TRANSCRIPT – PAWS CLAWS WET NOSES VETERINARY PODCAST – 043 – Jocelyn Birch Baker – Smooth Operating Vets – part 2

[00:00:00] Julie South: welcome to episode 43 of paws claws, and wetnoses, the veterinary sector podcast, celebrating all creatures great and small. And the fantabulous professionals who look after them all. I’m your show host Julie south. If you’re listening to this and God’s own,Aotearoa New Zealand, while we’re in alert level four a lockdown, doing our best to contain the enemy called COVID 19 Delta, I pray that you and everyone who’s precious to you, a safe well, and.

[00:00:41] Free of infection. I’m hearing that there are some clinics around the country where the bubbles have been upset, a Ted where people have been at bits and [00:01:00] Fitness’s staff have been at places. Interest locations of interest. So yeah, he is thinking of you, if you haven’t yet been vaccinated. I hope that the wait times for you too long, either I’ve been fully vaccinated for a while.

[00:01:17] Now, as I mentioned last week, my husband’s a pilot, which meant that as an airport worker, he was one of the first cohorts to get called up. And by default, I was. I’m a bit of a wuss when it comes to needles. So I had to ask him to hold my hand while I got the shot. And wow. I swear that the first, the first Jeb I got the first nurse was aiming to make it, to, to get into qualification for the New Zealand Olympic dance team, because boy did it hurt.

[00:01:50] Whereas the second one, I never felt a thing. . And I’m proud to doing my little bit here in God’s zones, fight against the enemy [00:02:00] that we’re calling Dell. Anyway, back to Dr. Jocelyn Birch baker of smooth operating vets. This is episode two of two, where Dr. Jocelyn, who’s a veterinarian, a clinic owner of high street, or the clinic owner of high street, veterinary surgery in Rockhampton, Queensland and mother, and the founder of smooth operating.

[00:02:24] Continues sharing how veterinary clinics can embrace working moms into their practices to create a smooth operating veterinary clinic. If you haven’t yet listened to episode 42, I recommend that you go back and listen to that one because it gives you a bit more context and background for today’s show.

[00:02:49] And this episode we’re picking up from last week where Justin starts talking about her eight week smooth operating bits business model for embracing and retaining [00:03:00] pat timers and veterinary clinic. And as you’ll be able to guess from some of the background noise, we recorded this during Jocelyn’s clinic hours and Rockhampton different time zone there too.

[00:03:13] Where I was, it was getting a bit dark here. Hopefully you won’t find it too distracting.

[00:03:22] Bryan Gregor: An old vet told my father when he was a student in Glasgow. He said, if you want to be a success in veterinary practice, just keep the bowels open and just arrested. God. Nutrition is not an opinion. It’s a science.

[00:03:36] They called me that weird herbal needle. That, and I, I just remember thinking. Well, I’m still gonna do it cause I know it works and I’ve got the research to back it. Um, reminiscences of the real James Harriet son to Pitt nutrition, to acupuncture the vet podcast, discusses current animal health issues from around the world on veterinarian, Brian greeter from New Zealand, just search for the vet podcast, wherever you [00:04:00] get your podcasts,

[00:04:04] Julie South: paws, claws and wet noses is sponsored by Vetstar. If you’ve never heard of it, staff it’s new, Zealand’s only full service recruitment agency. 100% dedicated to the veterinary sector and Fitz staff has been around since 2015 and works nationwide from Kate, rehang it to the bluff and everywhere in between as well as helping Kiwis fit staff.

[00:04:29] Also helps overseas, qualified veterinarians find work Aotearoa New Zealand. again today, Jocelyn shares lots about what she does. Some of the lessons that she’s learned along the way, what works and what doesn’t work. And like last week, I’ll put all links about how you can get hold of Jocelyn at paws claws with noses dot F M.

[00:04:59] And this [00:05:00] is episode 43. Because Jocelyn does cover a lot. Like this is chock full of information. I’ll also run a quick summary for you. So stay tuned to the end. And here we are. We’re stepping into the conversation where I ask Jocelyn about smooth operating vets business model. So Jocelyn you have a, a model, is that a business model for helping clinics supporting clinics too, to be able to have part-timers that work, whether it works for the clinic and it works for the part-timer.

