Why Have You Fired a Client?
EVT asked these three veterinarians why they’ve had to fire a client and what happened.
Douglas Mader, MS, DVM, DABVP, Marathon Veterinary Hospital, Marathon, FL
Immediate Past President of NAVC
I always toil when I am faced with the decision to fire a client. That said, I remember one instance when no thought was needed. An abrasive individual was shouting at my receptionist. After his initial lambaste, the miscreant yelled, “You stupid @#$%!” My first impulse was to invite him outside and have a discussion about manners. Fortunately, I realized that would likely end my career. Instead, I politely asked him to leave or I would call the police. I told him to never, ever set foot in my hospital again. A month later, I received a complaint from my State Ethics Board for refusing care to this man’s pet.
Colleen Murray, DVM, Katy Trail Animal Hospital, Dallas, TX
I once fired a client because he had behaved very aggressively with people in the parking lot. He’d gunned his car while backing out just to scare them…then he actually bumped into them! Later over the phone, he said he couldn’t recall the event, but multiple witnesses had confirmed the incident. I indicated that if our hospital was causing him some anxiety, and there wasn’t anything we could do to help, perhaps another place would be best for him. In these circumstances, I always tell my staff to first take a deep breath, and then use your EQ (emotional intelligence) and good judgment to decide if the situation can be resolved.
Kevin Sheehy, DVM, Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital, Los Gatos, CA
Firing a client doesn’t happen often in our field. When a difficult situation arises, it tends to be an upset client who’s very disrespectful to our receptionists or technicians, yet is very nice to the doctor in order to get his or her way. Initially we try to discuss the situation and give the individual the benefit of the doubt. If that recourse fails, we indicate the relationship is not going to work unless the ENTIRE staff is treated with respect. At Los Gatos Dog and Cat Hospital, we work hard to be a team and to support each other as a team.