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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF110-0106 : Exceptional Client Service Skills for the Receptionist/Front Office Staff Member (Basic Receptionist/Front Office Skills)

Phyllis Webster, AA, OM

January 19 - February 25, 2006
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings January 25, February 1, 8, and 15; 7pm-8:30pm ET (USA)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: The receptionist/front office staff member plays the most critical role in the success or failure of any veterinary practice. It only takes one negative experience to lose a long-time or potential client. The practice can be made or broken depending on the professionalism of the front office staff member. A client will always remember his/her first few minutes at the clinic along with the last few. Emphasis will be placed on the staff creating a bond with each and every client, providing exceptional customer service along with building a relationship with that client. There is a required text for this course, see information below.

This course will consist of four (4) ninety minute real time sessions; library materials supplementing the chapters in the required text; multiple choice quizzes (after each real time session) designed to enhance course effectiveness and material retention; a cumulative final online; and interactive message board discussions.

This course is designed for all receptionists, front office staff and also those assistants and technicians who fill in at the front desk. All veterinary staff involved in or wishing to learn more about the importance of providing exceptional customer care or training of future front office personnel are encouraged to register. This course covers the essential skills needed for the first several weeks on your job.

Upon completion of this course, the participant should be able to:

Required Text: The Veterinary Receptionist's Handbook. M.T. McClister, DVM and Amy Midgley. Veterinary Medicine Publishing Group. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

Recommended Text: Client Satisfaction Pays. Carin A. Smith, DVM. AAHA. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

Adjunct materials (Available from the VIN Bookstore):
Staff Training, Essentials of Client Service:
Staff Training, Perception of Value:
Staff Training, Telephone Skills:


Week 1: The First Impression
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapter 1
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapter 2
Content: The first impression starts with the general appearance of the office and staff member, along with extending a warm welcome. Telephone etiquette, the lifeline to the clinic, is an equally important component to an organized office. Pay attention to details.

Week 2: Receptionists Duties
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 2, 3, 5 & 6
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapters 11 & 12
Content: Maintaining medical records with updating client/patient information. Being able to schedule, confirm upcoming appointments, address no show appointments and handle multi-pet appointments. Address invoicing clients and client departure issues. Provide an accurate estimate.

Week 3: Handling Clients
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 4, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15 - 18 and glossary
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapter 13
Content: Understand basic medical terminology. Increase knowledge of services, products, vaccination protocols, etc. Educate and communicate with clients while increasing our listening skills.

Week 4: Client Retention
The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook - Chapters 8, 9, 17 & 18
Client Satisfaction Pays - Chapter 14
Content: Showing clients that you sincerely care through communication, correspondence, newsletters, reminders, answering questions, callbacks and during euthanasia. The front office staff member plays a crucial role in client retention.

LIBRARY MATERIALS: Library materials will be made available prior to the topic week so participants will have plenty of time to prepare for the real time sessions and discussion.

MESSAGE BOARD DISCUSSIONS: Message board discussions regarding the topic presented will begin on the day the course opens and continue for one week following the last real time session. These discussions will be held in the VSPN CE course area.

CE HOURS: 6 (RACE and VHMA applied for)

$105 ($95.00 early bird special if registered before January 5, 2006).
Students currently enrolled in and taking at least 2 classes or 5 units at an AVMA accredited or CAAHT approved Veterinary Technician Program may be eligible to receive a 50% discount off the regular rate for this course (upon verification of student status)
*VT students: You must include the following information in the comments section of the CE enrollment form in order to be eligible for this discount: your program directors name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

** NOTE: Registration will be closed when the maximum number of participants is reached or at 5pm ET the day of the first real time session.

** Minimal computer requirements for participating in VSPN and VPSNCE:

**For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. Each person must be able to receive emails from and addresses. This is our major form of communication with participants. It is highly recommended that course participants use their own, personal emails rather than clinic/hospital email addresses.
  3. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
NOTE: The Exceptional Client Service Skills for the Receptionist/Front Office Staff Member course is a precursor to The Challenges Facing the Receptionist/Front Office Staff Member course. It is highly recommended that this course be taken first.

Note: "This course has been submitted for approval for 6 hours of continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB's RACE approval; however participants should be aware that some boards have limitations on the number of hours accepted in certain categories and/or restrictions on certain methods of delivery of continuing education. Call VIN/VSPN for further information." (Attendees are encouraged to check with their licensing jurisdiction(s) for information regarding recognition by their board.) This course has also been submitted for approval of continual education units toward CVPM requirements by the VHMA.

COURSE WITHDRAWAL AND REFUND POLICY: Withdrawal prior to the listed start date of a course entitles the registrant to a complete refund or a credit toward a future VSPN or VIN CE course, whichever is preferred. Withdrawal within 1 week after the listed start date (i.e. including no more than one real-time session) entitles the registrant to a credit toward any future VIN CE course. (Does not apply to courses with only one real-time session.) After the first real-time session, a registrant may withdraw due to special circumstances and receive prorated credit towards a future VIN course. These requests will be handled on an individual basis. The amount of the prorated credit will be determined based on 65% of the time remaining in the course at the time of withdrawal. It is not possible to withdraw retroactively.
Note: To ensure rapid handling of your request for withdrawal, we recommend that you call the VIN office at 1-800-700-INFO (4636).
Nanette R. Walker Smith, RVT, CVT
VSPN Content Director or


800.700.4636  |  |  530.756.4881  |  Fax: 530.756.6035
777 West Covell Blvd, Davis, CA 95616

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