My 6-month-old puppy was spayed yesterday, an action that was traumatic for her (and me!), but in the scheme of things, very ordinary. There were no complications and after a few hours, they sent her on her way.

It was routine surgery and I’m sure any vet in town could have performed it in essentially the same way. But what set my vet apart was that in addition to the pills and wound-care instructions, Emma came home with a letter that explained her experience:

Today was a very special day for me!…My day started when the veterinarian and the nurse made sure I was OK to have surgery. They looked me over carefully and then took some blood samples for tests…After this step, I was given some medication which made me feel a little sleepy. While I was relaxing, they told me I would soon fall asleep and, when I woke up, the surgery would be all done…They told me not to worry, because I would be given pain medicine before I even woke up, and they would also trim my nails while I was sleeping!…It seemed like only a few minutes but then I woke up and the nurse told me surgery was all over. I was kept warm and comfy with soft blankets, and the nurse called my family to tell them how everything went.

 These are [some of] the instructions from the veterinarian to help take care of me for the next few days:

  • Don’t let me lick or scratch at my incision site. If I can’t leave it alone, I may need an Elizabethan collar (the Cone of Shame!) to keep me away from it.
  • No bathing (yay!) or swimming for the next 7-10 days.

…So that was my big day! Everyone at Colonial Terrace Animal Hospital was very nice and made me feel special! They said my family is lucky to have me (and I know I am lucky to have them), and that I was a wonderful patient!

 I have had many dogs spayed over the years, and none of them have come home with anything but the standard, rote instructions. In fact, it seems that everything that requires directions comes with plain, technical language.

Why not take a few extra moments to make your communications memorable? Especially for situations like spay surgery that happen frequently, an investment up front can pay multiple dividends and help you become the Top Dog in your client’s mind.

About the Author leadership dots by dr. beth triplett

Dr. beth triplett is the owner of leadership dots, offering coaching, training and consulting for new supervisors. She also shares daily lessons on her leadershipdots blog. Her work is based on the leadership dots philosophy that change happens through the intentional connecting of small steps in the short term to the big picture in the long term.

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