Utilizing Virtual Teams To Provide Quality Service

Tech-enabled services are growing and changing rapidly in the veterinary industry! From the days of printing and mailing reminders to email and text capability, companies offering tech-enabled services found ways to integrate with our PIMS to send out reminders with a click of a button. We then moved to individualized apps for appointment requests, appointment reminders, and prescription requests or refills. Then, we arrived at a point where we could give clients access to their medical records and see test results from home while the doctor reviewed them over the phone. Now, here we are in 2023 moving towards the capability of telemedicine for follow-up appointments and hospice care.   I remember a time early in my career when I was undergoing training to be a receptionist — it was a Saturday morning — we were only open for 5 hours, but the schedule was packed. At the clinic, we offered boarding services, and we also took walk-ins and work-ins. The phones were ringing off the hook. I had multiple clients in front of me with a gauntlet of needs:   “I need a refill on Heartgard” “I am here to pick up my pet's medicine" “I am here to pick up my pet” “I am dropping my pet off for boarding” “I have arrived for my pet's appointment” “I am ready to check out” “I don’t have an appointment but my dog's nail is ripped and it’s bleeding”   “I need to schedule a recheck appointment”   Addressing a client's needs is overwhelming when you are new, let alone a seasoned staff member! The instruction from my trainer (which I remember almost 20 years later) was, “Do not make eye contact with a client until you are ready to help them." So I would keep my head down so they knew I was busy until I finished my task. The thought process was if you look at someone, then they think you are not busy, you are ready to help them and this will get you off track. Some see multitasking is an important skill, but it leaves vets burnt out and does not allow for QUALITY customer service and patient care. Allowing your team to be able to focus on customers and patients that are IN your hospital seems like a dream! Before I discovered GuardianVets I had no idea that this level of service was available for a small practice. I managed a small animal hospital for 6 years and would have loved the ability to have a “call center” to field calls for scheduling and refills. Another huge benefit that GuardianVets offers is Triage Services. That’s right! Triage Services. Take the burden of phone calls off your team so that your in-house staff can focus on patient care and customer service. GuardianVets uses technology to provide a remote team as an extension of your in-house veterinary support staff. I made a career move to GuardianVets when I needed a better work-life balance as a new mother. After I was trained and started working, I immediately saw the impact we were making on the hospitals we worked with. As someone who has worked in general practice as well as emergency medicine, I can empathize with the client and patient experience in both scenarios. Most importantly, I see how beneficial our services are to the entire veterinary teams in practice! There are many different ways that hospitals can utilize virtual teams to tailor services to each practice’s needs. Our practice solution can meet any level of demand; we work with small animal, large animal, exotics, specialty, and emergency hospitals.   Options include, but will not be limited to:
  • VCSR (virtual client service representative)
  • Triage after hours
  • Triage and Overflow during hours
  As a triage technician, I take pride in the fact that GuardianVets requires our technicians to be credentialed. When I take a call for a practice my number one goal is to properly triage the patient. If the patient needs immediate care I am able to facilitate that according to the hospital’s specific protocols.   When a hospital is closed, our virtual team is there to answer incoming client calls. They never get a voicemail! If the doctor is on-call, I can see the hours they are available and which patients and emergencies they are able to see. If the pet does not fall into these guidelines or if there is not a doctor on-call, I can refer your patient to the preferred emergency hospital or urgent care. If the pet is stable and does not need to be seen right away, I am able to offer reassurance and a professional recommendation to the client. If the hospital allows it, I can schedule an appointment right then and there. If the pet has ingested a potential poison I can refer them to the appropriate hotline and also provide emergency options when warranted.  Virtual teams are also a huge asset to emergency hospitals. Before working in an emergency hospital,  I never realized that wait times could get over 4 hours. It never crossed my mind. Then I realized that wait times can get to 8-12 hours, especially during nights and weekends. On top of caring for critical emergencies as an in-person emergency technician, I also had the task of letting the owners of stable patients know the wait times. This is a huge stressor. If you get to a point where your emergency room is at capacity, you still need to triage the patient and interact with the client to make sure you are making the best recommendation. In practice, sending a client to another emergency hospital can be one of the hardest tasks. It also takes away from your time with hospitalized pets and owners of UNSTABLE patients. As a triage technician, I am so happy that I can help emergency teams with this burden. The patients get triaged properly, and I can alert them of possible wait times, exam costs, and payment options. If the hospital is at capacity, I refer them out accordingly. THIS IS A BIG DEAL! It allows teams in the hospital to prioritize patient care while still providing exceptional customer service. You get to focus on why you got into veterinary medicine. QUALITY! With virtual teams, your practice can unlock limitless capacity to meet any demand and provide quality customer service through and through.

Practice medicine, not management

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