President’s Weekly Update (PWU) – Leading A Culture of Service Excellence

Hello AVMA members!  Last week I attended the Wisconsin Veterinary Medical Association meeting.  This one is special because it is my home state.  Their keynote speaker for the convention was Dennis Snow, a 20 year veteran of the Walt Disney Company.  He knows service excellence.  He had a number of key points I want to share with you, because they apply to our practices and to organizations, including our state VMAs, allied organizations, and the AVMA.  He asked us, when you went to DisneyWorld, what do you remember that impressed you so much?    Most people don’t say the top quality million dollar rides they built, but rather the cleanliness and friendliness.  It seems like that would also apply to our practices – clients don’t always remember our great medical or surgical skills, but they do remember the appearance and the friendliness.  Lessons to learn…..

  • Turn routine tasks into memorable Experiences.
  • Make members (or clients) feel valued rather than processed.
  • He had FOUR main points:
  1. Look at EVERYTHING through the eyes of the customer.  Improve mediocre service with EXCELLENT service.
  2. Pay attention to the details.  EVERYTHING speaks!  Remove distractions.  If “backstage” discussions come to the front stage, the brand suffers. 
  3. Create small moments of WOW.  The little wows are even more memorable than having to do anything astronomical.  Consumers expect accuracy and availability when needed.  We get no extra points for accuracy or availability because that is expected (although we do lose points for not being accurate or available).    However, if we create partnerships with our members and clients and give advice to them so as to TEACH them something, that all earns loyalty. (I would assume this applies to many areas, including our media contacts, etc.)  What behaviors can we initiate to ensure these four qualities > Accuracy, Availability, Partnerships, and Advice (or Learning)?
  4. Know what frustrates customers (members) and do something about it.  Discuss frustrations of customers at a meeting at least quarterly and how to solve those customer frustrations.  Brands are fragile.  Everyone must be on board with excellent service.

Dennis Snow spoke at the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference last January and is an outstanding speaker.  Please read the blog about the AVMA Veterinary Leadership Conference just posted here on AVMA@Work on October 21.  The AVMA VLC is open to anyone interested in coming.  Register at  You will meet great people and have a whole new look at our profession and the AVMA.  We are a new AVMA and we need your input and leadership!! 

Next week?  Economic strategy update and my radio panel interview on the Zanesville OH tragedy.

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