[00:05:40] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Yep. Yep. So there’s. Feel programmed. And during that, we look at what you’ve got now, what you want to achieve and then how to achieve that goal with, um, with graduates. I’m really interested in upskilling the money. Um, getting their confidence back, um, [00:06:00] upscaling them, getting back into practice, having a really good onboarding practice so that they can hit the ground, hit the floor running within two or three weeks because these are experienced.

[00:06:10] They know what they’re doing. They know how to manage a client life skills. That you wouldn’t believe looking after a little one, like they know how to negotiate the head to control what’s going on in a chaotic environment. If they need to and just settle everything down and move on. They, yeah, they have really skilled people.

[00:06:28] Julie South: And how long has smooth operating vets been?

[00:06:33] Jocelyn Birch Baker: I’ve been probably mostly this year. I’d been able to get out of the clinic more now that it’s running smoothly and I’ve got the more vets coming in and I’ve got Jamie as a practice manager doing so much more of that review, work, the paperwork, all that sort of stuff.

[00:06:51] So mostly this year, I haven’t really got any clients yet. Right.

[00:06:56] Julie South: So this that’s what principals and. [00:07:00] Practice managers and owners listening to this. We’ll put the contact details on how you can get a hold of Jocelyn on the website for this episode. But Jocelyn, how does somebody get hold of you? They can email me directly

[00:07:22] Oh yeah. Pop onto the webpage. Pop onto Facebook. Yeah, message me. And let me have a chat with you and we can talk about. What you’re looking for so that we can do something together to get those pathways in place and get these moms back. Okay. Right. So, and I’ll put the links as well into the show notes for this episode.

[00:07:43] I just want to, I’m going to throw you a question that you might not be able to answer straight away. I’ve noticed you have reframed a couple of times you, one was when. Somebody comes to you and says, a [00:08:00] woman comes to you and says, I’m pregnant and you get excited about it. Or somebody says, you know, all they want to do is, is run out the door because they’ve got childcare, but you have you’ve, you’ve changed your language and you actually embrace the, everything that is wonderful about being a working mum.

[00:08:24] So those are a couple I’ve heard already. Is, do you have a dictionary that you use at your clinic to make sure that, that your whole team supports and word’s everything in the positive?

[00:08:41] Jocelyn Birch Baker: I think we do. I think we do. We have our five and their rules set up by me. Our first rule would be the intent is. So that everybody knows that everybody else is really trying to do the right thing.

[00:08:57] They’re not, they haven’t done [00:09:00] something odd because they want to be mean or anything that just doesn’t happen. They really wanted to make this thing work really well. This thing happened really well. We care about the animals, the clients, the clinic, each other. The second one is there’s no blame policy.

[00:09:15] So if something goes wrong, we look at the systems. Have I not taught you properly? Have I not shown you how to do this? Where you. Was the phone ringing, whatever, what do we need to do to change this? So this doesn’t happen again. If it’s a problem, we have a no swearing policy and I know people might think that’s a bit prudish, but it’s not, it reduces the, the tone, the nasty, any nastiness sneaking in.

[00:09:38] Yeah. Yeah. Well, that’s what I feel anyway. And the last one is every animal deserves to come in. And be looked at by one of our veterinarians and that’s money for reception so that they know that we welcome animals and people in all the time. But that, that sort of sets up the tone of the clinic. Oh no disrespectful behavior.

[00:09:59] That’s [00:10:00] that’s the other one. It’s just not to happen. And you can call it out. If someone, if you say something to someone and they roll their eyes at you, you can say, oh, you just rolled your eyes up. Why, if something’s happening, they can come to Jamie or I, if they’re not comfortable speaking to this person, and often I say to them, sometimes you don’t actually speak to them right then and there because you might snap right back at them.

[00:10:22] Whereas you might not want to do that. You might want to talk to them an hour later at lunchtime and say, oh, remember when that dog nearly beat me and you rolled her eyes. I felt really uncomfortable about that. Can we talk about it? So that is hard to develop that level of trust and communication, but you got to keep at it.

[00:10:42] You got everything you do like menace, pleases, and thank yous all the time. It’s not that hard. Could you please do these? Can you do that for me? It’s um, yeah, we do use a lot of really positive language. And my theory probably behind that, that I figured out now is your thoughts become your words, become [00:11:00] your actions.

[00:11:01] And I think that’s very true. What is it? About high street vet surgery that enables you to be staffed. I really think it’s our culture, our positiveness, and our acceptance, that, and our value. We value people so much and want them to be a part. If they want to be a part of us, there’s certain things that they need to be and do so that we can keep functioning as a really good team.

