client’s expectations and trigger a positive emotion.

To begin with, let’s look at the top causes for bad reviews (Search Business Group):

1. Money

  • 41 percent of bad reviews involve financial concerns e.g. invoice was higher than expected or estimated, client didn’t feel they received value for money.

2. Veterinarian

  • 35 percent of negative reviews involve a bad experience with a veterinarian e.g. poor communication, uncaring, being rushed, incorrect diagnosis. 

3. Service

  • 30 percent of negative reviews are related to poor service e.g. being stuck on the phone, prolonged wait times, didn’t perform a physical exam, unsightly surgery clip or wound, incorrect grooming technique, pet became ill after a visit or during boarding.

70% of customers get annoyed with a wait time more than 15 minutes

4. Staff

  • 27 percent relate to rude staff members either in person or on the phone e.g. abrupt phone manner, dismissive of the pet’s problem, incorrect quote, felt pushed to make an appointment with a vet.

5. Poor outcomes e.g. misdiagnosis or death

  • 19% of bad reviews were due to spending a lot of money without a diagnosis, misdiagnosis, poor outcomes or death.

Many of these bad reviews can be categorised into 3 groups:

  1. Client confusion
  2. Unrealistic expectations
  3. Teams being time poor

VetCheck helps teams overcome client confusion and unrealistic expectations with pre and post treatment information templates and saves teams time.

Meet or exceed client expectations

As veterinarians, our training focuses heavily on the clinical approach to pet health care. In the real world, one of the most important aspects of the clinical process is communicating with clients to achieve the best outcomes. However, client communication is one of the greatest challenges in practice with communication breakdowns leading to many problems seen in the practice, including callbacks, complaints, lost business and burnout.

Good verbal communication skills are essential to build rapport and informed consent. Written digital pet health summaries, pre- and post-treatment are an easy way to support your verbal recommendations. With pet owners only taking in 40% of what is said verbally, digital summaries are essential in re-iterating the case approach, diagnostic tests required, treatment plan, duration of treatment, potential outcomes and prognosis.

90% of clients want to know about all the health care options for their pets, regardless of cost

When price is the only thing the customer is focused on, we as an industry will lose. The key is to manage expectations from the start and demonstrate value at every interaction.

70% of customers are willing to pay for services if their expectations are met or exceeded.

Example scenario - The case of Grade 2 dental disease

The verbal explanation

“Spot has Grade 2 dental disease. He needs a dental procedure now to slow the progression of his dental disease, treat the infection and prevent serious health problems. A dental treatment consists of preanaesthetic bloodwork, hospitalisation, pain relief, antibiotics, general anaesthesia, fluid therapy, continuous monitoring, x-rays, scale and polish and a recovery nurse. You will be looking at an estimate of $800. Teeth extractions and prolonged time will incur additional charges. I will share with you the treatment plan and estimate.”


In the pre-treatment plan, make a note of the Grade 2 dental disease, what the dental procedure includes, potential complications of untreated dental disease and the need for home care to prolong the life of the dental so that you client can make an informed decision.


In the post-treatment discharge instructions, outline all the services that were performed, highlight the findings, outline the pain control given, signs to look out for at home and any home care required.

4 Simple steps to exceed customer expectations

  1. Educate your customer at every interaction
  2. Focus on the customer’s outcomes - happier healthier pets, prevention is cheaper in the long run, early diagnosis offers a better prognosis
  3. Offer ongoing pet health support - increase the accessibility to pet health information by sharing information over the phone. This demonstrates that you care and have a willingness to help
  4. Increase convenience - answer the phone in 3 rings, efficient check in, same day appointments, digital access to pet health summaries, online health forms, online appointments, rescheduling of appointments if the vet is running late

Trigger a positive response

Clients cannot easily compare practices based on medical expertise. Instead they compare veterinarians and practices based on communication, customer service and perceived value. People want to know that you truly care for their pet.

This may simply be:

  • Digital welcome packs on what to expect before their visit
  • Opening the door for your visitors
  • Addressing the pet owner and pet by name
  • Running consultations on time
  • Allowing anxious pets to wait outside until their visit to ease the stress
  • Giving pets treats after the examination
  • Digital brochures on local pet sitters and boarding kennels if you know the pet owners are going on holiday
  • Surgery booking confirmations that detail what to expect with surgery and general anaesthesia to help reduce pet owner anxiety
  • Clipping the pet’s nails upon general anaesthesia recovery
  • Videos on how to brush their pet’s teeth, how to clean their ears
  • Personalised pet health summaries after each visit
  • Cleaning the pet if it soils itself

All these added touches or simple surprises demonstrate high quality care and can trigger a positive emotion.

Happier clients. Happier vets. Healthier pets.


We looked at over 1000 Veterinarian Reviews. Here's What We Found. | Search Business Group

Getting to the Root of Client Complaints | VMD Today

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