What Makes a Good Veterinary Receptionist?

It is no secret that a veterinary receptionist position can be one of the most demanding, yet rewarding positions to have. While there is no perfect list of qualifications that a veterinary receptionist should have, there are certain qualities that make some better at this job than others. Let’s dive in and look at qualities of a good  veterinary receptionist.

Patience – not only with people, but with animals as well. 

If you want to thrive as a veterinary receptionist, you will need to work well with people and animals, of course. One of the key attributes of someone who works well with others is patience. This is especially true with animals as it is not as easy communicating with them. When animals are scared or in pain, they may not be as compliant as they otherwise might be. It is so important to make them feel safe and comfortable, and you can do this by being patient with them when they enter the clinic. Similarly, a pet parent may not be as organized as others. It is your job to keep a calm, professional attitude and clearly explain anything they may be uncertain or unsure about. The key to this is patience. 

You may not be a good fit for this role if you are easily irritated or have a short temper. 

Multitasking & Organization 

A veterinary receptionist is responsible for answering phone calls, updating appointments, checking in and checking out patients, sending out invoices, and much much more. It is only fair to assume that at times you may be juggling multiple tasks at once. This is why it is so very important to be well organized. A messy desk and work area leads to messy results and mistakes. If you have a proper organization system in place, it can help you prioritize tasks and complete any pending ones. Make a checklist, if you need it. Find any system that works best for you to help you keep the most organized. This is especially relevant since more often than not, you will be multitasking. You may be answering a call when a patient walks in to check in. You will need to put the caller on hold while you check in the patient and then maybe while doing that the veterinary team asks you to reach out to another client. Don’t forget you still have the caller on hold as well. Keeping a list of things to be done and prioritizing clients will help you cross off your checklist and ensure all clients and patients are followed up with and taken care of.

You may not be a good fit if you are easily stressed by multiple tasks or are unorganized. 

Excellent Communicator

In today’s world, we communicate with others via phone, email, text and in person. Many veterinary clinics even offer an online portal to connect with their vet team. It is important to have strong communication skills to properly relay messages from the veterinary clinic team to clients to ensure that the patient needs are being properly met. Effective communication avoids any miscommunication, of course, but also prevents wasting future time with more follow up phone calls, messages, etc. It is important to be concise, clear and thorough. You will not only be communicating with clients, but vendors and suppliers, other clinics, and most importantly, your own team! Proper communication among teammates is crucial in ensuring that all tasks are handled, clients have been followed up with and medical records and appointments are properly updated. To be an excellent communicator you have to not only communicate your own thoughts and ideas, but also listen well. Half of communication is active listening and retention.

This may not be a good fit for you if you are easily distracted and cannot follow or offer directions clearly. 

There are many other qualities of a good veterinary receptionist, but these three are the keys to a successful and purposeful role at any veterinary clinic. If you ever feel overwhelmed, take a deep breath and try to prioritize your tasks. Lastly, it never hurts to ask for help! That is the biggest perk of working with a team: being able to help each other in any capacity for the success of your patients!

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