A client came into my hospital three times over the last week with their geriatric dog who also suffers from a few ongoing, chronic illnesses that require perpetual medication. I attempt to approach every case honestly and appropriately…doing things (things = diagnostics which are always revenue generators and which also happen to be abused by most DVMs and hospitals through excessive, unwarranted recommendation) in a stepwise fashion as the patients status truly dictates. This slows this maddening “game” down to allow for less of a fear, knee-jerk response from the owner and more of a practical, contemplative approach. Of course, while that is the most appropriate response for all parties, typically the DVM wants to manipulate (increase) their revenue generation through irrational fear or drama and the owner often needs to feed their own TV indoctrinated soul with their own personal drama and satiate their own paranoia through the spending of their money and declarations of a truly uneducated, inaccurate diagnosis. Unfortunately and rather comically, this is overwhelmingly common…..overwhelmingly. I have seen this pattern almost daily in every practice that I have ever worked since I graduated in 1995 from veterinary school. This unstable and delusional pattern of behavior is supported on both sides of the equation by almost everyone. One unstable, irrational approach supposedly seems to be justified and warranted to balance the other unstable, irrational approach. And around and around we go…
Anyway, back to our client, their geriatric dog, and other objective, documentable evidence of extremely irrational perceptions and behavior. During the last week, this client spent $136.00 on her first visit, $303.00 on her second visit, and $200.30 on her third visit. All of the diagnostics were valid in the time frame that they were performed. The total of those three visits (again not thrust dramatically on the owner all at once in the haste and manipulation of misinformation and irrational fear) equals $639.30. As the owner was leaving from the last visit, she spoke to me some of the words that always make my skin crawl, my bowels twist, my neck turn red, my head throb, and my soul want to burn my castle to the ground, and walk away from this crazy unbalanced game of insanity forever. The client said “Well, I guess I am paying your rent this month….”. A nice room with padded walls and the uniform of a cute little long sleeve jacket with buckles and straps, sometimes sounds so pleasant to me compared with certain others options of what I must endure on a daily basis.
Anyway…Lol…lets look at his objectively….lets look at the truth…not what you want the truth to be….not the unchallenged exaggerations that most people love to throw about, so they can raise the victim card as their shield and banner of burden; I speak of that revolting, offending, bothersome, pain in the “arse” thing called the true truth. So, put on your sun glasses and maybe even some sunblock….I don’t want you to get burnt. My “rent”, that does not include salaries, inventory and retail expenses, utilities, ongoing maintenance, and god forbid a true profit, is $9,975.50 a month. Read that figure again. One more time. Please digest it, so my reflux will have less of an excuse to bubble, toil, and trouble my esophagus on a daily basis.
So, I will do the math for you, because I am such a nice frack’in guy 🙂 This client spent $639.30 within a period of one week in my clinic. I truly appreciate that revenue…truly and I also appreciate to a very high degree, the associated simple element of their trust in my knowledge and expertise, but lets not forget about the little rent statement. The revenue (listed above) that this client injected into my clinic for provided services and care equals 6.4% of my “rent”. That is the amount of my rent that they paid. That is the truth. Secondly, the total revenue that this client is responsible for in my hospital since their first visit in June of 2013 is $1,622.42. That total amount equals only 16% of only one month of my rent or more appropriately, if we compare this influx of revenue over the same time period (11 months), it equals the telling figure of 1.5% of my “rent”.
I appreciate all of my customers. I appreciate their trust and appreciation of my expertise and skills. I appreciate every bit of revenue “donated” to my hospital and every single word of mouth referral that I hear or don’t hear about. I appreciate the $639.30 that this client spent in my clinic this week and the 1.5% of my rent they have paid over the last eleven months. I appreciate all of this and I should.
A balanced equation or relationship requires truth. It requires true appreciation and understanding on both sides of the equation. There are many ways and tricks that people like to act and appear appreciative while simultaneously sliding a passive-aggressive dagger or even comment into your back. That is not the answer and neither is meeting an unbalanced passive-aggressive posture with your own unbalanced passive-aggressive posture. The answer is the objective truth. When this is observed and acknowledged, it should always lead inevitably to the prime force of an untainted appropriate respect. This is the answer and it is what has been lost in our society on almost every level.
Jeff Cribb DVM 2014