Hi again!

Here's my latest blog after a winter pause, but before I get started I can't help but mention that our January offer: 'Complaints and mistakes' - how to convert a complaining client to a loyal fan is now going to run through February too. A 20 minute interactive module giving a practical method for handling difficult situations. Normally only available as part of a course, this module can be purchased for just £19 + VAT. Buy it now here!

Engage, Empower, Improve!

Sometimes I stray from my core brief of communication skills, and feel inspired to share something which has, or has not, worked for me in practice.
Having learnt about storyboarding, I decided to give it a go, and see how it works in practice. I'll explain using the format we used when writing up experiments in my O-level chemistry classes (anyone else remember O-levels?):

Aim: Fresh new ideas, practice improvement, leading to highly bonded clients and staff, and of course the knock-on effect of increased profit. 

People & Equipment:  Key staff. For us that was 4 senior VNs, 3 vets, 2 admin staff (and a partridge in a pear tree).  One large board. Several file cards and a mass of post-it notes. And plenty of coffee, cakes and time. 

1. Put aside more time than you think you need - time constraints will stifle open thinking. We set aside a full morning. We thought it would take a couple of hours and ended up needing to bring in lunch. 

2. Decide on a theme. E.g. 'the client experience'.

3. Set the ground rules:
Absolutely no criticism of anyone, ever, as this stifles new ideas.
Blue sky thinking is the aim. One person's whacky and frivolous idea may be moulded into a useful item by another person.

4. Open the discussion by deciding on key areas that need looking at. e.g. condition of premises, telephone skills, waiting room systems, ethos, etc. These are written on the file cards and pinned across the top of the board. 

5. Write specific ideas and comments about each key area on the post it notes and post them under the headings. Some people will put ideas in writing that they are not confident enough to express verbally. 

Items 4 and 5 will engender much discussion and bouncing of ideas to and fro.

Result: By the end of the session, you will have enough ideas and projects to keep any practice manager happily busy for a long, long time. 

Conclusion: There is only one possible conclusion.
Engagement - all staff want to see the practice improve, they just need to see their ideas are going to be valued. And if it was their idea in the first place, they have a vested interest in making it work.
Empowerment - staff will understand they can really have an influence on practice development and on their own roles
Improvement - Of course!
And we all had fun achieving it. 


Happy Training!

Best wishes,
Hi again,

Here are some more thoughts exploring some areas critical to effectively develop a thriving veterinary business. 

We looked in a previous blog at the power of the phrase 'I recommend' to increase owners' willingness to follow your advice. This works by creating assertiveness and confidence with the simple use of an appropriate vocabulary. 

This time, let's have a look at another way to increase business and enhance our practice's reputation.

Features and benefits: creating the desire to accept the best treatment

In their quest to create happy clients with healthy pets, vets, nurses and veterinary staff will want to present their advice in such a way as to achieve maximum compliance. The way in which advice is given has an astonishingly large effect on whether this advice is accepted. In a research paper which we have mentioned in previous mailings, the compliance to veterinary advice increased 7-fold if a skilled presentation was given. 

Here's an example: this is the pitch from two car salesmen, trying to sell you a new model of car. 

Adam: "This car has a modified Z-type suspension. It's a recent development in ride technology."
Bill:  "This car's suspension is modified to give a smoother, more luxurious ride than ever before."

Which salesman makes you feel more likely to try the car?  For most people, this would be Bill. There is a clear reason for this.

Adam gives you facts. He explains WHAT you are getting. 
Bill presents the benefits. He explains WHY you would like it, and invites you to feel the emotion that the car will create when you drive it. This technique is used the world over to create desire - how often do people buy something that they never even knew existed until an eloquent pitch by a salesman convinced them of its unmissable benefits? 

By always explaining the benefits -  the 'WHY' - clients are more likely to accept advice.  Changing a 'WHAT' into a 'WHY', or changing a 'feature' into a 'benefit' is easy. Just add 'which means that'  to your sentence whenever you catch yourself stating a feature.

"This car has a modified Z-type suspension. It's a recent development in ride technology, which means that the suspension is modified to give a far smoother, more luxurious ride than ever before."

Or, in veterinary terms:
"Chalkie needs some dental work to remove the tartar and clean his teeth, which means that his breath will smell fresher and his mouth will be comfortable again."

