4. Involve the entire staff. Effectively educating receptionists and technicians about the health needs of cats requires consistent instruction from practice
owners. Every staff member should be able to fluently discuss immunizations, parasite testing and control, nutrition, reproduction,
and infectious disease testing with clients. As the first client contact, receptionists create the initial impression of the
clinic. But technicians spend more time with clients, so both must demonstrate friendliness as well as competence.
Figure 2. Appropriate laboratory workups are important aspects of comprehensive preventive medicine programs.
If necessary, raise the priority of staff training in the practice. All staff members, at some point, can lead a discussion,
because each employee has some knowledge to impart. Staff members' active participation enhances enthusiasm by showing them
the vital roles they play in educating clients.
5. Provide exemplary customer service. Consumers value good customer service, so don't just meet your clients' expectations —exceed them. Face it, clients like receiving
the royal treatment, whether it's escorting owners and patients to their cars or providing cardboard carriers to clients with
restless cats climbing on their backs. I've even seen one clinic give bottled water (labeled with the clinic's logo) to waiting
You'll also receive high marks for customer service if you keep in touch with cat owners after they visit. Clients appreciate
phone calls to check on the progress of a surgical patient, assess the effects of a prescribed antibiotic, or see whether
a cat likes its new food. Likewise, congratulatory notes for personal or family accomplishments will build client loyalty,
and condolence cards or memorials when a cat dies shows your practice's compassion for the pets in its care.
Customers also appreciate award programs for referring others to the practice. Try printing referral cards and handing them
out to satisfied customers. Make the cards the same size as your business or appointment cards and print something on them
like, "I'm pleased that Mr. Smith referred me to ABC Animal Clinic. "Then, after three new clients visit the clinic and present
his referral card, document the referral program in Mr. Smith's chart and credit his account for a designated amount. New
clients appreciate this service, too, and you'll keep building your practice as satisfied clients send in other cat owners.
Figure 3. The animal centers feline health report
6. Maintain a good inventory of feline items. Drop-in shoppers may become loyal clients if you keep the items they need on hand and display them prominently. When clients
see that you stock an ample supply of feline items, they'll view the clinic as well equipped to care for their cats in other
7. Offer wellness programs. Preventive medicine is the foundation of comprehensive healthcare and is instrumental in the success of any practice. Cat
owners, like dog owners, expect good medical care "in sickness and in health." So enhance your efforts to treat patients from
"womb to tomb" by initiating wellness programs for new and existing cat-owning clients.
The best feline wellness programs encompass every stage of a cat's life (kitten, junior, and senior), with clients receiving
information on each plan within the appropriate age brackets. Kitten wellness plans should outline the recommended series
of physical exams, immunizations, fecal exams, and retrovirus tests on a predated form with itemized fees. Total the fees
for each visit and deduct 10% to 15% if clients pay in advance. This shows the client what each visit will entail, increases
clinic income, and, most importantly, increases client compliance, which ultimately improves patient care. Many clients won't
return for a fourth booster after receiving a rabies tag on the third visit. By paying for all visits in advance, clients
are more likely to return. Clinic income increases, despite the discount, because missed visits mean no income at all.