The Cranky Client

August 22, 2016

Many vet nurses have to deal with angry or unhappy clients from time to time, and it's never easy. But if you know what to say and know how to say it, you may be able to save the situation.


1) Adjust

Once you are aware the client is unhappy with a particular situation, and then you will need to adjust and put yourself in their situation.

By doing this, it will prevent you from taking the situation personally or making you feel that the client is behaving unfairly.

At this point, you realize that the client is upset and it is up to you to resolve it.


2) Listen

Listen to what the client is saying. Don’t interrupt and don’t debate. The client wants to be heard.

Ask why the client is upset and never jump to conclusions about what has happened and never use excuses. The ‘We were understaffed that day’ means nothing to the client and that is not the clients fault and this could aggravate the situation to another level.


3) Paraphrase

This is when you repeat their concerns. This also says that you have been listening to what they have been saying and you are clarifying. Remain calm whilst repeating the problem as can help lower their anger levels.


4) Empathise

Everyone wants to be heard and understood. You don’t know peoples private circumstances, so it is encouraged that you use empathy.


5) Solution

The client now wants a solution. The solution could be that you will need to pass the problem over to management – whist explaining that even though you understand the situation presented, you are unfortunately not in a position to rectify it. There will be times when management will need to step in.

Other times you can rectify the situation yourself by presenting another option – perhaps a cheaper alternative if the problem is money related.


6) Action

If the client wants a phone call, then you must phone them back and give the time of when you will do it. A ‘sometime today’ will not be acceptable to an enraged client. ‘Between 3pm and 6pm’ is acceptable. This is showing that you are putting the clients needs above all else and make sure you do contact them in that time frame.


Nurses need to find the cause of the problem and to fix the problem as quickly as possible.


By using the correct techniques, you will ensure a happy outcome for all involved.



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