Cx Congress 2020


Friday is a focussed day that takes the delegates deeper into a single subject area. This year we are delighted that Alison Lambert, Founder of Onswitch will deliver a full day on communication skills in difficult situations.

Who should attend?

Anyone involved in communication with customers and colleagues!


Alison Lambert

Alison Lambert

A Yorkshire farmer’s daughter, Alison qualified from Liverpool University in 1989. She worked in practice for several years before pursuing a career with Hills Pet Nutrition and MARS, discovering the customer experience passion that her award-winning company, Onswitch, is renowned for today. Established in 2001, Onswitch promotes customer-centred practice so pets, horses and livestock receive better care; providing research, marketing, CPD and business consultancy with an effective, innovative, straight-talking and client-led approach.

Alison is Honorary Associate Professor at Nottingham University’s School of Veterinary Medicine and Science. She is published widely, regularly speaks at key international veterinary congresses and events, and was given the AVA’s Veterinary Business Thought Leader award in 2019.

Alison will deliver five sessions that together give a full-day focus on communicating in difficult situations:

1. Why communication matters in delivering great patient care

Ultimately, effective and empathic communication is all that matters when caring for clients and patients – it’s vital that we all make the effort to be consistently good at it. By following a simple process, you can connect to clients in a way that builds trust, because after all,  trust is at the heart of every effective patient-centred communication:

– Listen

– Empathise

– Personalise

– Build a plan

– Recommend next steps

Finding common ground is the key – both vet and client want the best for the animal and so it is up to us to demonstrate why the treatment plan we recommend is in the best interests of, and tailored specifically to, the patient.

2. Communication principles.

Peak-end theory tells us that clients will remember interactions according to how they were experienced at their peak (good or bad) and at the end. So, the most positive and constructive consult can be negated when it is followed by an argument over the bill. Clients are more likely to forgive such issues however if they are unusual – if their emotional bank account with your practice is generally in the black.

Good basic principles to follow in all your communications are therefore:

– Fewer words, better said

– Find common ground

– Don’t use jargon

– Ask clients to repeat back key points

3. Communication challenges at work.

Each of us has a natural communication style and a preferred mode of engagement with others. Some like the detail, some just need to see the bigger picture. DISC analysis shows us how to flex our own style to ensure that we get the best out of interactions with clients and colleagues who need to hear information in different ways.

Within our teams, it’s also important to ensure that everyone is engaged with the practice mission and values – engaged colleagues are more motivated and proactive. Holding regular team meetings rather than relying on dissemination of information is one simple but effective way to ensure messages are received clearly.

4. Customer engagement – difficult situations.

It’s not people who are difficult, it’s the situation you find yourselves in – adopting this mindset will help you take positive actions towards adapting processes and training to ensure that issues are headed off early or tackled effectively when they do arise. Using the KLARDOC model will help you regain control of a difficult conversation:

– Keep calm

– Listen

– Acknowledge what the client has told you

– Refine what they have said

– Define

– Overcome barriers

– Close

Many complaints are down to misunderstanding or poor communication and could easily have been resolved earlier. A great exercise is to review practice feedback and complaint data and identify where the common themes are. This will allow the team to work together to create plans to stop them happening in future.

5. Handling tricky situations.

In veterinary practice there are countless potential opportunities for communication failures with clients. Many issues are centred on money – unexpected bills and invoices that are much higher then expected. It’s always important to understand the context from the client’s perspective and empathise with their situation if we are to prevent these mis-communications escalating rapidly into complaints, clients leaving the practice and negatively affecting your reputation through online reviews and word of mouth. Using common examples from veterinary practice, we’ll see that by remaining calm and focusing on the areas you have in common with clients, resolution to even the trickiest situation can be found.

Ticket Includes:

Quantity Price
Full Congress Pass £249 + VAT

Contact Us

Have any questions? Please don’t hestitate to get in touch and we’ll help in whatever way we can.