[00:11:27] That’s where we find people who. Sued us and want to work with that friendship and that openness and that professionalism, five talking about it. Word of mouth is huge here in, in these regional areas. People hear about you. They look on your website, they look at your Facebook and go, oh yeah, that’s a nice positive place to work.

[00:11:48] Julie South: Let’s put that into context here and give it some, some comparison are some other clinics in Rockhampton. Or maybe [00:12:00] the environs struggling to find staff.

[00:12:03] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Yes, they are. I don’t know if they’re struggling, but I know their ads have been. Yeah, right. Yeah. Because it’s not just because it’s a nice place to live.

[00:12:12] Oh, Rockie is a nice place. You do find families or people move away to do their uni. And then they come back home to their family. People do gravitate back towards their family, especially once they start having their own family. And that happens. We find also people come to Rocky because their partner’s job is in Rocky and women.

[00:12:34] Again, it’s a cultural thing. Women follow the males career very often. That’s just the way it happens, but it benefits us so much. It’s just wonderful because these women just turn up and say, yeah, my kids are in school now. Can I come and do a couple of days? And how did you build up trust? And team respect and belonging.

[00:12:56] Julie South: Was it there when you took over and I’m presuming that maybe it wasn’t, [00:13:00] if you had a bit of an Exodus when you first started, but what did you do?

[00:13:07] Jocelyn Birch Baker: I learned, it was very hard to start with. I thought everybody thought like I did and wanted to do it like I did. And apparently they don’t, but that’s okay.

[00:13:16] I’ve realized that now. So I listen a lot. I talk, I am, I try and understand. I do tell stories. I think I use that a bit about my past and my history and this happened to me and then they’ll share a story. Oh, that happened to me and the effects that it had on them. So it’s this actual communicating and when we have social or social occasions, we invite the whole thing.

[00:13:43] So that we get to meet the partners and, and, you know, they’d been talking about this person and yeah, there he is in real life and it’s just grand and they meet you. Parents of many of our, our team will come in and make the clinic just so welcoming. [00:14:00] Welcome everybody in and just talk about stuff and sit there.

[00:14:03] And the real bonding thing is when you are with someone else and you do a tough job, you do a tough surgery or you’re there. Doing everything you can to save an animal. And, and that’s, that’s a gift that after hours we’ll bring that people don’t talk about it. You just really push yourself. You work hard.

[00:14:23] You, you, you. Trust yourself, you trust the person you’re working with and you pull that animals for, and that bonds people they know that they can work with and trust that other person through all sorts of things now, because that one’s through that together. So I think that’s really precious and that happens every day in the clinic, but also after hours.

[00:14:45] Julie South: How do you manage the team of pat timers? You, you talked about your, your cloud software system. So what, what CMS do you use?

[00:14:55] Jocelyn Birch Baker: We use easy bed and never looked back since the [00:15:00] dose started with easy bed. It’s just been wonderful. It’s a really good program. There’s plenty of places to write the things we use.

[00:15:06] A lot of templates . So that saves time you can just pop the template in. Yep. Yep, yep. Nope. And also there’s a communication section so that you can communicate. If someone phones you, you can put it on there. Yep. Spoke to Sally-Ann and she said, blah, blah, blah. And then the next bit goes, oh yeah, they’d been phoned everything’s sorted everything’s okay.

[00:15:26] Any pathology comes back through the system, so, you know, it’s arrived and you can, um, talk to the owners. Or memos. I’m not sure you can talk, you can set them up so you can talk to everybody. You can talk to management, you can talk to the beds, you talk to anyone. And there’s also, we use WhatsApp to talk to everybody, but that’s more of a social side of things.

[00:15:47] The practice management software, um, easy bit looks after the, the within clinic clinical work, the post on your Facebook page.

[00:15:56] Julie South: Do you have somebody dedicated to do Facebook updates or does [00:16:00] everybody do a bit of it?

[00:16:02] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Um, we do have someone do that for us now. I wasn’t a Facebook fan and I struggled with it.

[00:16:09] I just didn’t want to go there. It was all too hard to me, but then Jamie, our practice manager said, we need to do this to us and we need to connect with people. We need to do this. So she took it on board, did a brilliant job. She brought us up to wherever a thousand people. And that was great. And she was always asking the girls, just take a photo.

