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Courses open for VSPNer registration

STAF110-0909 : Exceptional Client Skills for Front Desk Module 1

Phyllis Webster, AA, CVPM

September 24-October 31, 2009
Real Time Sessions: Wednesday evenings, September 30, October 7, 14, and 21, 2009; 9:00pm-10:30pm ET (USA)

COURSE DESCRIPTION: Outstanding client service is the cornerstone of every successful veterinary practice. Most clients cannot evaluate your practice's medical expertise and unfortunately, base their decision to return on their experience at the front desk. Clients are your most important asset and it takes only one negative encounter to lose a long-time or potential client. A client will always remember his/her first few minutes at your practice along with the last few. During this course, emphasis will be placed on creating a client's overall positive experience, building client loyalty, increasing a client's perception of value and making the front desk member a valuable contributor to the hospital team. 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. This course is also highly recommended prior to taking the Equine Office Procedures course.

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

Required Text: McClister, M. T. & Midgley, A. (2000). The Veterinary Receptionist's Handbook. Advanstar. This book can be purchased from the VIN bookstore by clicking on this link:

Recommended Text:


Week 1: The First Impression
Required reading: The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook: Chapter 1
Recommended reading: 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
Required reading: The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook: Chapters 2, 3, 5 & 6
Recommended reading: Client Satisfaction Pays: Chapters 11 & 12
Content: Maintaining medical records with updating client/patient information. Being able to schedule, confirm upcoming appointments, handle phone shoppers, address no show appointments and handle multi-pet appointments. Address invoicing clients and client departure issues. Provide an accurate estimate while increasing a client's perception of value.

Week 3: Handling Clients
Required reading: The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook: Chapters 4, 8-13, 15-18 and glossary
Recommended reading: Client Satisfaction Pays: Chapter 13
Content: Understand basic medical terminology. Increase knowledge of services, products, vaccination protocols, etc. while creating a more knowledgeable front desk. Educate and communicate optimal heath care to our clients while building a relationship with the pet. Address compliance issues. Improve our listening skills.

Week 4: Client Retention
Required reading: The Veterinary Receptionist Handbook: Chapters 8, 9, 17 & 18
Recommended reading: 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. Creating client loyalty and lock down the relationship.

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.


$120 ($108.00 early bird special if registered before September 10, 2009).
*Enroll in both Front Desk Modules before September 30, 2009 and receive a 15% discount off the regular course price.
*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). 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 director's name and contact information (email/phone) and school name.

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

**For more on how online CE works see the VSPN Participant's Resource Center


  1. Each person must individually be a registered member of VSPN ( Membership in VSPN is free.
  2. To enroll in any VSPN CE course click on the ENROLL NOW link below the course title on the right side of the page at
  3. Each enrollee 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.
  4. VIN Member veterinarians SHOULD NOT register for their staff. Please have the staff member register through VSPN. Please email if you have questions.
Note: "This course has been approved for continuing education credits in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB 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 VSPN CE at 1-800-700-4636 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 for continual education units toward CVPM requirements through 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).
** For More Information on VSPN's upcoming CE Courses, check out

Nanette R. Walker Smith, M.Ed., RVT, CVT, LVT
VSPN Content Director & CE Coordinator
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950, ext 187

Charlotte Waack (, ext 193
Chris Upchurch (; ext 197
Darci Palmer (; ext 179
Debbie Bess (; ext 178
VSPN CE Services
1-800-846-0028 or 1-530-297-4950


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

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