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A Letter to My Vet (Rant)

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  • A Letter to My Vet (Rant)

    Dear Vet,

    I have been your client for many years, always paid my bills on time, and always have been understanding about how things happen with horses and schedules change. Recently something negative happened and we need to talk.

    On March 3, I had you out to draw Coggins on 10 horses. It was uneventful, not much to draw because most are all line backed duns, and I provided you with my spreadsheet of names, ages, breed, and gender. I have been getting my Coggins drawn in early March for ages because the shows start mid to late March. I like being prepared.

    So why was it that 10 vials of blood sat in your frig until March 14? How come it was only when I called to ask where my Coggins were, that there was some ah-ha moment about the blood? Is it normal to hold blood draws for Coggins for this length of time? I appreciate that the vet likes to draw meticulous pictures of the markings. There's not much to draw with line-backed duns, so how long can it take?

    And I was gracious about it. I do have a horse going to a show on March 17 that needs a Coggins, but the other 9 do not. They do not need to be expedited, just one. And there is no need to do special delivery -- just send me a scan of the Coggins for the one horse and I'm good. So this happy solution is agreed upon.

    So March 16 rolls around. No scan. No answer to the office manager's cell phone. No response to emails. Nada zip. Why would I have a very bad feelings about the Coggins paperwork? Finally only after calling the emergency line, do I get another vet who says, don't worry, I'll have it to you tomorrow.

    It's now tomorrow and I will be leaving for my farm. Who knows if the Coggins will be there. I would certainly not lay a bet on it. At this point, I am so burnt out over trying to get a Coggins that I don't want to go to the show.

    So my dear vet, may I suggest that you need to look at how your practice is organized around mundane things like getting samples to the lab. Maybe you should by the photo software for the Coggins if drawing markings seems too time consuming. Maybe you need a protocol for when and how to get blood samples to the lab. Maybe you need to train office staff to be alert for potential problems, like Coggins taking 2 weeks to process. Maybe your staff should be trained to contact customers to say, "Hey we have had an glitch on our end, and now we are doing X." Maybe they need to be trained to follow through on whatever the agreed upon solution is and if it changes, let the customer know.

    I'm in a business that needs customers. I have learned that it is easier to keep a customer than to have to go find a new one. We all make mistakes. When it happens you need to fix the mistakes. The fix has been handled as badly as the original error. It certainly has shaken my trust in your practice.
    Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
    http://www.ironwood-farm.com

  • #2
    Entropy catching up with your vet:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entropy...rmation_theory)

    Ever read Kafka's "The Process"?

    Some times, that is the way the world seems to run.
    I am afraid your quest for that Coggins paper is a good example of that.

    Nothing to be done there, hope you wake up and it was all a bad dream, the paper was after all delivered and sits in your show folder, ready to go.

    Comment


    • #3
      If this happened every year I would be looking for services elsewhere but because it's a one time deal of them dropping the ball I wouldn't be too angry. Perhaps the staff member who prepares the samples for shipping was gone and I suspect the staff has been given a stern talking to by the vet.

      The practice where I worked switched to digital coggins this year and so far it is working out nicely. We started with Global Vet Link but the fees charged to the practice were pricey so the veterinarians are using a different digital coggins provider.

      Hope they got the one that you needed for this weeked done!

      Comment


      • #4
        I had coggins drawn on my three in early February. I called a few days ago and was told that he mailed them a long time ago and he would send me out the copies. I am still waiting. I have three shows I am waiting to enter.
        McDowell Racing Stables

        Home Away From Home

        Comment


        • #5
          Yup, a great vet is only as good as his office staff. That is the role of the office manager - to manage the day to day operations. I've found that the smaller practices seem to have more problems. If your vet owns the practice, then have a talk directly with him about the problem. If he doesn't, don't complain to him, go directly to owner or office manager.

          I used to run the Coggins test in the state lab, many years ago. I believe the antibodies to EIA are fairly stable but at almost 2 weeks in the fridge? I checked the NY requirements and samples must be submitted within 5 days.

          Check your state regulations to see if the test is still valid.

          ET
          You'll always miss 100% of the shots you don't take. - Wayne Gretsky

          Comment


          • #6
            My vet's office is what I would consider a small practice and they are fabulous.

            Sorry this happened - how annoying to have a major issue over something as simple as Coggins tests.
            2016 RRP Makeover Competitor www.EnviousBid.com

            Comment


            • #7
              I read that the number one reason that a patient or client leaves a medical service provider (vet or human doc) is the gatekeepers. The office staff, assistants and their efficiency and attitude really make a difference. When you have to fight to get appointments, have huge wait times for stuff that shouldn't take long, and end up waiting endlessly for call backs or other services then many people walk to the next provider.
              You can't fix stupid-Ron White

              Comment


              • #8
                It is common to send the samples out in a batch once a week. I would suspect that the person who sends them out may have been out ill. Not that it excuses things, but I do understand how it could have happened.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I say, anyone may make mistakes, including vet offices, that is unavoidable.

                  What will determine if they are a good provider is that they get on top of them and make them right.

                  Or start with the excuses and promises that are never sufficient or even right to address the mistakes.

                  Then move on to someone more professional all around.
                  If they don't do right by mistakes that the clients catch, what else are they not doing right, is what I wonder.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bluey View Post
                    I say, anyone may make mistakes, including vet offices, that is unavoidable.

