Life with Cats

A Hairy Situation

Everyone loves a cat’s whiskers, majestic eyes, and tiny toe beans.    But nothing has incited more cartoons, jokes, and internet memes than the unsightly, completely disgusting, potentially harmful, and yet infinitely laughable HAIRBALL. I hate clichés, but a hairball is the nature of the beast.  Cats have hair.  A lot of it.  And they groom… Continue reading A Hairy Situation

Jen's Notebook

A Little Lipstick Never Hurt Anyone

Several years ago (OK it was more like a decade) an older gentleman stopped into the clinic where I worked at the time to pick up prescription food for his daughter’s cat.  Although I can still see his face, I can’t quite remember his name.  But I’ll never forget what he said to me that… Continue reading A Little Lipstick Never Hurt Anyone

Life with Cats

X Marks the Fox

If you spend any significant amount of time with a cat, or multiple cats, you begin to realize that, just like humans, they have their own unique personalities.  And, just like humans, it’s usually the loud, bold, obnoxious, pretty, smart, outgoing, or unusual ones who get all the attention.  Despite being the youngest when we… Continue reading X Marks the Fox

Life with Cats

The 6lb Terror

Cats are amazing little creatures.  Underneath their soft and fuzzy exteriors lies a tremendous instinct to survive, despite the worst conditions. When we found Nellie almost 3 years ago, she was severely malnourished and unusually small for her age.  The poor little flea bag was crawling up my leg, starving for both food and attention.… Continue reading The 6lb Terror

Jen's Notebook

The Circle of Veterinary Life

  I never intended to work in veterinary medicine.  Although at one point in my childhood, I did want to be a veterinarian.  Doesn’t everyone?   I pursued an education in English and writing, but when a veterinary receptionist opportunity presented itself, I applied – mostly because I needed a job.  Starting at a smaller practice… Continue reading The Circle of Veterinary Life

Feline Healthcare · Life with Cats

Getting Old Ain’t for Sissies

A few weeks ago, Smudge hit a rough patch.  At 16 years, 9 months, and a few days, he is my most long-lived pet.  He’s also a mere shadow of his former dumpster cat self. Despite his feral roots and particularly shy nature, he was always the more curious and adventurous one.  He was more… Continue reading Getting Old Ain’t for Sissies

Feline Healthcare · Life with Cats

Litter Box Blues

Your eyes are not deceiving you.  That is a real-life, honest to God picture of cat litter on the header of my page.  If you’re going to write about cats, litter box talk is a must.  Strange as it may seem, cats are very particular about their bathrooms.  Litter box size, placement, and number of… Continue reading Litter Box Blues

Adventures in Management

Help Wanted, Inquire Within

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Due to an unfortunate turn of events, I find myself once again searching for another team member.  The hiring process is, in a word, exhausting.  The time and effort involved in finding the perfect fit (or the perfect compromise) is both time consuming and grueling.  The first few times I assisted my supervisor with hiring, it seemed ‘fun’.  With one sheet of paper you can learn everything about someone — their address, email, work history, education, and skill set. Sounds easy, right?  My first two new hires were experienced, outgoing, professional ladies who meshed well with the rest of the team.  The best part?  They both still work with me.  Every other person hired after that has been a dud.  Veterinary experienced, customer service oriented, dependable, go-getter, enthusiastic team player, dedicated animal lover didn’t matter one bit.  For one reason or another, these six people (maybe?  I’ve lost count) just didn’t work out.

Please understand that reception isn’t for everyone.  Most people may assume we chat on the phone and play with puppies all day.  But my job isn’t like that at all.  It’s juggling ringing phones and temperamental office equipment.  It’s learning a new software system during the busiest time of the year.  It’s dealing with clients of every shape, size, ethnicity, professional and financial status.  It’s not only listening to a client’s question or problem, but working to find a solution. It’s being a helpful, smiling, shiny, happy person at all times.

A veterinary receptionist wears many hats:  telephone operator, greeter, message taker, product sales consultant, educator, grief counselor, appointment setter, data entry clerk, client advocate, cashier, medical records specialist, hostess, and custodian.  The things we do — or don’t do — can make or break a client’s experience at our facility.  Because we have the most contact with clients, we are the ‘face’ of the business.  We are…  BHVH.  That’s a LOT of responsibility.  So finding someone who is a good fit is challenging.

As I’ve been weeding through stacks of resumes, making phone calls, and meeting with applicants, I’ve tried to keep things in perspective.  And not get my hopes up.  There will always be that person who has a magnetic personality but wants way more money than you can offer.  Or the new hire that fits in seamlessly, that everyone loves, but then ditches you via email.  Or the person who looks great on paper, has a great interview, but you end up firing them because they’re using the office equipment to look for a new job.

So what makes one person stick when another falls flat?  I think it comes down to the want to succeed.  Do you want to learn?  About dogs and cats, about medicine, products, and services?  Do you want to make someone’s day?  To help clients solve problems?  To help doctors and techs provide outstanding care?  Do you want to be challenged?  To feel like you made a difference?  Do you want to be part of a great team of veterinary client service professionals?

Serious inquiries only. Long-haired freaky people need not apply.

Client Service Confessions

How to Make a Connection with Clients (Without Really Trying)

My day hadn’t started off very well.  The team member who was to work the opening shift with me had called off sick.  I knew the appointment schedule was fairly light, so I wasn’t too worried.  But then I had a near-accident on the drive to work.  By the time I clocked in and walked… Continue reading How to Make a Connection with Clients (Without Really Trying)