[00:16:26] I mean, technology’s wonderful. Isn’t it? You take the photo and Jamie’s go to it. And then she sends it on to the other lady. That’s dumb. So yeah, we use a company, I think they’re Australian way. He does, and she’s been doing a wonderful job, but, and she ran times our tone and our culture and our at quite specific ways that this, if there’s something that we think are prefer not to have that we just let her know and she doesn’t.

[00:16:47] Yeah. She just works with it. She’s great. It’s just been wonderful. Yeah. And the clients give us feedback that they’re just lovely. Cause, cause the voice and the tone is really important. So let’s talk about, and we have. [00:17:00] Talk a little bit. You talked about 10, I think you said 10 visits, 10 touch points, maternity leave, and returning to work.

[00:17:09] The different stages that mothers are. I guess women go through with their family care. How do you manage them? As they have their babies and go through maternity leave. So we manage that and the 10 touch points. They’re just keeping in touch days that it’s on WhatsApp when they just get by. We’re doing training, we’re doing something.

[00:17:35] Please come on. We also do have a dedicated person for each lady who has gone on to medic onto maternity leave. And so like a buddy system. Yes. They stay in touch with them much more like each week they know what’s going on, touch base with them. I also do this thing with people like clean houses. So when you have a baby, apparently it’s really hard to keep your [00:18:00] house clean.

[00:18:01] I don’t worry too much about things like that, but apparently people do, which is really good. And so I give the ladies 10 hours of house cleaning after they’ve had the baby so that they don’t have to stress over that because I think something like that really weighs in a lot of people’s minds. So yeah, someone comes and cleans the house.

[00:18:19] They’ll cook a meal or whatever needs to be done. For the girls. So that, that’s that small little thing too, to just take that pressure off them when they’re little, because they often don’t have family close by to, to be with them for that early part of the baby. How about when do you ever have babies or children in the clinic?

[00:18:40] Because the mother can’t find care or something goes, yeah. Phi. Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes. Yes. We’re a bit of a backup. Sometimes the partner can be backup. Sometimes they can’t. The issue we find is with daycare. If the child gets sick, daycare don’t want it. [00:19:00] We can’t have her the clinic because it’s sick.

[00:19:02] So mom has to take it home and she’s still paying daycare. Which gets a bit tough. So backup plans. Yeah. Babies in the clinic yet. Totally welcome to come to the meetings. Training sometimes could be a bit hard to have a baby yet, but pens of what, what is doing it for sleep? It’s fine. Jamie, actually I heard her say we did a review with one of our nurses and Jamie said, I’m really sorry that our training is ending.

[00:19:29] Late for you to leave. I will bring it back so that you can finish the training and then go home. So, you know, we do do an effort to make sure they get that training. Little, little baby grain. He’s he’s still fed. Say he and his dad will pop in during the day. He’ll go and have a feed, have a laugh with the girls.

[00:19:52] Just lifts your whole day to have a little baby just pop in the clinic and have a giggle. And off I go again, it is really something special. I [00:20:00] think we should appreciate. Yeah, it’s lovely. Yeah. Otherwise Casteel express and um, so you’d need a private space to be doing that as well. Yeah. Those little things are important.

[00:20:11] Julie South: Hey, have you got a dedicated, have you created like, like a family, a family room perhaps? Is anything dedicated?

[00:20:19] Jocelyn Birch Baker: No, no, we haven’t really, because we haven’t got the room, but being in all the cleaning, the girls are pretty relaxed about it and she’s quite happy just to be in the kitchen by herself. We do, we have set up one of the consult rooms so she can be in there if she chooses to, but she rather hang out with us than be stuck in a room by herself.

[00:20:39] Yeah. So yeah, it works quite well, but I would like to do that. How about, and let’s talk about the fact that over 80% of graduates in Australia are women and we’re losing people from clinical practice. What would you like to say about that? [00:21:00] I really, I think that’s why we need flexibility in our practices so that these women can come back and work part time.

[00:21:07] So if you’ve got eight out of 10, That are women and then 50% of those eight. So five out of those age have family. That’s five out of 10 women or people, vets that you’re not reaching when you just continue to advertise a full-time job because children, you have children. When you say 30 and they’re with you for a very long time, you need to have different needs, different ways of managing a workforce.