This small change in technique will help increase compliance, and take us nearer the ultimate aim:

Healthy pets
Happy staff
Happy clients
Healthy business

One staff member achieving great compliance can make a real difference to your business. When all your staff can achieve it, the benefits multiply. 

Happy Training!


Best wishes,

My next few blogs are going to explore some of the concepts, taken from our training modules, that are most effective in developing a veterinary business. 

Some years ago I came across the science and art of great recommendations. As with any idea that sounds plausible, I tried it out. I had a healthy degree of scepticism - some new ideas work out well, others are tried and abandoned pretty sharply. This is the one most impressive change I have ever made in my consulting technique. 

Veterinary online trainingThe art of recommendation
A good recommendation massively increases client compliance with veterinary advice. In a research paper which looked at compliance after advice to undertake dental or surgical procedures for their pet, a good recommendation was found to lead to a 7-fold increase in compliance!  And it isn't just vets who can use this technique - it applies equally well to sales of food or toys, or to receptionists wanting to encourage clients to make an appointment. 

Training staff to give a good and clear recommendation gives a win-win-win situation.

The pet receives best quality care
The client knows they are doing the best for the pet
The business benefits from increased income and increased client satisfaction

What comprises a good recommendation?

  • A good recommendation is clear and unambiguous 
  • It is delivered with sincerity and enthusiasm
  • It includes a discussion of the benefits to the pet (as opposed to factual details of the advised item or procedure)
  • It uses the magic phrase 'I recommend'

An example:
'Rover's teeth are caked in tartar. We could do a scale and polish if you like, which is a procedure done under a general anaesthetic. First we remove all the tartar then we polish the teeth'. 

Higher compliance would be achieved if the wording was better:
'Rover has tartar build up on his teeth. I recommend we perform a dental scale and polish under a general anaesthetic. This will solve the bad odour on his breath, and reduce the chance of tooth loss in the coming years. It also gives us a chance to examine his teeth thoroughly to be sure there is no painful dental disease present'

If you aren't already giving great recommendations, give it a try - I'd love to know how you get on! 

Feel free to copy this to your practice team if recommendation training is not already taking place. It may be the one biggest boost your business gets this year.


Happy Training!


Best wishes,
Liz, and all the team

Hi again, just a brief one this time because like us, you're probably either on holday or super busy trying to cover for others who are!

Veterinary online trainingGreat training doesn't have to be complex... just follow a few rules:

1. Decide on the learning outcome (jargon for 'What do you want your students to be able to do?)

2. Give the students the information they need.

3. Repeat it in a different way, perhaps as an anecdote, or first in writing, then verbally. 

4. Get interactive and inventive: encourage them to practice the knowledge

5. Check results using feedback, tests, exams or assignments

After completing these steps, the new information has now made 4 trips around the student's mind, once in each of steps 2, 3, 4 and 5. So now the information is embedded and has been practised. 

Alternatively, let us do all the above for you!

And remember ... In celebration of our updated modules, we have a Summer Special:

Until the end of August, you can buy any of our courses at a 20% discount! Please contact us (see below) or just click through to our website here.


Happy Training!


Best wishes,
Apply learning after training

Welcome again to my regular blog. This time we have a lot to talk about:

Today's tip:
Consolidate learning by quick application in the workplace
Learning and application of learning are two very different creatures! Learning, if not promptly remembered and applied, is quickly forgotten. Therefore a learning environment must be created that allows students to use their new knowledge soon after the learning is undertaken.
This can be a challenge for on-line course providers - but we have developed a solution...

New improved courses:
Now we make your staff think more than ever about what they are doing. Unlike any other training program, our modules allow your staff to be able to make a real difference to your business - how do we do this?
Assignments have been added to all of our 'Caring for Clients' modules: these are designed to make students consider what they have learnt, and apply it in the context of the workplace. Students will use the course materials to suggest new ideas for your practice, creating a pool of ideas which Chunk Training then sends back to practice managers for in-house use. Some modules ask students to try out 'best practice' in communication, and to report back on their experience. We open the door to the wealth of ideas hidden within your staff and get it to where it matters – the decision makers of the practice.

You, the manager, get six sets of great ideas from each student enrolled on the six-module course.

And... In celebration of our updated modules, we have a Summer Special:
Until the end of August 2014, you can buy any of our courses at a 20% discount! Please contact us (see below) or just click through to the purchase training page on our website here.


Happy Training!

Best wishes,