Taking a history: the Do’s and Don’ts

A great appointment with a client reminds us of what brought us to this profession in the first place. Have you ever wondered, “How can I make all my appointments this great?”

Here are some do’s and don’ts you can use to build trust with your clients from the start, and make every appointment a success.

The Do’s:

Make sure to ask about past medical history, lifestyle, diet and behaviour

When you see patients back-to-back, it’s easy to overlook basic information or assume that things have not changed since their last visit.

Note: During wellness appointments, you can have your technicians use the Milo app’s prompts to take a thorough history and ensure that you have a record of their answers.

Use easy-to-understand visuals to share information

Pet owners might not understand why it’s important to tell you about their travel plans with their pet or about Hudson’s stand-off with the racoon at the cottage. Since these risk factors might change your preventative recommendations, you can help pet parents see the importance of factoring in lifestyle risk by providing them with helpful, easy-to-understand educational material.

Give options and explain their benefits and risks

Every pet’s needs are unique. It is up to us to help pet owners evaluate the costs, risk and convenience of the options available to them, so that pet parents feel empowered to make the right decision.

The Don’ts:

Do not stare at the computer screen

When speaking with clients, encourage yourself and staff to have a conversation rather than Q&A session to make the pet owner more comfortable to share their concerns with you.

Do not use medical jargon

As a rule of thumb, use the simplest language possible to explain medical conditions without over-simplifying. Pet parents will often feel overwhelmed when you use jargon but will seldom speak up about it.

Do not avoid the cost discussion

Be upfront about the expected costs. It will help you come up with a solution that is going to help their pet while staying within their budget, and you’re less likely to be left with another unpaid bill.

Taking a thorough history can have a lasting impact on the pet owner’s experience and even make them a better client for you. Pet owners are much more likely to follow your advice if they feel heard, and when they trust that you have their best interests at heart.

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