                    What will determine if they are a good provider is that they get on top of them and make them right.
                    Exactly, to err is human, to put an error right is a business' chance to shine in their customer service. If you compound an F'up with failure to rectify the people will vote with their feet.
                    "He's not even a good pathological liar." Mara

                    "You're just a very desperate troll, and not even a good one. You're like middle-school troll at best. Like a goblin, not even a troll." et_fig

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Please send a very poilte version (not saying this one is not polite, but a formal contructive version) of this to your vet practice's owner and to the office manager. Everyone needs reminders sometimes that their jobs depend on their customers. I came from the sales world to the vet world and have gone from "customers" to "clients." They are all still customers though. No matter how long someone has gone to school, or how amazing they are at their jobs if no one calls for their services, they are out of a job. The office staff can not make this right if the Dr didn't so something simple, like sign them. And they shouldn't throw the Dr under the bus and tell you that, they have to politely cover and try and get it done. If it was the office staff dropping the ball, they need to know that as well. Constructive criticism is just that - meant to be constructive to improve something. I am sorry you had this problem. Hopefully you got to enjoy your show.

                      Comment

                      • Original Poster

                        #12
                        Follow-up

                        The Coggins was there when I arrived at the farm this morning. Unfortunately it was the original (versus the scan that we had agreed upon) and I had no way to give the show secretary a copy. The very gracious show secretary took the information and asked me if I could send her a scan on Monday. That will do.

                        I have received an apology from the office manager, aka Mrs. Vet. I will be seeing Mr. Vet on Friday for a castration and preg check, and I think I can express myself constructively. He is not the issue; one of his other partners is the responsible party. His staff needs to operate better on this matter or at least tell people it will take 2 to 3 weeks to get their Coggins.

                        As for the show, we got there and had two nice tests in a schooling show. My Fjord was decorated with a green dorsal stripe for the occasion.
                        Where Norwegian Fjords Rule
                        http://www.ironwood-farm.com

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                          I will be seeing Mr. Vet on Friday for a castration and preg check, and I think I can express myself constructively. .
                          Lol, is it bad that my first thought reading this line was "gosh, castration is awfully harsh for messing up a coggins and a show schedule! Maybe she should just shoot him in the knee instead!" And then I read the rest of the sentence and realized you were (clearly, duh!) talking about the horses. *snort*

                          It's been a loooooong day.
                          If you love me let me go....

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post
                            The Coggins was there when I arrived at the farm this morning. Unfortunately it was the original (versus the scan that we had agreed upon) and I had no way to give the show secretary a copy. The very gracious show secretary took the information and asked me if I could send her a scan on Monday. That will do.

                            I have received an apology from the office manager, aka Mrs. Vet. I will be seeing Mr. Vet on Friday for a castration and preg check, and I think I can express myself constructively. He is not the issue; one of his other partners is the responsible party. His staff needs to operate better on this matter or at least tell people it will take 2 to 3 weeks to get their Coggins.

                            As for the show, we got there and had two nice tests in a schooling show. My Fjord was decorated with a green dorsal stripe for the occasion.
                            I would still ask about the efficacy of the test after storing the blood for so long. I would be worried that the results would not be valid.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              LOL alittlegrey - go to bed - you have some catching up with sleep to do.
                              from sunridge1 Go get 'em Roy! Stupid clown shoe nailing, acid pouring bast@rds.

                              Comment


                              • #16
                                Originally posted by Abberlaze View Post
                                I would still ask about the efficacy of the test after storing the blood for so long. I would be worried that the results would not be valid.
                                Actually the results would be very accurate for the day they were drawn. That is what every coggins is good for. The day they were drawn.

                                Comment


                                • #17
                                  Originally posted by IronwoodFarm View Post


                                  As for the show, we got there and had two nice tests in a schooling show. My Fjord was decorated with a green dorsal stripe for the occasion.
                                  Congrats on the show

                                  I have received an apology from the office manager, aka Mrs. Vet.
                                  I'd also be requesting a credit note or adjustment to my bill - I'm surprised no offer of such was made

                                  Comment


                                  • #18
                                    Ironwoodfarm: The Coggins was there when I arrived at the farm this morning. Unfortunately it was the original (versus the scan that we had agreed upon) and I had no way to give the show secretary a copy. The very gracious show secretary took the information and asked me if I could send her a scan on Monday. That will do.
                                    2 weeks does seem to be an awfully long time to get back the results of a Coggins test. I'm a bit spoiled though as my vet is a state approved lab so our turnaround time was like 24 hours. In this age of technology there is no reason for not emailing copies of a test if time is of the essence. Did you tell vet that you had shows lined up and needed Coggins expedited? If not, vet has not idea what your schedule is. There is however, no excuse of their lack of response to your inquiries about the Coggins. A simple phone call or email response saying lab was backed up or something - nothing is worse than a lack of response/silence IMO.

                                    I'm not sure why making copies for you to send to show secretaries is the responsibility of your vet though. You can get a multi-function printer for about $60

                                    Comment


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by gottagrey View Post
                                      I'm not sure why making copies for you to send to show secretaries is the responsibility of your vet though. You can get a multi-function printer for about $60
                                      Only because it was their screw-up that created the situation. The customer couldn't make a copy on the office machine I'm sure she already owns because the vet didn't get the Coggins to her in a timely manner. That was the vet's chance to go the extra mile to make it at least a little bit more right. They didn't bother - or didn't have enough of a customer-service mindset to think of it.

                                      Occasionally a service provider gets so wound up in their own insular world of their office, their tasks and duties, that they forget the world of their customers, and their customer's needs. I don't know if this is what happened. But providing good service to someone who uses a vet for their show horses means being always conscious of how their service affects the customer's world of showing horses. That's the best customer service. People who think that is annoying, or who remain unaware, do not belong in customer service.

                                      Comment


                                      • #20
                                        yawn.. who cares. Why is there a need to tell online? Deal with it and spare us all.
                                        The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.

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