How to make your emergency curbside visits as productive as in-person visits

As we all know, most US veterinary clinics converted to curbside visits in 2020. Over the past approximately 2 years, most clinics have reopened their doors to in-person visits. However, many practices, especially emergency and specialty hospitals, have remained curbside or adopted a hybrid approach, using a mixture of curbside and in-clinic visits. In addition, many clients who are immunocompromised, are still concerned about COVID exposure, or simply prefer non-contact appointments, choose curbside visits or outside visits, if offered, even if the practice has returned to in-person appointments. It seems that curbside visits are here to stay, so it is imperative that veterinarians are comfortable with curbside communication.

The first moments of an emergency room visit can be stressful and confusing for pet owners, so presenting a reassuring manner and instilling confidence is critically important. The initial curbside phone call may be the first and only interaction the veterinarian will have with a client, so establishing trust quickly is key. However, building trust can be compromised by curbside interaction. Up to 55% of communication is nonverbal, so we need to work harder than usual when interacting with pet owners over the phone. Knowing how to effectively communicate without the use of nonverbal cues is an essential skill.

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