Where the Time Goes


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Solutions that will allow our veterinary customers time to focus on the things that keep getting pushed back due to the day-to-day grind.

It is hard to believe that we are in the thick of the holiday season for 2022! Maybe this is just me showing my age. As the saying goes, “The older you get, the faster time seems to go by.” Regardless, I can attest that 2022 seemed to fly by.

It has been hypothesized that there is a direct correlation between the time that an event takes relative to your age and experience. Let’s say 10-year-olds view a year in their life as 10% of their existence. That is a major portion of their life. Yet 60-year-olds would only view a year in their life as 2% of their existence. Some say that we gauge time by memorable events, and fewer new things occur as we age, making it seem that in childhood, things lasted longer. Because the 60-year-old has experienced many of the common things that transpire in a year over and over again, we can start to sense how we get our warped or changing perception of time.

Time crunch

As a child experiencing things for the first time, almost everything can be new and exciting. Once one has experienced something several times, it often becomes less exciting. Think of your work life. Of course, there may be days at work that seem to drag on forever, but when you review the year as a whole, the older you get, the faster the days probably seem to go by. What can we do to recapture the awe and sense of wonderment that seems to make things more enjoyable and last longer? Is it possible?

We have customers that are providing services in an industry where time does not stand still for anyone. Every client that walks through our customers’ doors is operating on his or her time frame. Being respectful and accommodating to all those time frames while remaining effective and professional can be a real challenge.

I’ve had many veterinarians tell me of things they would like to accomplish in their practices, only to hear them also confide that they can’t seem to get ahead of the day-to-day. A companion animal veterinarian’s day is often spent in 15-minute increments, with each client having a specific time slot for an appointment. Each client also has his or her perception of the time frame parameters for the visit to the vet. If everything goes well when the time frames are met, the veterinarian is on to the next client, and the client is free to leave. The reality is that very few days go precisely according to plan or a rigid schedule. This is what keeps veterinarians from being able to do some of the things that they “want” to do – they are too busy doing what they “have” to do for their clients and their patients.

Questions to think about

How can you help your customers find time? Is there anything you can provide that will allow the vet and their staff the freedom to focus more on their patients and less on the day-to-day of the business? Is there anything that you can provide that may assist with the long-term plans of the veterinarian for their business growth?

These are the questions that we should be thinking about as we approach the end of this year. “How do I help my customer succeed in 2023?” How do I make it not just meaningful but memorable so that it is one of the bright spots in a year that will most likely fly by just like all the others?

We can focus on topics that are relevant for the time of year. We can make sure that our customers are prepared for the influx of garbage gut cases: the animals that are either too good at begging for extra treats and table scraps from holiday visitors or are too naughty when it comes to leaving holiday sweets and foods alone.

Pet travel is another timely topic, with kennel cough vaccinations, calming aids for travel, and vaccination boosters becoming a focus.

Wintertime alone can be hard on aging pets. Exposure to the cold, stiffening joints, arthritis flare-ups, and more can all be challenging for aging pets to deal with this time of year.

And don’t forget that dental month is just around the corner. These are all important topics for the season that we should be preparing our customers for and detailing ways for them to prepare their clients.

Helping our customers with the day-to-day is what we do. This is part of our role, and we get better at it with more experience. I believe that we should also be presenting opportunities to our customers that will be viewed as exciting: opportunities that will allow our veterinary customers time to focus on the things that keep getting pushed back due to the day-to-day details.

These can be those gems that cut through the normality of the day-to-day and position you as the partner they need. Discussions about online ordering, pre-booking or scheduling deliveries of common-use items, promotions that lock in pricing or give rebates preventing the need to shop around, and any other time/money-saving opportunity that you can provide can all be framed as ways to give them back time.

Present the opportunity and then dare to daydream with your clients, not just about the time that they could save, but help them think about what they could be doing with that extra time. What is on their bucket list that they have not yet been able to accomplish?

Creating a conversation about time and where things could be improved, coupled with information on helpful opportunities, positions you as the partner that can deliver some extra time to your customer.


Photo credit: istockphoto.com/GoodLifeStudio



Todd Brodersen is President of Same Page Consulting Inc.