[00:21:39] And. The increase in productivity. I mean, they’d talk about it all the time with just getting women back into the workforce. The increase in GDP is tremendous if they get women back into the workforce, but they do need to support it by looking after the children in a really, really good way, because you’re not going to just leave your child and feel [00:22:00] unhappy about it and go to work.

[00:22:01] So, yeah, this is the demographics of it. 80% of women. The more vets you put out, you’re still going to have 80% being women. I would say it’s, it’s a terrific career for a woman. It just it’s ticks all the boxes for us. We care, we love animals. We love children. We love looking after the nurturing, all those sort of things as great.

[00:22:23] I think there’s a bit of an issue when women come back to practice at there. So I’m glad to be back at practice that they do not negotiate. Right. Uh, renumeration for what they’re worth are bringing so much to that practice, but they feel it’s, it’s the guilt thing I should be at home. I should be at work.

[00:22:43] I’m really lucky to be here that they will let me come and work here. And I think they, they walk in that door. They become a professional, they should be treated as such.

[00:22:56] Julie South: Maybe because I, I only have the experience that I [00:23:00] have and that is, I negotiate for all of my vets and my nurses. And I mean, the majority of them are women, but.

[00:23:11] I negotiate. So anybody coming through vet staff, they get a, a rem package, a remuneration package they’re honors and respect. Yes. And I, and I like to think that the clinics that I’m negotiating with, even though they don’t like putting their hands in their pockets, sometimes at the end of it, they are happy.

[00:23:35] They, they, they, they want. Managed to convince them that it’s important to them, that they love the team and that their teams feel loved. And one way we can do that as to give them as much as, as possible to give them, you know, without, without affecting the commercial viability or getting [00:24:00] everything. So out of whack with everybody else, I only know.

[00:24:04] Good deals. However, in saying that I do have vets and nurses coming to me, not on good deals that are being uh, it’s just, yeah. It’s yeah. Yeah. They ask you to negotiate for them. How this stuff works. Is that right? The, the clinics pay us. So the, if a clinic can get away without using vet staff services, then they will.

[00:24:35] But the moment a, a job seeker, an applicant comes to us and says, I want you to find me a job, or I’m applying for that job that you were advertising then straightaway. We are that person’s agent, we’re the bridge between the clinic and. The, the job seeker, we do it because like you’ve said, people, we don’t realize their worth and it’s [00:25:00] edgy.

[00:25:00] I don’t know whether I would be able to negotiate on behalf of me. You know, if I was applying for a job, even though I do this, not every day, but I do this every week and I’m a good, I like to think I’m a good negotiator, but would I be able to, to back myself the way I bet. Somebody else. I don’t know because it’s, it comes down to self-esteem and you know, not that I’m my self esteem is low, but I think we could all do with lifting our own.

[00:25:34] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Self-esteem so many times we’re so ready to bat for someone else that way. And the thing is, you know, that they would bet for you as well, which may. Just that for yourself too, but it’s it’s, I dunno, it’s how we are. Another thing about paying well is if you pay really well, you show you that’s that you really value them and they transfer that onto the owners.

[00:25:57] And then the owners start learning to value them as [00:26:00] well and pay their bills and understand that they are getting something very special here to look after them. Can we talk about that place? How, how.

[00:26:12] Julie South: Does it just magically happen or is it, you know, you pay a vet really well and somehow that happens or have you trained in, do you have a culture that, that somehow brings that about it?

[00:26:30] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Doesn’t just happen. One of them. That’s brought it very strongly to me. The lady that I bought the clinic from, she was a very good business woman. She kind of pushed off all the accounts. She only had a very few accounts. So I kept with that system, which was really great. And then, um, when I got the two dates, one of them was very adamant that people should pay well, because she’s doing a really good job.

[00:26:53] She works very hard and she does a really good job. The other vet picked that up as well. And I picked up on as well. So I’m totally [00:27:00] grateful. For her to step out there and say, no, no, we’re a good clinic. We do a really great job. We say that animals. And so it’s been a learning for all of us. And now all the rest of the staff are right there too.

[00:27:12] We pride ourselves on our work. We work hard. We communicate with owners. I did do some marketing, some work with a company in Sydney. Yeah. And they taught me about your ideal client. And I really define my ideal client so that the red bags and the nasty ones that don’t tend to come to our clinic because word of mouth and whatever, we charge, whatever reasons they don’t tend to come to our clinic.

