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When a Client Satisfaction Survey Comes Your Way

    • 130 posts
    February 9, 2017 2:11 PM EST

    Unfortunately, my pet sitter was unavailable to care for my dog during a recent trip away from home. As such, I wound up having to medical board him at the specialty referral / 24 hour hospital where I used to work (and serve as Medical Director).  The practice has since changed ownership, and most of those who I knew no longer work there. It's also now under renovation. They have had to move their operations around and consolidate work areas while sections of the practice are under demolition and reconstruction. 

    He has boarded there many times in the past. In times past, the staff had been pretty good about calling me (even daily) with updates on the pet's status.  This time was different. I just received an email from the hospital with the subject line: Your feedback is vital to serving you better.  I think that what I experienced and the feedback I will be sharing with them is worthy of mention and food for thought for anyone working in the veterinary practice setting.

    I dropped my dog off in the very early morning hours (right before the end of the night shift and the start of the day shift) and also brought his own food and treats along (he has food allergies). I briefed the admitting person on the written instructions / notes that I had prepared for them regarding his concerns (food allergies; fear-based aggression; careful around other dogs).  As mentioned, I've been invited to provide feedback about my recent experience. Well, here's what I experienced:

    1.  The person who came up to the front to admit my dog was not wearing a name tag (if she was wearing it, it was not visible). I still do not know her name, nor her role in the hospital (whether she is a technician, an assistant, an overnight doctor, or part of the client care rep team). No clue.


    2.  On his second day boarding there, I realized I had not heard from the hospital with any status updates (it was a departure from what I'd experienced in the past). So, I placed a call to the practice to check in on my pooch. When the client care rep answered the phone I indicated that I was calling to see how RJ was doing. I was placed on hold.  After 3+ minutes on hold, the CCR came back on the line to ask me how to spell my pet's name, as he could not find record that my pet was there.  I spelled my dog's name and my name and was placed back on hold.

    Suddenly, a random thought came to mind and I started to worry a little bit. Could there have been a 'mishap' when he was admitted? Could he have been placed in a holding cage (in this practice that's under construction) and his admission not communicated across all those charged with his care?  Did the staff members / teams 'round' about all animals in the hospital with the shift change?  I snapped this as I continued on hold:


    At 7+ minutes, someone picked up the phone. She identified herself by her first name - and she said, "Hi, you're calling to check on RJ?" I replied yes. She went on to say that she's been taking care him and that he's doing fine ... eating well and getting lots of treats. I confirmed that he was being fed his own food and treats, and she replied that he was.  I then asked her what her role was at the practice, as I had no idea whether I was speaking to an intern, a tech, a kennel assistant ... no clue whatsoever.  She said she's an assistant.

    I then remarked to her that I was calling to check on him, as I'd always received status updates in the past and just wanted to make sure that he was okay. She indicated that they don't usually call with status updates about healthy pets staying at the hospital. I sighed. She said "but if you want for us to call you, I can make a note that you'd like for us to do that." I  thought for a moment and replied "sure, that would be great." 

    Over the next 3 days, I did not receive a single call or any form of communication from the practice. I personally texted with one technician that I've known for years, who works there a couple of days a week, and she provided me updates on the days she was working.  

    3.  I picked RJ up a day earlier than I was expecting. We're both happy to be home now.  Interestingly, based on the amount of food remaining in the bag that I had brought to the hospital, it appears that he was fed an extra meal at some point during his hospital stay (I had packaged his fresh food meals into individual servings, and instead of 2 meals remaining, there was only 1 in the bag).  I guess I'm happier to know that he feasted rather than to have missed a meal?