Payment is due at time of service

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    Elizabeth Ryan

    I work at a popular vet hospital and we see a high volume of patients (dogs, cats, and birds). I am a receptionist, one of my duties is to collect the money when the doctor brings up the chart and the charges for the services provided. Typically the pet is held for the owner while they pay by a vet assistant. This technique, if you will, is for two reasons: One being to help out the owner while they pay, the anxious pet tends to move all over the place (can you blame them). Two is that if you don’t pay we can hold your pet till you do. I would say on average, 75% of the people pay no problem. Then we have the other 25%, the ones that try to escape and leave without paying. These are the clients that make reason number two necessary. These clients feel they are entitled to a free visit or just don’t believe that they need to pay so much for the services.
    Dealing with this type of client often these are the types I have come across. The yeller: You know the one screaming in the lobby for everyone to hear, so that all the attention is on them. The one you have to take into a different room to calm down and explain that we provided a service and that upon checking in we have numerous signs stating that “Payment is due at time of service.” They are hoping and crossing their fingers that their performance that they just put on was enough to at least get them a discount. Sad thing is if they are obnoxious enough, they usually get their way.
    Then you have the party planner: You know the one that throws a pity party, and wants everyone to RSVP. You can hear this constantly in the waiting room or upon check in, “I need my pet to be seen, but I don’t have any money. Can I pay later or work something out with the doctor?” We have to reply with no and be as sensitive as possible, but we are running a business here and though there are times when we do give discounts and go the extra mile to help our customers. We have a ton paying customers behind them who have no problem paying.
    I find myself wondering what other types of people are out there that try to take advantage of us? Or what others go through on a day to day basis with their customers?

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