[00:27:39] So your ideal clinic and your point of difference. And we really work on our point of difference in that we’ve got personalized pet care. So it’s not a one size fits all. There’s no wellness plans. If you want a wellness plan, we’ll work at one for your dog. But yeah. Uh, girls will do everything they can to look after your [00:28:00] animal and make it well again, and there is a price for that.

[00:28:04] And if you can’t do that, let’s have another look and negotiate and see what we can do. Do you charge for your, your nurse’s time? Not during the week? No, I don’t. I have. Okay. Right, because, um, yeah, there, there are some clinics here in New Zealand as a way to. To help show the nurses that they are respected.

[00:28:27] They are including what the nurse, the nurses contribution as part of the, the invoice as well. So anesthetic monitoring or whatever it is that they’re doing, that it just helps boost the nurses as well. And I think we just had an upgraded version of easy bed and there will be bigger packages in there so that we can fill all those in properly and let people know exactly.

[00:28:53] Our input and what’s going on and help them understand the process because I’ve had a doctor asked me how much does [00:29:00] snake ND Beneen cost? Cause she had a dog that is Nightbot. And when I told her she was modified, she said that much. Yeah. That’s the way it is. Yeah. Another thing that we do, Jolie that we’ve talked about before is the 30 minute consultation.

[00:29:14] 30 minute consultations are wonderful. Again, we did them during COVID and they worked really well. And then after, well COVID, as we had it in Rocky, once things settled down, everyone came back in the clinic. It was all very much back to normal, 15 minute appointments. And one of the moms said to me, is there any chance that we could go back to that 30 minute appointment?

[00:29:36] She said, I really liked that. It gives me time to sort out my mind to get all my information. You need to get everything sorted out to talk to the owner and no one. What’s going to happen for everything. And I said, well, let’s talk to the bed. So we talked to the vets, they all thought it was a great idea.

[00:29:51] So we’ve done it. It’s just great. It’s just great. Everyone’s calmly doing job to job. All our admissions are [00:30:00] done by the vets so that they know exactly what’s going on with that little dog. The owner meets the vet knows who’s going to be looking after that dog for the day. Some are 15 minutes. If they’re just to revisit checks, ditches or something like that, that’s fallen, but most of them have 30 minutes.

[00:30:15] And then you can get to talk to them about their teeth, about their bloods, about whatever needs to be done about their arthritis. You can have a full conversation with people and then do really good workups so that the animals are much better off. I can imagine some. Owner’s going. What, because what you’ve done is I’m playing devil’s advocate here.

[00:30:36] What you’ve done is you’ve reduced your opportunity for concerts from four an hour down to two an hour. So you’ve effectively halved your, your face. What happened in the real world when you, when you stayed with your 30 minute concert. We [00:31:00] actually, I did the numbers and we actually made a bit more money.

[00:31:03] Nobody wants to be processed. And they don’t want their animal to be processed. They want the vet to spend time to show they care to go through everything. So I just think the development of trust conversations, you’re not spending time on the phone settling in on a dam because they didn’t understand or confused or, you know, why would you do that?

[00:31:26] Why don’t you just make sure everything’s going well? First time, rather than trying to fix things up later. I really don’t like doing that. So yeah, honestly, we haven’t lost any money. The vets are happy about it. They are talking about bringing some back to 20 minutes. We’ll see again, it’s a conversation for them to have.

[00:31:45] They’re the ones that are doing it. Yeah. I know that they always build properly. They do the right thing. They look after that little dog and the client. If I can make my staff happy, therefore make my clients happy and then I will be happy and they will be happy too. So [00:32:00] when you know you, you were on 15 minute concerts, pre COVID pre lockdown, you went to 30 minute concerts.

[00:32:07] Then they said, we want a new, went back to 15, and then they said, we want to go to 30. What sort of thoughts were going through your mind? And how did you reconcile those? Because there’ll be people listening, thinking, oh, sounds really good. How do I do this myself? I have never said to the girls, because I know you’ve read it now.

[00:32:31] And then you need to make X amount out of each consultation. That’s not how we work. How we work is we look at that animal and what can we do to help this animal? And. During any vaccination at animal examined from head to toe. If they’re an older dog, we talk about running bloods. We talk about you had the conversation.

