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25 Feb 2020


Preface: Before any readers who aren’t dog lovers switch off – this story could easily be about humans!

Sadly, one of our beloved pooches appears to have long-term health problems. As this has been difficult to diagnose, our local vet has referred us to a specialist private practice. And no, it’s not Noel Fitzpatrick’s. But it’s one of those places where you walk in and say to yourself ‘Thank goodness we have insurance’.

Prominently on the reception wall, this swish veterinary practice had displayed their values.  Things like ‘caring for your dogs as if they’re our own’ etc.  All very reassuring, when you are anxious as to what the diagnosis might be.

The initial clinical assessment was all completed well. It needed to be when a four figure sum was involved.

But then everything went downhill, mainly due to communication issues.

We didn’t receive any written report on what we had been told verbally (who can remember anything about haemoglobin levels when they are part of a long diagnosis?)

Details on the date and time of the next appointment were not made clear. Their assumption was that our pooch would be staying overnight for this (at an exorbitant cost no doubt) but that wasn’t explained until we called them the day before.

And when we complained about these two issues, they blamed the lack of communication on technology.

These are verbatims…

‘Our email must have gone into your spam box’. No it hadn’t.  So it was never sent. And yes, they did have the correct email address on file.

‘We have a fully automated bookings system which sends reminder texts’. These had never arrived. And yes, they did have our correct mobile nos.

The moral of this story is very simple.

It’s all very well having aspirational core values for your organisation. And these should all focus on the customer experience.

But unless you get the basics right, such as effective communications, values will count for nothing.

Values should be about people and how they behave. When technology ‘misbehaves’, never hide behind this or use it as an excuse.

If these basics aren’t followed, customers will walk and find an alternative – on four legs in our case.