Category Archives for "Boundaries"
You know exactly the ones I’m talking about, right?
The ones who call and demand an appointment the same day, and get it.
The ones who show up late for their appointments, and are seen anyway.
The ones who show up with more pets than scheduled for, and they all get seen.
It’s easy to be frustrated with these types of clients.
In many of our practices, we might even consider these clients to be “Star Clients”.
They have earned this status because they come in often, and pay their bill.
They get special privilege.
Why do these people, and in some cases the entirety of our client population, get to come in whenever they want, be seen no matter how late they show up, and bring more pets than they were scheduled for without consequence?
Why is this type of behavior okay?
The truth is simple… and a little painful.
BECAUSE WE TAUGHT THEM THAT THIS TYPE OF BEHAVIOR IS ACCEPTABLE.
We teach our clients how to interact with our practices.
We cater to these “Star Clients” out of some misguided sense of obligation… and a fear that if we don’t let them come when they want, with whatever they want, that we will miss out on revenue.
This scarcity mentality is ruining our practices.
Nobody, NOBODY, in your practice wants to cater to these clients. Nobody wants to stay late. Nobody wants the schedule disrupted by the unpredictable appointments.
It’s easy to blame the client… but, that’s the easy way out.
It’s actually not the client’s fault. It’s ours. It’s our “come on in” culture, anchored in fear of not making enough money, that created these clients.
They are not bad people. They are not even behaving badly. They are simply doing what we’ve taught them over time is acceptable to do.
That’s on us.
What we are totally missing is the population of great clients who flee our practices because we are always running behind, for no good reason. We have shown them we don’t respect their time, nor our own, and they have moved on.
How much revenue is lost there?
If you’re an owner, and this sounds like your practice, you have the power to change this behavior and culture immediately. You can institute hospital policies around appointment scheduling, arrival and rescheduling… and you can implement them today.
No “easing in”… just do it.
Save the “come on in” option exclusively for truly urgent appointments… and you’ll find those are actually more rare than you believe.
You’ll learn that your clients will appreciate your commitment to respecting their time… and you’ll find they are way more understanding when you get behind because of true emergencies. In those moments, they will know you’d do the same if the emergency was them.
And those “star clients” who have been calling the shots for so long… some of them will probably get mad and leave your practice. That’s okay… and great evidence that they were never the great clients you thought they were in the first place.
You’ll find your entire hospital culture and morale will increase… and probably your bottom line as well. When you focus on good medicine and great customer service, the money takes care of itself.
For you associates out there… I hear you trying to tell me you have no power to change the culture. I say you do.
It starts with a conversation… one you are probably believing will be pointless to even have.
Do it anyway.
Discuss the situation with your manager or owner, explain the problem, provide the solution.
What happens next may not be yours to decide, but the information you gain in that meeting will equip you with what you need to know to decide what’s next for you.
Stay or move on… equally available options, but now made from an informed position, instead of from a position of helpless, powerless victim of your boss and job.
One decision can change everything… someone just has to be willing to step up and have the conversation.
Why not you?
I got a little fired up about this in a recent FB Live. To watch, CLICK HERE.
I very clearly remember complaining to my fellow vets and vet techs about clients, friends, and even family who didn’t respect my boundaries.
It was so rude of them.
I felt very angry every time my boundaries were violated…
… probably because deep down I knew I had No Control over the actions of other people.
That created a bit of despair because I believed the only way I would ever be able to enjoy work-life balance was if other people started following the rules… and I knew the chances of that happening were slim to none.
It seemed impossible… because it was impossible!
What I didn’t know was that both creating boundaries and upholding boundaries actually have NOTHING to do with what other people do.
The ONLY PERSON who can violate my boundary is ME.
A boundary is simply a request for another person to behave a certain way, and a consequence if they choose not to do so.
Boundaries are only violated when the person setting the boundary doesn’t follow through with the consequence when the behavior request isn’t met.
(That part about following through with the consequence… that’s the part I missed.)
I thought once I set the boundary, the other person would, of course, follow through with the requested behavior if they respected my position. When they didn’t, I’d become angry, offended, victimized.
I had it all wrong… and I was violating my own boundaries (and creating my own misery) again and again and again because I wasn’t following through with the consequences.
And if I’m honest, I’m not sure I even clearly expressed the consequences…
I had no idea what I was doing.
Here’s the Great News for you… now that I “get it” when it comes to setting boundaries in VetMed, I’m making it a whole lot easier for all of us!
This is a Critical Skill to master if you want work-life balance, and some autonomy in your life. I talked about all of this yesterday in a Facebook Live Event on the Joyful DVM page. To listen, CLICK HERE.
Want to just cut to the chase?
I’ve got you covered!
I created a New Free Resource: Setting Boundaries Blueprint for Veterinary Professionals. I’ve included word-by-word scripts of exactly what you can say to set boundaries in a variety of scenarios.
It doesn’t get easier than that.
To get a copy of the Setting Boundaries Blueprint, CLICK HERE.
If you have any questions along the way, just reply to this email, or tag me on social #JoyfulDVM @JoyfulDVM