[00:32:52] Are they drinking more, weighing more? And if that conversation develops up, I think we might need to do bloods. And when we can catch [00:33:00] diseases before that badly affecting the dog, it’s so much better. So you can have those conversations. You can say the teeth are okay. But I think next year we need to seriously think about having a scale and Polish.

[00:33:13] And that starts a conversation you’re not in there 15 minutes and you’re done, it needs to scale and Polish and they are, what’s a scout and Polish. Whereas now we’ve told them the year before, what does scaling polishes? What it involves that there will be a general anesthetic. So. It’s a conversation that goes on and on and on year after year it’s it’s just so not processing people and they’re getting confused and frightened.

[00:33:37] And as I said, the money is just being brilliant. It’s fine. So you’re not having the bill shock conversations when they come to pay them. No, no, because that’s all talked about as well during the conversation. Some people say, oh, you just haven’t got time to go through the estimates with them. Just email it.

[00:33:56] I’m sorry. If I just emailed, if I just got an estimate email to me, [00:34:00] I probably wouldn’t go back. I need to know why. Paying this and what, what is this, what is this medication? You know, what, what is this about that you’re going to do to my little dog? So the conversation is just fine. Yeah. Yeah. You’re educating people.

[00:34:17] Yeah. Yeah, yeah. And again, we’ve got that ideal client. So we are finding the people who want that sort of care, that conversation. They want to know us. They trust us as to look after their own. Oh, the ones that just want you to hold it and stitch it up. No, it’s not going to happen. Okay.

[00:34:35] Julie South: Have you fired clients?

[00:34:38] Yes. How does that feel? Was it a bit scary? Was it scary?

[00:34:44] Jocelyn Birch Baker: Yes. I get the shakes and. It’s it’s yeah, very scary. But sometimes it needs to be done and I will back for my girls any day. I will always back them up. If a client complains about something, I will be talking to my vet and I will back my [00:35:00] bed up. I don’t see any other way.

[00:35:02] The clients. Get confused, whatever, but I know what my vets are saying to the clients. I know what’s behind their conversations and again, they document it. It’s written down there. Are you still a practicing vet or are you an management mode? More management and with the smooth operating bets, but, um, our full-time bed is taking two weeks holiday.

[00:35:26] So I’m going to have to work for two days, which I’m quite excited about actually being back in there on the floor with the girls. Yeah, I do love it. I do love it. Yeah. I remember the first chat we had. You, you said that you pinch yourself for doing the, having the privilege of being able to. To work with animals the way you do.

[00:35:53] Oh yes. Yes. Some days when, you know, you’re doing an anesthetic and, and you’re squeezing the stuff [00:36:00] into this dog and the dog just lies down and goes to sleep and you go, oh, okay. That worked how cool. And now I’m going to do surgery. And who am I to be able to do this to a dog? I am so lucky to have this, the skills and the ability and the training and the backup and the ability to do surgery.

[00:36:24] To me, that’s phenomenal too, to use a scalpel and have a look inside a dog and fix it or stop it, having too many puppies or whatever it is you’re going to do. I do, I do feel very humble and I do feel like it is a privilege that we are able to do that. I really do. Yeah. That’s a good place to finish. I just want more bits to love doing it, just to get that happiness and that satisfaction, that joy.

[00:36:52] Yeah. Just, we worked so hard and we so believe it. It is wonderful and it is, yeah. We [00:37:00] need to keep doing it in a happy place. Thanks so much, Julie.

[00:37:05] Julie South: Thank you. I hope you picked up a few things that you can look at implementing into your clinic. If you want to get in touch with Jocelyn, you can email her at and that’s vets .

[00:37:25] I promised you a summary of what Jocelyn said. And here are my takeaways from that. Jocelyn has five roles in her clinic that everyone lives and breathes and they, um, Number one, the intent is good. She believes that all people mean well, there’s a no blame policy, a no swearing policy. Every animal deserves to come in and be looked at by one of her veterinarians.

[00:37:56] And there’s no disrespectful behavior. [00:38:00] The three underlying tenants that enabled Jocelyn to attract and keep top talent is her culture. Everyone has everyone’s back and wants everyone to be the best, the positivity, and that they value people. What does Jocelyn do to build up trust in team and respect and belonging?

[00:38:22] I picked up six things. She listened. She then got people talking. She always endeavors to understand. Jocelyn sheers and shared her personal stories when they’re appropriate. She makes sure that everyone’s families are invited to clinic social occasions because they’re part of her extended team. And number six, that it’s by going through hard or difficult cases together and procedures together with shared hard experiences that everyone works together as a team.

