'How much you care' is the heart of building a brand in veterinary medicine. Numerous studies have examined what criteria clients value most when they select a veterinarian. In almost all cases, 'competence' is the top-rated quality that clients want in their veterinarian. What is competence? When you explore this question further with animal owners, many adjectives are put forth. 'Skilled', 'gets the job done', 'smart', 'knows what to do', 'delivers the desired outcome', and many other descriptions emerge. In reality, competence is difficult to judge from a client perspective, especially when evaluating technical capabilities. Most clients don't have the ability to decipher true clinical skill. Their view of competence is more about confidence and communication than it is about true clinical ability.
The next 8 highest rated criteria that are important to clients include 'how they handle my animal', 'communication skills', 'listening skills of the veterinarian', 'doctor performance', 'cleanliness of facilities and equipment', 'professionalism', and 'medical outcome'. All of these criteria are what can be considered crucial veterinary interpersonal skills. Together these qualities tell clients how much you care! If a doctor doesn't handle a patient with care, respect, and kindness, it sends a direct message to the client that they do not care. If the doctor isn't a good listener, or if the facility isn't clean, the message clients get is 'they don't care'. If the medical outcome isn't positive, but the situation is handled with utmost integrity, care, and professionalism, the client will usually still feel that you did everything you could and they will appreciate that. If you convey lack of care, then the negative medical outcome will be exacerbated by your lack of caring.
Therefore, when you are building your brand, ensure that everything your team does conveys how much you care! This concept is the centerpiece of building a strong veterinary brand.