[00:38:59] At that [00:39:00] point, the team discovers that they’ve all got each other’s backs when it comes to managing a team of part timers. I picked up seven different things that Jocelyn mentioned. She uses the easy VIPs, C R M software, software service, WhatsApp for team chat. Where she can. She uses technology. If it’s designed to make life easier than she likes to use it.

[00:39:27] She likes to let people play to their strengths, which includes outsourcing, for example, her social media, that when people are on parental leave, she makes sure that there’s at least 10 touch points while they’re away on leave. There’s a buddy system for everyone on parental leave, which includes weekly chicken.

[00:39:49] And then there’s the 10 hours of housekeeping that she gifts. As soon as someone goes onto parental leave had coolers that and [00:40:00] training is organized. So it suits as many people as possible. Around childcare requirements. And now a quick top level overview of what we talked about as that clinics need to have different ways of managing the workforce to ensure that the moms continue to practice as veterinarians.

[00:40:21] You can’t do what you’ve always done. And expect a different result returning to work. Vic mums need to learn how to negotiate better rates for themselves because they do add value to the client. And most employees, most people, most employees don’t realize their own worth. So you need to lend some negotiation prowess, or if not come to us and we can help dot, indeed, some other incidentals.

[00:40:54] When you show VIPs that you really value them, then pet owners start to value [00:41:00] them as professionals and the. Happier to pay their bills. Jocelyn said that she noticed this and she has very few on account clients. Most of them pay on the day. And this was brought about, because one of the VIPs working with Jocelyn believed in herself, and this was how she did it.

[00:41:21] So Jocelyn learned from her and then followed. So. She’s absolutely clear on who her ideal client is. We’ve actually talked about this a couple of times, or I’ve heard this a couple of times when I’ve had fits, who are clinic principals and owners as guests on the show that they also know. Uh, the successful clinics know who their ideal client is and have worked with a marketing consultant and they know, or in this case, Jocelyn knows what her point of difference is.

[00:41:59] And one of [00:42:00] those is that they offer personalized pet care. It’s not a one size fits all at her clinic. And she also talked about 30 minute consults. Here are 11 things that I picked up from there that she hasn’t looked back. Justin hasn’t looked back since implementing this post COVID last year and it has turned out to be a better income generator.

[00:42:26] It’s do the admissions and her clinic because it means that they get to chat with the owner and thus get more information. Full conversations mean really good workups, which means better care for the patients. Number four, no one wants to be proceed. People want to know that they’re special and Jocelyn’s team goes out of their way so that they actually feel that less time is spent and following up calls because all the information or as much information as, as absolutely [00:43:00] possible to get as done during the consult, they have no sales targets or billable income to achieve.

[00:43:10] Top of mind for everyone is how can we best help this? Full head to toe examinations are done, even if it’s only, and only as an air quotes here, even if it’s only a vaccination appointment, there’s no bill shock conversations on the presentation of the bill again, because it comes back to this communication that’s taken place in the last half hour with the class.

[00:43:40] They do not email estimates for conversation takes place at the time because Jocelyn and her team are strong on educating their clients. And when you have the last one, when you have the ideal client, when you know who your ideal client. [00:44:00] Is all of the previous 10 points become so much easier. So there we have it.

[00:44:07] How to have a smooth operating veterinary practice you can get in touch with Jocelyn by email You can check out her website, smooth operating and Facebook, same name, smooth operating fee. Now, if you haven’t already, please click that follow button wherever you listen to your podcasts.

[00:44:36] That way you’ll never miss out on an episode because your podcast app will deliver them straight into your podcast feed. This is Julie south signing off. Thank you for spending the last little bit of your life. I really appreciate it. And I know that Jocelyn has too so behalf on behalf of pores, closing wet [00:45:00] noses, khaki, Deanna, peace.

[00:45:01] Be with you. Take care and God bless paws, claws and wet noses as sponsored by vet staff. If you’ve never heard of it, staff it’s new, Zealand’s only full service recruitment agency. 100% dedicated to the veterinary sector and Fitz staff has been around since 2015 and works nationwide from Kate, rehang it to the bluff and everywhere in between as well as helping Kiwis fits.

[00:45:31] Also helps overseas, qualified veterinarians find work in Aotearoa New Zealand vet. dot. NZ. .


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